Media harps on US for being a school shooting paradise, but there’s just one problem

Bryan Babb, DCNF

Media outlets have stated that hundreds of mass shootings and 27 school shootings have taken place in the U.S. since the beginning of 2022, but incidents like the Tuesday shooting in Uvalde, Texas, are much more rare.

CBS NewsInsiderThe BBCThe Hill and NPR reported that the Tuesday mass school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, marked the 27th school shooting in 2022, citing independent data collection organization The Gun Violence Archive and news organization Education Week. However, the data could be construed to make it appear as though incidents like the Uvalde shooting are much more common.

The Education Week and Gun Violence Archive studies include incidents very different from the Uvalde school shooting; The Gun Violence Archive count includes instances where at least four people are shot as mass shootings, regardless if anyone is killed, while Education Week “tracks incidents resulting in at least one bullet wound,” not including wounds inflicted on the suspect.

A study for Scientific American defined a mass public shooting “as incidents in which four or more victims are murdered with at least one of those homicides taking place in a public location and with no connection to underlying criminal activity, such as gangs or drugs.” Using that definition, just 13 public mass shootings have taken place at schools, killing 146 people in the U.S. since 1966.

The criminologists who conducted Scientific American’s study built a database that additionally shows there have been 168 total mass shootings in the U.S. between 1968 and February 2020.

Education Week’s data shows that all 2022 school shootings prior to the shooting in Uvalde resulted in 0 or 1 deaths. A drive-by shooting and an incident where one student was shot while fighting with another student were included in Education Week’s accounting.

The Gun Violence Archive’s method of classification also leads to the inclusion of crimes related to gang activity and street crime as mass shootings. For example, a fight that broke out at a Miami car meet in which four people were injured by gunfire was included in The Gun Violence Archive’s mass shooting report.

The Gun Violence Archive and Education Week did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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