Image 01 Image 03

University Study: Schools safer than in the 90s, and school shootings not more common

University Study: Schools safer than in the 90s, and school shootings not more common

Contrary to the popular assumptions behind the push for strict gun control.

The subject of school safety has become a hot topic after Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Arguments in favor of strict gun control are based on the claim, among other things, that there is an epidemic of school shootings that have increased in the past several decades.

Northeastern University released a study Monday, however, that calls that assumption into question. The study that found schools are still the safest spot for children. The study also found that school shootings aren’t as actually common as portrayed in the media and are not as common as decades ago.

James Alan Fox, the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, law, and Public Policy at Northeastern and Fox and doctoral student Emma Fridel researched school shootings and “used data collected by USA Today, the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report, Congressional Research Service, Gun Violence Archive, Stanford Geospatial Center and Stanford Libraries, Mother Jones, Everytown for Gun Safety, and a NYPD report on active shooters.”

It led them to conclude “that shooting incidents involving students have been declining since the 1990s.”

Fox reported that “[F]our times the number of children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today” and that this really is not an epidemic. More children die “each year from pool drownings or bicycle accidents.” Their research found that the US has about 55 million children “and on average over the past 25 years, about 10 students were killed by gunfire at school.”

From the report (emphasis mine):

Fox said, however, some policy changes aimed at decreasing school shootings and gun violence in general certainly have merit. Banning bump stocks and raising the age of purchase for assault rifles from 18 to 21 are good ideas, and may lead to a decrease in overall gun violence, he said. But he doesn’t believe these measures will prevent school shootings. “The thing to remember is that these are extremely rare events, and no matter what you can come up with to prevent it, the shooter will have a workaround,” Fox said, adding that over the past 35 years, there have been only five cases in which someone ages 18 to 20 used an assault rifle in a mass shooting.

The Department of Education states that America has “26,407 public secondary schools and 10,693 private secondary schools.” It looks like the country has 90,000 elementary schools. These numbers are from a few years ago so it wouldn’t shock me if the number is higher.

If you watch or read the news on a regular basis like me, you will notice that these incidents do receive a lot of attention. I have noticed rare events receive more attention than ones that happen all the time like car crashes. I know people who are so scared to fly due to intense media coverage of them, but I know if car crashes received the same coverage they’d be just as scared. We all know that it’s safer to fly than to drive. Fox alluded to this in his op-ed at USA Today:

It is easy to believe that school shootings are the “new normal” as has been intimated, or that we are facing a crisis of epidemic proportions. When schools are placed on lockdown based on an active shooter alert (which many times is a false alarm), cable news channels immediately inform their viewers of the danger, and word is tweeted and retweeted to millions, most of whom have no direct connection to the event.

And when gunshots ring out, we hear the sounds replayed from cellphone recordings and watch through satellite feed as terrified survivors flee the scene. It makes a lasting impression, to be sure.

There’s also the problem of stretching the truth to advance your political agenda. I’m looking at you, Everytown for gun Safety, who has tried to convince everyone that there’s a school shooting on an almost daily basis. Fox struck that down in his op-ed:

Everytown for Gun Safety reported that there have been 290 school shootings since the catastrophic massacre in Newtown, Conn., more than five years ago. However, very few of these were anything akin to Sandy Hook or Parkland. Sure, they all involved a school of some type (including technical schools and colleges) as well as a firearm, but the outcomes were hardly similar. Nearly half of the 290 were completed or attempted suicides, accidental discharges of a gun, or shootings with not a single individual being injured. Of the remainder, the vast majority involved either one fatality or none at all.

Even The Washington Post disputed the group’s numbers.

Fox and Fridel condemn the idea of making schools fortresses because the actions “can be very traumatic.” Fridel noted that after the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 that many schools in America “began holding active shooter drills in which they huddled together in a corner or hid under their desks” and some exercises included “someone walking around pretending to shoot students.” She said these exercises “just serve to alarm students and make them think it’s something that is common. Fox is against arming teachers. Some have suggested metal detectors or IDs to enter a school. Fox and Fridel offered a few examples.

Fox agreed that “increased security measures of these kinds can do more harm than good.” He concluded:

“I’m not a big fan of making schools look like fortresses, because they send a message to kids that the bad guy is coming for you—if we’re surrounding you with security, you must have a bull’s-eye on your back,” Fox said. “That can actually instill fear, not relieve it.”


