School Shooting Claims Debunked
One independent journalist single-handedly eviscerated an infographic that was created by Everytown for USA, a pro-gun control group founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and circulated on social media Tuesday.
In the wake of a shooting at a high school in Oregon that left two dead, including the gunman, Everytown circulated a map which showed 74 school shootings that have taken place in the U.S. since Dec. 2012, when Adam Lanza killed 26 at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.
By using the Sandy Hook massacre as a frame of reference, the Everytown map left the impression that the shootings included on it were similar, claimed Charles Johnson, the freelance journalist who critiqued the graphic.
Johnson, who has written for The Daily Caller, cross-referenced each shooting, details of which Everytown listed on its website.
“By my count,” wrote Johnson, “fewer than 7 of the 74 school shootings listed by #Everytown are real mass shootings.”
Worst among the shootings included on the Everytown map, according to Johnson, is one that occurred in self-defense at Eastern Florida State University.
Another shooting included on the map was one related to drug-dealing, and not a case of a gunman seeking to wreck random havoc on a school.
One 2013 shooting in San Leandro, Cali. was related to a dice game, Johnson found.
Others included a public suicide, shootings related to gang activity, a dispute over a Nintendo Wii video game console and a lovers’ spat involving a high school principal.
Regardless of Johnson’s research, many journalists on Twitter found the map compelling and used it to call for stricter gun laws.
“There’ve been 74 schools shootings since Sandy Hook. There’s been 0 national gun control laws passed,” wrote Vox.com publisher Ezra Klein.
Piers Morgan, a former CNN talk show host who focused heavily on gun issues, wrote “America’s politicians did nothing after Sandy Hook – and the result of that shameful cowardice is 74 more school shootings in 18 months.”
Everytown explained its methodology in a footnote on its website.
“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,” reads the site. “This includes assaults, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings. Incidents in which guns were brought into schools but not fired there, or were fired off school grounds after having been possessed in schools, were not included.”