Media push misleading figures on school shootings

Whenever the left has an agenda to push, they seize on a talking point, a phrase, a statistic, and they push it relentlessly.

We’re seeing this in the aftermath of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, as left-wing news outlets blast out the claim that there have been 27 school shootings this year. It’s a shocking and — as it turns out — totally misleading figure.

Misleading figures

The figure comes from Education Week, which defined a school shooting as any event in which a person other than a suspect is injured by gunshots on school property. The statistic was publicized by the publicly funded NPR, among other outlets.

Strictly speaking, there have been 27 such events this year. But most were not mass casualty events, as Robby Soave notes in a piece at Reason. Other than the Uvalde shooting, just six of the other 26 shootings involved fatalities, and in each case, one person died.

Only four other shootings resulted in three or more people getting injured. In other words, while the media is making it sound like there have been 27 mass shootings at schools this year, the actual number, depending on your definition, is closer to five.

Many of the 27 shootings took place in school parking lots and several occurred after basketball games. One involved a sniper in a nearby apartment building who injured four people.

In short, these are mostly not the sort of “school shootings” that lead to lots of mass media coverage and political squabbling over gun control.

Reality skewed by narratives

But according to Education Week, there have been 119 school shootings since 2018 alone. This is, again, a misleading figure: another estimate from the Scientific American found that there have been just 13 mass school shootings, defined as events in which four or more people died, since 1966, Soave noted.

While exaggerating the number of mass shootings in schools, the media has also given a skewed picture overall of gun violence in America. Typically, their rhetoric focuses on the AR-15 rifles favored by lone wolf terrorists. But most gun violence is caused by suspects in cities using handguns.

Another figure that is making the rounds, from the Gun Violence Archive, says that there have been 212 mass shootings so far this year — but a cursory look at the data shows that the majority of these incidents, while they may have resulted in many injured, led to no more than two fatalities.

Many had no fatalities at all. In brief, these are mostly not your typical mass casualty events that get lots of media play.

Democrats are not just using recently murdered children to push an agenda: they are using misleading data to do so.

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