School shootings are extremely rare. So why is fear of them driving policy?

School shootings are extremely rare. So why is fear of them driving policy?
Female teen is arrested after shooting at LA middle school. (Image: Screen grab of news video via LAT)

[Ed. – The question posed in the title is a good one. Too bad the author is unable to answer without resorting to disingenuous arguments such as noting in the last sentence that Marjory Stoneman Douglas was ‘patrolled by an armed guard’ when in fact the individual in question cowered outside the building while the shootings occurred. Of course if he hadn’t attempted to sabotage his own op-ed, the WaPo would never have published it.]

Since Columbine, approximately 200 public school students have been shot to death while school was in session. … That means the statistical likelihood of any given public school student being killed by a gun, in school, on any given day since 1999 was roughly 1 in 614,000,000. And since the 1990s, shootings at schools have been getting less common.

The chance of a child being shot and killed in a public school is … far lower than many people assume, especially in the glare of heart-wrenching news coverage after an event like Parkland. And it’s far lower than almost any other mortality risk a kid faces, including traveling to and from school, catching a potentially deadly disease while in school or suffering a life-threatening injury playing interscholastic sports.


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The problem … is what our excessive fears could lead to. Having more guns in schools, as President Trump advocates — or more guns anywhere — increases the likelihood of gun violence. … The Parkland tragedy itself teaches that more guns don’t automatically mean more safety: The school was patrolled by an armed guard.

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