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Wait a minute…facts have no place here!

While I agree with most of the Fox and Fridel report, the theory that making a school look like a fortress will somehow cause permanent emotional harm to children is nothing more than projection. People are supremely adaptable. They can get used to anything. If there is no attack on a person, for a considerable length of time, then they feel relatively safe in their daily lives. As to the example given to justify Fox’s theory, they are not very compelling. In the Stockton incident, the playgrounds were not secured in any way. Had there been a wall, instead of a cyclone fence, the result probably would have been different. In Jonosboro, the same thing applies. No security in the parking lot. In the Red Lake shooting, the security guard was unarmed and there was no armed security on the campus at the time. The common denominator in these incidents is always the same, no, or insufficient, security precautions.

As I have mentioned, these school shooting incidents are extremely rare. But, they do happen. And when they happen, the media goes on a feeding frenzy and the Liberal/Progressive gun grabbers come out of the woodwork. The liberal “answer” to these incidents always involves a cost to the law abiding, gun owning population while absolving the schools from any responsibility for securing school campuses. But, you can’t have it both ways. If school campus shootings are a real problem, then school security has to be a REAL solution.

    goharnett in reply to Mac45. | February 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    as for causing emotional harm by making the school a fortress, i can only use the example of the airports after 911. they’ve made them a security fortress to be sure. and surely everytime i travel by air i feel emotionally distressed: take off your shoes, take off your belt, empty your pockets, let me xray you now to see if you’re hiding something in your privates – makes me feel like a criminal for traveling on the greatest gift of travel, airplanes. okay, i’m an adult, so i can only curse under my breath “those terrorists really won by causing us to institute daily terror for every airport traveler, damn them” – so you better be sure, if we do that to schools, the innocence of school children will be affected. for sure.

      goharnett in reply to goharnett. | February 27, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      yellow snake… the terrorists won by implanting terror into everyday living….

      the other part of your comment is racist in nature.


      People went through pre-flight security checks foe 35 years before 911. And, no one really minded. It was put your bag on the belt, step through the mag, pick up your bag and move on. This would be the same type of security check that students at a high school go through, And very few people minded. Most people didn’t even notice it. The current security screening is much more rigorous because the threats have changed to explosive devices, rather than firearms.

      What you are doing is the same thing that Fox is doing, projecting. You don’t like the current checks so it makes you angry. On the other hand, you probably wouldn’t be too happy if the passenger in 21C exploded and you got to ride a plummeting aircraft to impact the ground from 32,000 feet either.

        tom_swift in reply to Mac45. | February 27, 2018 at 5:56 pm

        This would be the same type of security check that students at a high school go through

        High school students don’t have to arrive over an hour early just to go through all that singing and dancing.

          So, what is your point? Security is always a trade-off. And, such a trade off existed in airports for 35 years before 9/11. However, if security is just too inconvenient for you, then do not complain when the shooter strolls in and opens fire.

        YellowSnakeInChief in reply to Mac45. | February 27, 2018 at 8:51 pm

        Archie Bunker once advocated that we arm all the passengers on planes. He thought that would deter hijackers. That was satire, but Trump wants to try it.

          yeah, because shooting in an airplane is a lot like shooting in a classroom. Your intellect dazzles.

          Oh..and pray tell how many rushes to the cockpits have we had since they started arming the pilots? Bueller? Anyone?

          But as we have seen, post after post, for you, it’s not about saving lives, it’s about making points with the old biddies on The View.

          Oh..and pray tell how many rushes to the cockpits have we had since they started arming the pilots?…..hello?

          All armed pilots go through a rigorous training course and are expected to use their firearms ONLY if the cockpit is breached. To avoid that, the cockpit entrance has been strengthened and the door is supposed to be secured during flight operations.

          I think that is the plan. All teachers go through a rigorous training course and are expected to use their firearms ONLY if the classroom is breached. To avoid that, the school entrance has been strengthened and the doors are supposed to be secured during school operations.

          Archie Bunker was meant as satire, but most of what he says is actually good sense. Especially this one. Arming passengers would indeed be a good idea, and should have been implemented immediately after 11-Sep-2001 instead of all this TSA security theater.

