I can’t imagine the heartache experienced by families impacted by the recent Santa Clarita school shooting. On November 14, a student opened fire at Saugus High School, where he shot several people before killing himself. Two of his teenage victims, who were also his classmates, died. My deepest sympathies extend to their loved ones.
I am terrified that one day, the school my kids attend will be the scene of a senseless massacre. As a mom of three young children, my knee-jerk reaction is to protect my kids from every bad thing in this world. But, banning private gun ownership is not the answer to solving our nation’s mass shooting problem.
The right to bear arms as clearly stated in the Second Amendment is a fundamental part of America. It is essential to the safety of our citizenry and the perpetuity of our democratic republic. Taking that right away from the people and granting it only to government officials would destroy the principles that built our country.
School shootings were shocking when I was a kid and up until I graduated high school in 2004. Today, we are becoming accustomed to them. They happen in both rural and urban schools, and victims range from kindergarten to college. All agree that this trend must be stopped, but how to accomplish that is unclear.
If you look online to discover how many school shootings have taken place so far in America this year, the number will range from 11 to over 70. There is no single, universally accepted definition for “school shooting,” so calculations are derived using varying methods. Many organizations have established their own parameters in an effort to further research the subject. Varying methodology produces inconsistent results.
CNN, The New York Times and the Center for Homeland and Defense Security all have their own quantifying guidelines. Some guidelines include counting all incidents at schools involving a firearm, including pellet guns or suicides. Other parameters include data from incidents involving two or more victims.
Others count only incidents where four or more victims are injured or killed, not including the shooter.
If fact-finders can’t agree on the number of school shootings, let us examine the data on mass shootings, which are similar in nature. No single definition exists for those, either, but that didn’t stop Adam Lankford from promoting his 2016 study on mass shootings.
He concluded that the US has far more mass shootings than any other developed country because its citizens own an unusually large number of firearms. Even the most casual newsreader has likely seen this statement because it is recirculated every time a mass shooter makes headlines.
Lankford’s findings have recently come under intense scrutiny. Lankford skewed the data toward his preset bias, which was disarming the American population. Lankford has not responded to journalists and other researchers when asked to corroborate his data and methodology.
We need hard, indisputable research on school shootings. We need to analyze all aspects, especially shooter profiles and motives. Why are kids killing kids at school, which is supposed to be a safe haven? What can we do to stop kids from becoming killers? This is what researchers need to pinpoint, rather than succumbing to the anti-gun rhetoric built on false data. I hope credible researchers look accurately at this issue soon. Our kids’ lives depend on it.