It was bound to happen. With two school shootings happening so close together, UNCC and STEM School Highlands Ranch respectively, It was inevitable that some organization or news outlet would come out with an exaggerated number about how many school shootings have happened this year. This time it was CNN claiming that there have been 15 school shootings this year. It makes a great headline but once you get into the heart of the article you can see vague their definition of a school shooting is.
CNN considers a school shooting to be…
- The shooting must involve at least one person being shot (not including the shooter).
- The shooting must occur on school property, which includes but is not limited to, buildings, athletic fields, parking lots, stadiums and buses.
- We included accidental discharge of a firearm as long as the first two parameters are met, except in instances where the sole shooter is law enforcement or a security officer.
- We included injuries sustained from BB guns, since the Consumer Product Safety Commission has identified them as potentially lethal.
That’s a very broad definition to get a double-digit number to use as a clickbait and fear mongering headline. They then go on to list several shootings that are only tangentially related to school. Out of the 15 shootings they listed only three fit what I would call an actual school shooting.
Should we be concerned about all these shootings? Absolutely. The fact that these shootings are happening near school properties are very disconcerting and show how bad gun violence has gotten in this country. However, as I’ve previously said, if you call everything a school shooting then nothing is a school shooting meaning that their impact will be lessened and their effects become more trivialized.