On Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, the United States witnessed one of the worst school shootings in our nation’s history. 17 innocent people had their lives cut short by a heinous, senseless act of violence. Their names and memories will never be forgotten.
Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT) took to the Senate floor to push reform, while the scene was still active. At the time, there had been no information released about the shooter, the investigation, or the number of lives lost. However, Murphy wasted no time in using this tragedy to push his political agenda. In doing so, he made baseless claims, cited false statistics, and made assumptions that have now been proven to be false.
I want to be very clear when I say this: Using the slaughter of innocent children to push your political agenda is despicable, reprehensible, inhumane, and immoral.
Here’s the truth of the matter:
Sen. Murphy claimed that, “this happens no-where else other than the United States of America,” as did others.
According to The Crime Prevention Research Center, that is not correct. The United States is not ranked among the top 10 countries in terms of death rate and frequency, in regards to mass shootings.
The Annual Death Rate from Mass-Public Shootings (per million people) comparing the U.S. to European countries from 2009 to 2015 are (in order of rank): Norway, Serbia, France, Macedonia, Albania, Slovakia, Switzerland, Finland, Belgium, Czech Republic, and then the United States. The U.S. is ranked 11th amongst this list.
Also, the Frequency of Mass Public Shootings (per million people) comparing the U.S. to European countries from January 2009 to December of 2015 are (in order of rank): Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Switzerland, Norway, Slovakia, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, France and then the United States. The U.S. is ranked 12th amongst this list.
These statistics compare the death rate and frequency of mass shootings on a per capita basis, which accounts for the typically erroneously cited disproportion.
Also on a global spectrum, all but 2 of the 25 worst mass public shootings in history have happened outside of the U.S., per The Crime Prevention Research Center.
Sen. Murphy and others also cited a statistic claiming that this was the 18th school shooting in the U.S. in 2018.
This claim was also found to be incorrect and incredibly misleading. According to The Washington Post, “no, there haven’t been 18 school shootings in 2018. That number is flat wrong.”
Only 5 of the reported 18 “school shootings” listed as the basis for this claim resulted in physical injury. The other reported “school shootings,” were similar in nature to the case of the third grader who accidentally pulled the trigger of a police officer’s holstered pistol, firing a round into the floor, where no one was injured (this was also cited in the report).
Also, the claim was made by Sen. Murphy and others that the cause of this shooting was the inaction of Congress.
This was also proven to be incorrect. Those at fault for the shooting were the shooter himself and the government agencies that failed to stop him.
The negligence of various government agencies and the failure to follow basic protocol cost these 17 innocent children their lives.
The FBI received two reports on the shooter, prior to the shooting.
The first coming from a YouTuber who reported last fall that someone had left a comment on his video under the shooter’s name that stated that the shooter wanted to be “a professional school shooter.”
The second report coming from a direct call to the FBI on January 5th of this year in which the caller detailed, “the shooter’s gun ownership, his desire to kill people, his erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.” The FBI stated that this information should have been assessed as a potential threat to human life and as a result should have been investigated. But, they didn’t… and 17 innocent people lost their lives as a result.
So, in summation, if you want to have a discussion on gun control policy, that’s perfectly fine. Present your solution, and allow us all to have a rational, political conversation on your proposed solution. But, do not use the murder of 17 innocent children to push your political agenda. That is unjust and immoral.
Follow the author on Twitter.
Cover photo courtesy of Hannah Hutson.