Back in May, a Washington Post analysis reported more people had been killed in school shootings up to that point in 2018 than those serving in the U.S. military. In fact, the analysis revealed, since 1968, more Americans have fallen to gun violence than to all wars in U.S. history.
Now we are three weeks from the year’s end, and the numbers reveal a stark reality: 2018 was the worst on record for school gun violence.
Citing US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Center for Homeland Defense and Security research, the advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise reports 94 school shooting incidents in 2018, nearly a 60% increase from the 2006 record of 59.
The NPS data defines an “incident” as a situation in which a firearm is “brandished, is fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason,” not necessarily resulting in injury and/or death.
Nicole Hockley is the co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise. Her six-year-old son, Dylan, was one of 20 children and six adults killed at the Newtown, Conn. Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre six years ago.
About the findings, she stated:
“This is beyond unacceptable. It is inexcusable. Everyone has the power to stop violence before it starts, and we want to arm as many people as possible with the knowledge of how to keep their schools and communities safe.”
In light of the NPS data, on December 14, to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the Ct. school shooting, Sandy Hook Promise plans to release a short film the group says:
“Reveals the many warning signs and signals exhibited by an at-risk individual that can lead to gun violence – signs that SHP wants to train individuals to recognize and intervene upon before a tragedy can occur.”
Directed by Rupert Sanders, the film portrays interactions between high school students from a first-person point of view. Near the conclusion, a student appears to pull an assault rifle from a bag.
Sandy Hook Promise explained:
“While the scene is set with excited students in the hallways, there is another story unfolding simultaneously: a shooter planning to attack the school and exhibiting the warning signs of impending violence. These signs happen amongst peers and educators who could have identified these signs and intervened before it was too late. An astonishing 80% of school shooters told someone of their plans prior to taking action – yet no interventions were made.”
Statistically, there are over 50 million public school students in the U.S. today compared to 1.3 million armed service members. The fact that soldiers are 17 times more likely to be killed than someone in a school shooting does not negate the fact that at least 1,686 mass shootings since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have left at least 1,941 people killed and 7,104 wounded.
According to a Harvard School of Public Health analysis, mass shootings are increasing as long we refer to a “mass shooting” as one that occurs in public and results in four or more victims. This does not include domestic, gang, and drug violence.
Northeastern University criminologist, James Alan Fox, defines a mass shooting differently. He argues any shooting in which at least four people are murdered constitutes a “mass shooting.”
But Harvard School of Public Health researchers argue Fox’s definition is too general since it includes domestic, gang, and drug violence they do not count.
The Gun Violence Archive’s definition is even broader than Fox’s, counting injuries as well as deaths.
According to United Nations (UN) data, the U.S. experienced 29.7 firearm homicides per 1 million people in 2012; Switzerland experienced 7.7 million; Canada, 5.1 million; and Germany, 1.9 million.
The U.S. comprises about 4.4 percent of the global population but has 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns. Empirical research proves settings where more guns are present increases the likelihood gun violence will ensue.
With a new Congress coming in January 3, perhaps we will finally see some sensible gun legislation to curb the violence that has come to distinguish the United States from all other developed nations.
Image credit: state-journal.com