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Rantz: Marchers’ fear of school shootings is flatly irrational

March for Our Lives in Everett, Washington. (MyNorthwest)

Hundreds of thousands of teens and adults marched against gun violence over the weekend. The fear of gun violence in schools from the teens were irrational. The message from the adults? Exploitative and rather transparent.

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To be clear, any school shooting will scare the hell out of kids and parents alike. That is normal. I was a high schooler during Columbine, so I get it. But the fear – temporary or not – is irrational when you look at the stats.

Since Columbine, you have, roughly, a 1 in 614,000,000 chance of being killed in a school shooting. Indeed, all gun violence has been trending downward over the last several decades and, despite the best efforts of dishonest anti-gun activists, mass shootings in schools are going down since Columbine. Citing new research by criminology professor James Alan Fox and doctoral student Emma Fridel, the Intercept reports:

They found that schools are actually increasingly free of mass shootings, which they define as a shooting in which four or more individuals are killed by firearms. “There is not an epidemic of school shootings,” Fox said in a statement about the research, noting that there were four times as many children shot and killed in schools in the early 1990s as today.

More children are killed every year drowning in pools or in bicycle accidents than in school shootings, Fox added. Over the past 25 years, around 10 students per year were killed in gunfire at school. To put that into perspective, in the fall of 2017, around 56 million students attended public and private public elementary and secondary schools.

There is much research out there backing these findings up. David Ropeik is an instructor at Harvard and reported in the Washington Post just a few weeks ago:

The Education Department reports that  roughly 50 million children attend public schools for roughly 180 days per year. Since Columbine, approximately 200 public school students have been shot to death while school was in session, including the recent slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (and a shooting in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday that police called accidental that left one student dead). That means the statistical likelihood of any given public school student being killed by a gun, in school, on any given day since 1999 was roughly 1 in 614,000,000. And since the 1990s, shootings at schools have been getting less common.

These reports do not exist outside of the norm. It’s backed up by respected researchers because, try as the anti-gun Left might, you can’t change statistics. You can only purposely misinterpret them. And that’s what many adults tried to do as they marched alongside students this past weekend.

I’ve heard adult activists seeking to prosecute the NRA, comparing them to a terrorist organization. So dumb. There’s also one sign making the internet rounds that claims freedom isn’t more important than student safety. First of all: uhm, yeah, it is. The fear is irrational statistically and, even if it weren’t, your feelings will never – and should never – trump freedoms. People irrationally feared gay marriage. Second of all: this is literally the opposite of the Left’s argument on giving up freedoms over misplaced concerns against terrorism. They dizzy me with their inconsistency. Oh and this condescending message about how proud you are of these teens marching? Please. If they marched on a topic you disagreed with, you’d be ignoring them.

Concern over mass shootings or, more specifically, school shootings should not drive any gun control policy and certainly shouldn’t be reason to disband constitutional rights organizations that they disagree with.

I don’t expect 15 and 16 year olds to know the stats. I do expect adults, however, to show a modicum of intellectual curiosity and honesty before they freak their kids out over gun violence. But they willfully do not do the research: they want to edge closer to banning guns, so why not exploit the fears of their kids to push legislations or “fixes” to problems that don’t exist?

 

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