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Recently, the Bloomberg backed website posted a chilling map depicting the sites of gun violence on campuses in America. There is no one who can be unaffected by such tragedy, especially as one pictures children having to flee a gunman in one of the places they should feel the safest. Individuals, news media and pundits were understandably outraged.

The headline read “There have been 74 School Shootings since Sandy Hook”.

There is, however, a problem with that number: it’s incorrect.

First, on Everytown’s website, they note the following:

Incidents were classified as school shootings when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts. This includes assaults, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings.

Now by this criteria, there have been 74 shootings that have occurred on a campus. The issue is what they are defining as a “school shooting” is misleading.

On Twitter, a journalist whose handle is @ChuckCJohonson looked into the details of the shootings on the list and found some did not involve students or faculty, many only involving violence that incidentally happened on school grounds. Many were gang related shootings that took place at or near a school. At least one involved a gun going off in someone’s pocket. One involved a guy who had shot his girlfriend dumping her body in the school parking lot. One was a shooting over a dice game that occurred in another school parking lot. Some were suicides involving no one but the person who took their own life. Some simply took place in a dorm room on a college campus.

By his estimate, the number is seven, one tenth of Everytown’s estimate.

CNN also published a story, limiting the list to “a minor or adult actively shooting inside or near a school” and came up with fifteen incidents, which they listed in detail.

Now, no one saying that those shootings that occurred that weren’t what we usually think of as “school shootings” are irrelevant. However, dealing with someone whose gun went off in their pants the same as┬ásomeone who murdered their classmates seems disingenuous at best.

What I think we can learn from this is that is not interested in facts, nuance or truth, but in using whatever number will back their push for additional restrictions on firearms ownership. That, and that the news media isn’t really bothering to check its sources before publishing shocking news, but then again, that’s nothing new.

More to come.

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