During their effort to prove anti-gun group Everytown’s claim that 11 school shootings have occurred since the start of 2018, the Huffington Post did exactly the opposite and reminded everyone that Everytown’s hysterics should always be taken with a grain of salt.
The stat first gained popularity when the New York Times, without any fact-checking, decided to publish the stat on its site. It was then relayed by California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, who claimed that the NRA wants you to ignore the NYT’s headline.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 24, 2018
I also advise no one to ignore this headline, but not for the same reasons as Newsom. I want you to pay attention to it because it’s a picture perfect example of how a biased media will feed you nonsense in order to make their opinions seem like they’re based on fact.
However, in HuffPo’s attempt to pour gasoline on the fire, they accidentally grabbed the wrong canister and put it out with a healthy dose of cold water.
As HuffPo exposed, two of them were suicides, one was a pellet gun shot at bus windows, one was completely accidental, and one took place between two vehicles in a parking lot outside a dormitory. This is not to say that the legitimate shootings that did take place were not atrocious, but it definitely debunks Everytown’s exaggerated claim.
Here’s the complete list HuffPo compiled:
Jan. 23: Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky
A 15-year-old boy opened fire inside the school, killing two and injuring 16.
Jan. 22: NET Charter High School in New Orleans, Louisiana
Someone driving by the school fired on a group of students in the parking lot. Only one boy was injured.
Jan. 22: Italy High School in Italy, Texas
Jan. 20: Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Following an argument, a 21-year-old Winston-Salem University student was shot and killed during a sorority event at Wake Forest University.
Jan. 15: Wiley College in Marshall, Texas
Two people in a car exchanged gunfire with a person in a dormitory parking lot. No one was injured, but a bullet was fired into a dorm room with three female students inside.
Jan. 10: Coronado Elementary School in Sierra Vista, Arizona
A 14-year-old died in a school bathroom from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Jan. 10: Grayson College in Denison, Texas
A student confused a training weapon with a real one and fired a bullet through a classroom wall. No students were injured.
Jan. 10: California State University in San Bernardino, California
At least one shot was fired, shattering one classroom window. No students were injured.
Jan. 6: School bus in Forest City, Iowa
A 32-year-old man fired a pellet gun at a school bus, shattering one of the windows. No students were injured.
Jan. 4: New Start High School in Seattle, Washington
Two shots were fired at the school from outside the building. No students were injured.
Jan. 3: East Olive Elementary School in St. John, Michigan
A man standing in the school’s parking lot called 911 saying he was suicidal. He spoke with a county official for several hours on the phone, according to local media, but ultimately shot himself and died from a single gunshot wound.
Everytown defines “school shootings” with very broad terms. Basically, if a gun goes off in any capacity around something even related to a school, it ticks the box to pad the stats.
However, the reality is that public opinion on “school shooting” means that someone went inside a school with a firearm, and began firing on students and staff. Everytown is likely very aware of this fact, but being able to say there have been 11 school shootings within the first month of 2018 is far too sexy a headline to pass up.
Furthermore, it makes gun grabbing politicians like Newsom look like an even better candidate for higher office. Currently, Newsom is eyeing the governor’s seat in California, and to get there his strategy involves a lot of scary anti-gun rhetoric.
Recently, Newsom released a video blaming the NRA for the gun violence that happens within the U.S., and boldly declaring that he was indeed coming for their guns “if you hurt people.” Newsom didn’t attempt to put any proof on how the NRA was directly responsible for shootings, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that Newsom sounds tough and bold.
So, of course, Newsom is going to help spread the NYT headline riddled with factual errors. Facts don’t matter, what matters is how worried you can make people, and how tough you can sound in your fight against the ghost.