No, There Is Not a School Shooting Epidemic

Politicians and many in the media are professionals at engaging in the fallacy of appealing to emotion. If something happens, they can convince you it’s a condition that is out of control and the government must step in to “do something.”

The mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida once again raised the specter of the supposed “school shooting epidemic.” Media sensationalism and politicians eager to restrict access to firearms to law-abiding Americans throw around the term “epidemic” as a means of advancing their narrative. Too many in the press, in their zeal, become advocates instead of reporters and use the same term.

Except it is an entirely bogus term to use. 

We have no school shooting epidemic (we also don’t have a gun violence epidemic, but that’s for another post). In fact, kids are safer in schools now than they were 25 years ago.

Once a person gets past the histrionics and hysterics blasted out by gun control advocates and supporters, the facts tell a different story. Here it is:

Mass school shootings are incredibly rare events. In research publishing later this year, Fox and doctoral student Emma Fridel found that on average, mass murders occur between 20 and 30 times per year, and about one of those incidents on average takes place at a school.

Four times the number of children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today, Fox said.

“There is not an epidemic of school shootings,” he said, adding that more kids are killed each year from pool drownings or bicycle accidents. There are around 55 million school children in the United States, and on average over the past 25 years, about 10 students per year were killed by gunfire at school, according to Fox and Fridel’s research.

They provided a chart that shows how much they’ve declined:

Of course, naysayers will turn to their usual tactic of deflection and say, “Well, how many deaths are acceptable to you?” It’s a bogus question because it attacks the motives of the other person by suggesting they believe any kid getting shot in school is “acceptable.”

That’s not the issue. The issue has to do with politicians and media personalities demanding action for an “epidemic” that does not exist. The threat to liberty is never more so when we allow the country to be governed by appeals to passion rather than reason.

If people want to argue for raising the age to purchase rifles from 18-21 or mandating background checks on private sales, they should do so on the merits and stop making things up to support their point of view.