Schools are safer than they were in the 90s

When you are driven by emotion alone throwing out reason you will always cause more problems than you solve. One of the quotes that Thomas Jefferson left us that should be a guide in our life is this:

“Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

A quote I often give is, “When you do something wrong it never works our right.” We as a society seem to shun both Jefferson’s wisdom and mine. A crisis demands we do something but when we interpret that as “Just do something!” emotion drives our answer rather than lead us to work for a answer.

In our modern times because politics has become our driving force we really aren’t looking for real answers, we’re looking to win at all cost our political ideology. Crises never have a single cause, they come about because a multitude of issues have driven them and when we reduce a crisis to one single cause we don’t mean to “fix” the crisis but use the crisis to validate our ideology. When we reduce life to politics this is where we end up.

Well, we have another real crisis with the mass killing of students and teachers in Florida. And we have every right to be emotionally upset, but with few exceptions we reducing the answer once again to guns. The responsibility of the killer’s actions rest squarely upon his shoulders, but helped along by a real lack of security in our schools and this school in particular, in the mis-actions of local law enforcement, of the FBI, and the cultural penchant for violence driven by movies and video games, but all of this we have swept off the table to focus solely on guns.

Our knee-jerk visceral reaction to guns isn’t rational because we’ve dumped rational for emotional and thereby leave truths off the table for discussion. It turns out that Northeastern University did a study on mass killings under this title: “Schools are safer than they were in the 90s, and school shootings are not more common than they used to be, researchers say.” by AllieNicodemo and Lia Petronio. I’m afraid it doesn’t fit our knee-jerk visceral emotion, but it does give us fact to consider in the conversation that will lead to real, not unreal answers.

From this study these facts need to be placed on the table for discussion:

  • Since 1996, there have been 16 multiple victim shootings in schools, or incidents involving 4 or more victims and at least 2 deaths by firearms, excluding the assailant.
  • Of these, 8 are mass shootings, or incidents involving 4 or more deaths, excluding the assailant.
  • Mass school shootings are incredibly rare events. In research publishing later this year, Fox and doctoral student Emma Fridel found that on average, mass murders occur between 20 and 30 times per year, and about one of those incidents on average takes place at a school.
  • Their research also finds that shooting incidents involving students have been declining since the 1990s.
  • Four times the number of children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today, Fox said.
  • “There is not an epidemic of school shootings,” he said, adding that more kids are killed each year from pool drownings or bicycle accidents. There are around 55 million school children in the United States, and on average over the past 25 years, about 10 students per year were killed by gunfire at school, according to Fox and Fridel’s research.

You will be better knowledgeable to make an informed decision by reading this study found HERE.

Something else to consider raised in this study:

“The thing to remember is that these are extremely rare events, and no matter what you can come up with to prevent it, the shooter will have a workaround,” Fox said, adding that over the past 35 years, there have been only five cases in which someone ages 18 to 20 used an assault rifle in a mass shooting.

“Fridel said increasing mental health resources for students is another strategy that might improve school safety, calling this a critical need that has been historically overlooked. She also said that the U.S. is facing a desperate shortage of guidance counselors. In 2014-15, the student-to-school counselor ratio was 482-to-1, according to the American School Counselor Association, nearly twice the organization’s recommended ratio.

“You might have students in a very large school who are troubled but who are basically flying under the radar, because you have one guidance counselor for 400 students,” Fridel said.

The crisis is real but it is not a systemic crisis that will be solved if all guns were eliminated. All guns are both assault by nature and defensive. It’s not an either/or but a both/and. We need to stop making false definitions to charge up a dialogue we want. The look of a gun changes not the power of the gun. What changes a gun from assault to defensive is the actions of the person with the gun. Start there if you must.