There Is No ‘Epidemic of Mass School Shootings…

There Is No ‘Epidemic of Mass School Shootings’:


keeping the national spotlight on the mass murder at their high school —
and calling on their peers across the country to walk out of their
schools, so as to “no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings” in
the United States — the theater kids of Marjory Stoneman Douglas have
built the broadest public consensus for gun-safety measures that
America has seen in a quarter-century.

they’ve also (inadvertently) triggered a moral panic about the safety
of America’s schools that has little basis in empirical reality — and
which is already lending momentum to policies that would increase juvenile incarceration, waste precious educational resources on security theater, and bring more guns into our nation’s classrooms.

children do not “risk their lives” when they show up to school each
morning — or at least, not nearly as much as they do whenever they ride
in a car, swim in a pool, or put food in their mouths (an American’s lifetime odds of
dying in a mass shooting committed in any location is 1 in 11,125; of
dying in a car accident is 1 and 491; of drowning is 1 in 1,133; and of
choking on food is 1 in 3,461). Criminal victimization in American
schools has collapsed in tandem with the overall crime rate, leaving U.S. classrooms safer today than at any time in recent memory.

is no “school safety” crisis in the U.S.; only a gun violence epidemic
that consists primarily of suicides, accidents, and single-victim
homicides committed with handguns. In the decades since Columbine,
progressives have often led the public to believe otherwise. And for
understandable reasons. Spectacular acts of mass murder committed
against children (especially upper-middle class children in “good”
public schools) attract a degree of media attention and political
concern that our nation’s (roughly) 20,000 annual firearm suicides — and
daily acts of urban gang violence — simply do not. The most misleading
piece of the Parkland survivors’ message — that their experience is
representative of a widespread social problem that threatens the lives
of all American children — may well be its most politically effective