          Flight 93 no more will fly
          Dead on the ground or dead in the sky
          You might not survive, but at least you can try
          Stand up and bring the ship down.

    Hank in reply to Mac45. | February 27, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    “I’m not a big fan of making schools look like fortresses,.. ” me neither, nor should they look like shooting galleries.

    alaskabob in reply to Mac45. | February 27, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Part the resistance is that the Left does not want to perpetuate the idea the guns can be protective and that ordinary citizens can perform at a level that does not require professional law enforcement. They want to foster the unique need for government to supply critical needs. The defense of Broward Co. sheriff is absolutely needed to deflect from the shortcomings. Have taken courses beside SWAT team members a lot of “mystic” goes away and mutual competence can be established.

    YellowSnakeInChief in reply to Mac45. | February 27, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    It will condition the children to living in a police state because that is what they will be experiencing during their schooling.

    It can legitimize more white people going around with guns all the time. Blacks can be weeded out by using the ‘school to prison pipeline’ to insure they have records and are prohibited from having guns.

    If one wanted to be paranoid, school shootings can be used to advance the right-wing agenda. Come to think of it, even if you are not paranoid, that appears to be what is happening.

      I’m just curious, how many black children died in car crashes? You have no idea, do you? Nor do you care. Because you don’t care.

        YellowSnakeInChief in reply to elle. | February 27, 2018 at 9:18 pm

        Oh, give it up on the car crashes. It is a lousy analogy.

        For 1 thing we actually do know how many black children die in car crashes because the CDC is not prohibited from studying car crashes. They are prohibited from studying shootings.

        2nd cars have become less lethal. Guns more lethal.

        3rd you need a license and the car has to be registered.

        4th cars have become very secure and hard to steal. Guns are easy to steal or buy illegally. Timothy McVeigh got caught because he wouldn’t use a license plate.

        You seem determined to ignore the obvious. OK, you win. Nothing is going to be done. They won’t even spend the money to harden the schools or train the teachers. Maybe in a few locales they will do it right. But most places are just the potential next location, Elle – or should we call you Annie Oakley.

          soooooo… come so many more people die in car crashes?

          what is it that you care about? Is it people dying unnecessarily? What is it about gun deaths that makes their deaths so much more meaningful to you than deaths from children who die from car crashes or drugs?

          The CDC are prohibited from studying guns because (a) they’re not a disease, and (b) they were caught in the ’90s doing shoddy “research” for pure political purposes and if they were allowed they would do it again.

          Cars have not become less lethal; they’ve become safer for their users, not for the people they hit. Guns haven’t become much safer for their users because they’re already about as safe as they can get. But for instance an AR-15 is safer than its predecessors.

          You need neither a license nor registration to buy a car, or to keep it on your property. And the reason we oppose gun registration is because we know it will be used for confiscation.

          Cars are hard to steal?! Surely you jest. Have you seen the car theft stats? And the fact that police take no interest in car thefts?

        YellowSnakeInChief in reply to elle. | February 27, 2018 at 9:24 pm

        BTW, the ad hominem attacks are really pathetic. Is that really the best you have? Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that I am a hypocrite. Does that invalidate my argument? Does it make yours better? Does it save one life?

        The only thing it tells me is that you are either not very bright or not very educated. You can deny that. But do it with a reasoned argument.

          As I noted above, you have not made clear what your argument is. Is it that you care about unnecessary deaths? If so, why did you fail to post on the drug overdose thread? Why do you mock me when I point out that thousands died yesterday from inadequate car control?

          hahahaha….BTW, the ad hominem attacks are really pathetic…..
          The only thing it tells me is that you are either not very bright or not very educated.”


      So, to date virtually all of the school mass shooters have been white. They have killed some 120 people in the last 30 years. Chicago has averaged 500 homicides a year since 2002 and in the last three years has had a homicide rate from 650 to 760. 75% of the victims were black and 71% of the murderers were black. So, which demographic should cause the most concern for black Americans; white people with guns or black people with guns?

      Another Ed in reply to YellowSnakeInChief. | March 1, 2018 at 2:39 am

      In both the middle school and high school my sons attended, there was a Deputy Sheriff / Resource Officer assigned to the school. They were both personable, well spoken, professional and appeared to enjoy the assignments – day shift with weekends off. Coincidentally, both were black.

