In the wake of the horrific school shooting on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, various news outlets, seemingly trying to convince the public that an astronomical number of school shootings have occurred in 2018, promulgated the claim that the Wednesday shooting was the 18th school shooting since January 1, 2018, by running with that narrative at the top of their articles.
Here are some examples:
ABC News: “There have been 18 school shootings in the first 45 days of 2018, according to a nonprofit group.”
New York Daily News: “There have been 18 school shootings so far this year, including one that claimed 17 lives at a Florida public school Wednesday.”
WUSA9: “Within the first couple months of 2018, there have now been 18 school shootings across the United States.”
But that narrative was gleaned from the anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety. Here are some facts, in order to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the facts:
Twice, someone shot themselves on school grounds; one incident, on January 3, featured a man shooting himself in a former school’s parking lot; on January 10 a teen killed himself in an Arizona elementary school bathroom.
Four times, a bullet was fired through a school or dorm’s window: on January 4, a gunshot was fired at a high school in Seattle through an office window; no one was hurt. On January 10, a shot was fired shattering a California State University classroom window. No injuries were reported. The same day, in Texas, a bullet was accidentally fired through a classroom wall at the Grayson College Criminal Justice Center. No one was injured. On January 15, a bullet traveled through a residential hall’s dorm room. No injuries were reported.
On January 25, a Mobile, Alabama, high school student fired a gun on campus. No one was injured. On January 26, in Dearborn, Michigan, shots were fired from a car in a parking lot; no injuries were reported.
On February 5, in Maplewood, Minnesota, a third-grader pulled the trigger on a cop’s gun. No one was injured. On February 8, in New York, a shot was fired inside Metropolitan High School. No one was injured.
Here are the cases where someone was injured other than the shooter:
January 22, Italy, Texas: a teenage girl was wounded by shots from a semi-automatic handgun. The same day, in Gentilly, Louisiana, a 14-year-old boy was injured in a shooting. February 1, Los Angeles, California: five children were injured in an accidental shooting. February 5, Maryland: a teenager was shot and injured outside of a high school.
January 20, Winston-Salem, North Carolina: A football player was shot and killed. January 23, Benton, Kentucky: Two people were killed and another 15 were shot at Marshall County High School. January 31, a fight broke out at a Pennsylvania high school; a 32-year-old man was shot and later died.
So of the 17 “school shootings” before Wednesday’s shooting; three students died; roughly 30-35 were injured.
Those numbers are still more than zero, which is what we would all hope for, but the efforts to paint the latest shooting, which was truly horrible, as a another in a series of mass shootings compressed so closely in time is simply not an accurate reflection of reality.