Every time there is a school shooting, the media turns toward liberal talking points to exaggerate the numbers. The reality is bad enough, but the media wants to drive up the fear of parents thinking their children will be gunned down. They understand that fear can motivate change. The media, like their left-wing activist comrades, want change. They want gun control.
According to reporters, there have been 11 school shootings so far in 2018. In fact, some media outlets have reported there has been a mass shooting every two days since the beginning of 2018. But all that data is misleading. The data come from left-wing activist groups that have decided to alter the definition of “mass shooting” to boost the numbers.
Everytown for Gun Safety is one of those groups and has done the most to get reporters and supposedly objective journalists to use the altered data for propaganda purposes. As Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon notes, “This broad definition (of school shootings) places two separate suicides, a January 9 incident where a man shot a BB gun at a bus window resulting in no injuries; a January 10 incident where a student in a criminal justice club accidentally shot a peace officer’s real gun at a target on a classroom wall instead of a training gun resulting in no injuries; a January 9 incident where gun shots were fired from somewhere outside of Cal State San Bernardino, which struck a building on campus without injuries; and other incidents next to the murder of a Winston-Salem State University student at a nightclub on the Wake Forest University campus, the January 22 shooting of a 15-year-old at a Dallas-area high school, and Tuesday’s Marshall County High School shooting which left 2 dead and 18 others injured.”
The definition the media uses for “mass shooting” has been altered to include a homeowner defending his home; police officers firing at suspects; accidental discharges; etc. The Congressional Research Service used by Congress to help shape public policy notes that mass shootings have trended up each decade since the ‘70s, though in small increments. It also notes that the death tolls of individual incidents, such as the Las Vegas shooting, tend to make the total numbers skew high, even in years where the total number of mass shootings is low, but the homicide rate is high.
What goes left unsaid is that we cannot round up all the guns as the left demands. There are constitutional issues at stake. “But Australia” does not apply when the Second Amendment is in place. Australia could round up all its guns because it had no such equivalent. Here, mental health and broken families are issues that must be addressed. Sadly, those issues always get shoved aside in favor of rounding up guns.
Columbine, one of the most infamous school shootings, came during the assault weapons ban some now champion restoring. The latest shooting came at the hands of a young man whose biological father played no role in his life and his biological mother and adoptive father were deceased. The situation is terrible, tragic and a reminder that evil is real. It is also a reminder how politicized these issues have become. We cannot even address the systemic issues because we cannot have an honest conversation about the data.
After Newtown, Charleston, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs and now Parkland among others, the odds of enacting any legislation to stamp out evil remain low. The odds remain high that no legislation ever could stamp out evil.
Erick Erickson is host of Atlanta’s Evening News on WSB Radio.