School Shootings Analysis

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“No, there haven’t been 18 school shootings in 2018.
That number is flat wrong.”
Source: John Woodrow Cox and Steven Rich, The Washington Post, February 15, 2018
The stunning number swept across the Internet within minutes of the news Wednesday that, yet again, another young man with another semi-automatic rifle had rampaged through a school, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in South Florida.
The figure originated with Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit group, co-founded by Michael Bloomberg, that works to prevent gun violence and is most famous for its running tally of school shootings.
“This,” the organization tweeted at 4:22 p.m. Wednesday, “is the 18th school shooting in the U.S. in 2018.”
A tweet by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
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Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) — four Pinocchios for misleading methodology. Another database, the Gun Violence Archive, defines school shootings in much narrower terms, considering only those that take place during school hours or extracurricular activities.
Yet many journalists rely on Everytown’s data. Post media critic Erik Wemple included the 18 figure in a column Wednesday night, and Michael Barbaro, host of the New York Times’ podcast “The Daily,” used the number to punctuate the end of his Thursday show.
Much like trying to define a mass shooting, deciding what is and is not a school shooting can be difficult. Some obviously fit the common-sense definition: Last month, a teen in Texas opened fire in a school cafeteria, injuring a 15-year-old girl. Others that Everytown includes on its list, though, are trickier to
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Jan. 10, a bullet probably fired from off campus hit the window of a building at a college in Southern California. No one was hurt, but students could still have been frightened. Classes were canceled, rooms were locked down and police searched campus for the gunman, who was never found.
On Feb. 5, a police officer was sitting on a bench in a Minnesota school gym when a third-grader accidentally pulled the trigger of his holstered pistol, firing a round into the floor. None of the four students in the gym were injured, but, again, the incident was probably scary.
What is not in dispute is gun violence’s pervasiveness and its devastating impact on children. A recent study of World Health Organization data published in the American Journal of Medicine that found that, among high-income nations, 91 percent of children younger than 15 who were killed by bullets lived in the United States.
And the trends are only growing more dire. On average, two dozen children are shot every day in the United States, and in 2016 more youths were killed by gunfire — 1,637 — than during any previous year this

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