Friday, February 16

More fake news


After a crazy former student killed 17 students the Florida high school, headlines starting appearing at major news sites:
  • "There have already been 18 school shootings in the US this year" — ABC News
  • "18 school shootings in 45 days; Florida massacre is one of many tragedies in 2018"—CNBC
  • "18 school shootings in US in 2018"— AFP
  • "U.S. averages a school shooting every 2.5 days in 2018" — Politico
  • "We're Averaging One School Shooting Every 60 Hours In 2018" — Huffington Post
And when not in the headline, this same claim shows up in just about every story about the Florida shooting.  So, it must be true, right?  If not, why would every news outlet be reporting it?

And you may also wonder how it is that you only heard of one or two other tragic school shootings this year.  Maybe you were asleep?  Why weren't the other 17 reported?

Because the headline is "fake news."

The number comes from a gun control group called Everytown for Gun Safety, and they got the "18 school shootings" figure by calling shootings that had nothing at all to do with students a "school shooting."

For example, one of the events the group called a "school shooting" involved a student at Greyson College who accidentally discharged a weapon at the school's Criminal Justice Center during a class supervised by a police officer on how to use handguns.

Another on the list involved a third grader who accidentally pulled the trigger of a police officer's holstered weapon.

One of the claimed "school shootings" was a when a 31-year-old man shot himself in his car, which happened to be parked in the parking lot of a school that had been closed for seven months. 

Another was a student who deliberately killed himself in a school bathroom.

One "school shooting" involved a gun brought to school by a 12-year-old girl, that discharged while in her backpack.

Three "school shootings" involved fights that broke out between either adults or students in school parking lots — one of them at a college in North Carolina — in which one of the people arguing pulled a gun on the other.

Another student was shot by a robber, during a robbery that happened to take place in a school parking lot.

In fact, of the 18 so-called "school shootings," only five occurred during school hours, and only four — including the latest — are what most people would consider a school shooting; in which someone brings a gun to school with the intent of shooting students.  And of those three other "genuine" shootings, only one resulted in deaths, when a student at a Kentucky high school killed two fellow students and wounded 14.

The other two "genuine" shootings resulted in two injuries.

This is by no means meant to downplay the seriousness of this issue. These are all inexcusable.  But when you read the breakdown above, it's clear that the gun-control group deliberately contrived a misleading headline, in order to create anti-gun anger and unduly scare people.

And the press, most of whom enthusiastically embrace gun control, simply went along with the deception.

Fake.  News.

Gee, where have we heard that before?

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