By Dave Workman
Say it ain’t so; according to a report from NPR, more than two-thirds of school shootings in “nearly 240 schools” during 2015-16, reported by the U.S. Department of Education back in the spring of this year, apparently never happened.
You read that right. NPR revealed that more than 66 percent of the reported school shooting incidents were apparently bogus. According to the blockbuster NPR report, which seemed to have gotten overlooked by the “usual suspect” media outlets, “We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.
NPR, according to many in the firearms community, has never been a friend of the Second Amendment, so this report is stunning on a couple of levels. The story noted that in 161 cases, individual schools or school districts contacted by NPR “attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one.”
This isn’t something that can be brushed aside as an “oops.” According to Deborah Temkin, identified as a researcher and program director at Child Trends, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that helped NPR with the report, “When we’re talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful.” That comment deserves a merit badge for understatement.
So, what gives?
“This confusion comes at a time when the need for clear data on school violence has never been more pressing,” the NPR story observed. “Students around the country are heading back to school this month under a cloud of fear stemming from the most recent mass shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas.”
As a result of those incidents, NPR said that “at least 53 new school safety laws” were passed earlier this year by state legislatures. School children are participating in “active shooter” drills that, especially for younger students, can’t be lowering their anxiety.
Lest anyone say NPR is blowing smoke, the story noted that the ACLU of Southern California conducted a separate investigation into this numbers game. ACLU SoCal “was able to confirm fewer than a dozen of the incidents in the government’s report, while 59 percent were confirmed errors.”
There are a few likely possibilities here. Either the Department of Education flunked the accuracy test, or it flat out lied. A third option is that the federal agency just isn’t very bright.
Gun Banners Bolster Doubt
Even anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety lobbying organization helped put a damper on the Education Department report, NPR said.
“For comparison,” NPR reported, “the Everytown for Gun Safety database, citing media reports, listed just 29 shootings at K-12 schools between mid-August 2015 and June 2016. There is little overlap between this list and the government’s, with only seven schools appearing on both.”
The report also noted that the Department’s Office for Civil Rights “administers the survey” of schools every two years. All public schools are required to complete the survey, which NPR acknowledged, “often drive public conversations.”
But, the story revealed, “Most of the school leaders NPR reached had little idea of how shootings got recorded for their schools.
Oh, That Explains Everything
In the “close enough for government work” universe, NPR learned something that is almost too embarrassing to report.
The news agency said it submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get a better handle on presumed “problems with the data collection” and got back one response from a school district in Wisconsin that is a head scratcher.
They “wanted to know whether a consensual paintball-gun fight involving several students should be considered an ‘attack with a weapon’ or a ‘possession of a firearm’,” NPR disclosed.
And the ACLU SoCal report found this: “Over 230 schools reported school shootings. However, two school districts mistakenly reported each of their schools as having a shooting. The data from these two districts accounted for 63 of the reported shootings.”
World Gun-Related Deaths On Rise
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association about two weeks ago revealed that gun-related deaths around the world “total abut 250,000” and that six countries, including the United States, account for about half of those fatalities.
The other countries are Brazil, Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela, according to the Associated Press.
But before the gun prohibition crowd gets cranked up, the report noted that the U.S. is one country where suicides surpass gun-related homicides. Using data from 2016, the report said that total firearm-related deaths that year numbered 37,200. However, 23,800 of those were suicides, leaving about 13,400 in the homicide column, but the gun prohibition lobby routinely lumps the altogether and calls them “victims of gun violence.”
But firearm-related suicides in this country — about 6 per 100,000 — pale by comparison to suicides in Greenland, where 22 per 100,000 is the suicide rate. But putting that in perspective, Greenland has a fraction of the U.S. population, and in 2016, there were 11 suicides in that island country.
There was no small irony in the fact that this Associated Press story was datelined Chicago, where homicide is a daily occurrence.
Then There Is Canada…
Just when you think the stupid has peaked, along comes the federal government of Canada announcing a planned “study” on a complete ban on handguns and so-called “assault weapons” north of the border.
According to CBC, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent a “mandate letter” to Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair, tasking him with working alongside of Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale “on policy, regulations or legislation on gun control.”
What set this off? The mass shooting earlier this summer in Toronto’s Greektown, proving only that even tough Canadian gun control laws don’t prevent the kind of violence that proponents of such laws steadfastly say will be prevented. Fifteen people were shot, two of whom died, which is not much different than a weekend in Chicago.
But Tony Bernardo, executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, offered this observation: “political suicide.”
“If they want to start playing Russian roulette with the electorate, well okay, game on,” Bernardo said, according to CBC. “If they think our community is going to meekly roll over and accept this, they’re in for a real big shake.”
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