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Silver Linings Edition, (CN: Gallows Humor)

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

The Onion

When there is really only one story in the news and it’s TERRIBLE news, it’s easy to miss the good news. Like this nugget that passed under the radar…

March 2020 was the first March without a school shooting in the U.S. since 2002

March 2020 was apparently the first March in nearly two decades without a school shooting in the U.S. Schools across America have been shut down since early March as a prevention measure to slow the spread of coronavirus. Since then, kids of all ages have adjusted to homeschooling and online classes — a new normal that could extend through the rest of the school year.

For most of those students, this is one of the longest stretches in their lifetimes without a school shooting. As first reported on Twitter by Washington Post reporter Robert Klemko, there hasn’t been a March without a school shooting since 2002 — the year most current high school seniors were born.

See… SILVER LININGS! Now if a disgruntled white teenage boy or middle aged incel with a grudge and access to an arsenal wants to blow away a classroom of kindergarteners he has to go house to house. Who has TIME for that?

Ok… Snopes has reported that Klemko’s twitter scoop isn’t quite backed up by y’know… facts. 

Those prominent advocacy groups aside, the least partisan and most comprehensive source of school-shooting data appears to be the “K-12 School Shooting Database” sponsored by the U.S. Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Updated daily by emergency-management researchers, the database records “each and every instance in which a gun is brandished, fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason, regardless of the number of victims, time of day, or day of week,” according to its stated methodology. Its website summarizes the tricky situation analyzing school-shooting data as follows:

Without a common methodology for data collection, individual data sources are limited in both validity and utility. Furthermore, there is no consensus for what actually defines a school shooting … Based on the differences among all available reporting platforms, there is currently no single source for objective and accessible data from which school administrators, law enforcement, and public officials can draw to inform their decisions.

What does that mean? Its means that Klemko was being too fucking optimistic. Because even with schools being shut down over the course of the spring, there were still eight incidents that met the broad standards of a firearm related emergency at at school. Fortunately none of them were the kind of headline grabbing catastrophe’s we have become numb to over the last 30 years.

Snopes did reach out to Klemko to ask him about his methodology…

We reached out to Washington Post reporter Klemko — the author of the viral claim — to understand where he got his numbers. He said he did include cases involving post-secondary institutions, rather than only focusing on K-12 schools.

But unlike other datasets, he said he only considered shootings in which students, teachers, or staff were the targets of the gunfire or the perpetrators. In other words, he said he did not consider cases where people trespassed on school property and opened fire at other people who aren’t part of the school community. He also did not consider cases in which persons (no matter their affiliation with the school) accidentally discharged a gun or shootings on school properties outside of school hours or on weekends.

“I used shootings on school property, k-12, vocational schools, colleges and universities, where students or staff were intentionally shot at, or doing the shooting,” he wrote in an email. “Where government and private data were inconclusive, news reports filled the gaps.”

Looking at the comprehensive standards by which the CHDS-sponsored database documents shootings, he said “it’s a mistake” to consider the database’s definition of a “school shooting” as the most fair. “Few Americans would agree, for example, that an incident where a safety officer accidentally fires a gun in an office, injuring no one, constitutes a school shooting,” he said. “Likewise, few would agree that adults trespassing on school grounds and exchanging gunfire when school is not in session and no children are present, is a school shooting.”

Glad we cleared THAT up…

In other shooting a mess of people news, 

A gunman disguised as a policeman killed at least 18 people, including a female Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer, in the worst mass shooting in Canada’s modern history.

And then the Canadian government threw their hands in the air and declared that there was nothing to be done… wait, I’m being told that is NOT what happened…

Nearly two weeks after the deadliest mass shooting in Canada’s history, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday introduced an immediate ban on what he described as “military-style assault weapons.”

“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time,” Mr. Trudeau said. “There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.”

Golly gee… is it really that easy?

Anyways, here’s to the hope that someday we will have the courage to do something about this problem that isn’t “lock everyone at home forever.” Have a song…

Featured Image: Lou Doench, Blotz Photo Arts on Flickr

 

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Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 48 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at www.flickr.com/photos/blotz/

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