Fox said, however, some policy changes aimed at decreasing school shootings and gun violence in general certainly have merit. Banning bump stocks and raising the age of purchase for assault rifles from 18 to 21 are good ideas.

Too bad he had to blow his credibility all to hell with this nonsense.

I personally don’t see why a serious shooter (not the violent kind, the kind who enjoys shooting sports) would want a bump stock. It makes the gun’s aim less reliable, which is counter to what the aims of most who enjoy shooting guns go for. Sure, it can be fun to blast through a ton of bullets. It’s also fun to hit the targets over spraying bullets in a haphazard way. This whole thing with calling any kind of rifle an assault rifle needs to end too. It is misleading, which is why the media has latched on to it, even though it is meaningless except in causing it to sound scary to some people.

My first impression when reading this was shock (not really) that the media would push untruths for their own political agendas. I know we have always had people who yearned to be lead, so they wouldn’t have to think, just follow… but that was more rare than the American spirit which seemed to be where people from this country were individualistic, and more often than not, would fight against conformity to restrictions. Even the “Hippy” movement was just that, though it was based on emotions and pleasure over responsibility. My, how much we have “progressed” under liberalism as it is defined today.

    Immolate in reply to oldgoat36. | February 27, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Shooting with a bump stock is like sculpting with a jack hammer.

    YellowSnakeInChief in reply to oldgoat36. | February 27, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you for your sociological study of hippies in 1 sentence. We all should give it the weight it deserves.

    As to bump-stocks: The media because aware of the bump-stock when it was successfully used to kill 58 and injure 515 Anywhere a crowd so dense that you almost can’t miss, rapid fire is going to add to the body count.

    But if you are convinced that the bump stock didn’t matter, then you could advocate for banning the weapon or the replaceable magazine.

    Besides Trump is advocating for the ban. Shouldn’t the press pay attention to our president, although it is interesting that Trump brought up bump-stocks after an atrocity that had nothing to do with bump-stocks. If one was cynical, they might think he was groping for something to say that might not offend the NRA.

      I would wait on some of those points. Bump stocks can cause jams and early reports indicated that since several rifles may have been required. Columbine was a story of a failed bomb also… one that would have made shooting up a school… ah… child’s play.

      The bump stock is of limited or no real value. Just as there is little advantage to a fully automatic m16 over the semi-automatic AR-15. If the bump stock was banned tomorrow, few people would mourn its passing. And, those who did can make the rifle perform the same way with a long shoelace.

      In the Vegas shooting, the use of the bump stock probably didn’t matter, except to possibly reduce the number of people killed. It might even have reduced the number of people injured by projectiles, as well. In Vegas, we had an, apparently, untrained or poorly trained shooter. He chose weaponry which was not well suited to the range at which he was operating. If he had used a semi-automatic rifle in 7.62 NATO, rather than 5.56 NATO and aimed, he would probably have at least doubled his KIA number. In fact, he could have probably doen nearly as well if he had driven a dump truck into the crowd, got out and opened fire from close range.

      The thing to take away from most of these mass shootings, is that they are relatively ineffective. They may run up a moderate body count, but the threat is usually over immediately following the incident. The Beltway Snipers, Muhammad and Malvo, created much more angst among the citizenry, over a longer period of time, even though they only killed 17 people and wounded 10 others. That was a classic use of sniper tactics to cause fear in a community. Charles McCoy, the Ohio highway sniper only killed one person, but caused public concern for several months during his operational period.

        YellowSnakeInChief in reply to Mac45. | February 27, 2018 at 7:59 pm

        I have seen the videos using a shoelace. The link was provided here. It also led me to video of a guy who wanted to see whether a fully auto M-16 or an AK would cook off its barrel first by continuous fire. For what its worth the AK was the ‘winner’.

        Concerning Las Vegas, I have read differing opinions about whether the bump stock contributed to the amount of carnage. Personally I think such a kludge is a bad choice.

        I think you are absolutely right on the Beltway Snipers; although they never figured out how to turn it into extortion.

      Yellow Snake says, “bump-stocks …successfully used to kill 58 and injure 515”

      Oooh look at you, big defender of saving lives. You post endlessly, preening as if you “care” about preventable deaths. If you really cared, you would put your limited efforts where it could make a far greater impact.

      Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 DEATHS A DAY!! An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44

      3,287 DEATHS per day. When you start demanding more controls on access to cars, we will know you are serious about saving lives. Until then, your words mean nothing.

    tom_swift in reply to oldgoat36. | February 27, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    I personally don’t see why a serious shooter … would want a bump stock.

    Civil rights aren’t only for “serious shooters”.

YellowSnakeInChief | February 27, 2018 at 2:45 pm

So why do we need armed teachers?

    Perhaps we wouldn’t, if we had armed security? Even Congress has such? I am hard pressed to see career politicians as more important than school children.

      YellowSnakeInChief in reply to Hank. | February 27, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      I am curious. Did you read the article. But no matter. Give your advice to Trump, not me. He is the one advocating for arming teachers.

        98% or active shooter events have taken place in gun free zones. You could save waaay more lives by speaking out about preventing teens from driving their cars to school, but you don’t care about kids who die in car crashes, much less care about those who die in gun free zones. Hypocrite.

    Actually, armed teachers is not really that good an idea.

    Anyone expected to discharge a firearm in a crowed, sensitive facility, such as a school, really requires extensive specialized training and continual practice in both tactical shooting and routine gun handling. They also have to be trained to be able to readily kill someone, possibly a young person. Many teachers are not going to be constitutionally able to handle that.

    In some smaller school systems, identifying and training teaching personnel who would be able to perform a last ditch security function might work. But, it comes with its own set of risks.

      elle in reply to Mac45. | February 28, 2018 at 5:16 am

      You are right, but everything has risk. Two weeks ago we saw the risk of not arming teachers. 98% of shootings occur in gun free zones. Arming even one teacher or security guard eliminates it being a gun free zone.

      It only takes the “possibility” of a policeman giving me a ticket to slow me down when I am in a big hurry.

Schools are safer than they were in the 1990s- how about the 1950s?

    Petrushka in reply to gad-fly. | February 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    When you get below the rate of lightening strikes, you are in the noise.

    As for security guards, they had one. It’s a terrible job because the need to act is so rare, and if it occurs, so dangerous. The question is, why didn’t this deputy stop the kid and examine his duffel bag?

      “The question is, why didn’t this deputy stop the kid and examine his duffel bag?”

      So far, he have no reports that the deputy, the SRO, was aware that Cruz was even on campus until the shooting started. He is one man and was not at Cruz’s point of entry. According to news reports a “security monitor” saw Cryz enter. But, just as in those cute commercials, a monitor is not supposed to engage a potential threat, merely notice a central location of the problem.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | February 27, 2018 at 4:43 pm

I’m in favor of voluntary, not mandatory, CONCEALED carry. Maybe offer a $5K increase in salary to any school employee who has completed a concealed carry course and agrees to carry. It has to be voluntary and it has to be concealed. That way nobody except maybe the principal or superintendent knows for sure who is carrying, and the students won’t feel like they are in an armed fortress.

Then put a couple of big ole signs out front warning anybody who opens fire on our children is guaranteed not to leave alive.

This last proposal will never happen, and I’m sure I’ll get down voted, but I’d like to see the guy who shot up the Florida school guillotined on TV. Televise his beheading. The purpose of public hangings was to provide a deterrent effect by shocking the public about what will happen to them if they commit a capital offense. Provide lots of advance notice about when the beheading will be televised so parents can keep their children from watching and effete liberals can hide in their safe spaces with their stuffed animals and coloring books.

    Make it a lottery… winner gets to pull lever and money raised goes to victims. Actually drawing and quartering would be good (very wishful thinking). His $800,000 or so inheritance will help a little also.

    We have sanitized punishment too much. The balance is shifted to making the condemned too comfortable on the way out.

      murkyv in reply to alaskabob. | February 27, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      But…but…”that’s not who we are”

      I kinda think the vast majority of Americans want this bastard to die. Painfully

    YellowSnakeInChief in reply to MaggotAtBroadAndWall. | February 27, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    They used to publicly hang children in England for stealing a loaf of bread. Did it deter them? I guess it depended on how hungry they were. Anyway, they don’t hang anyone, anymore. They don’t seem to have the brutality we have. I wonder if there is a connection?

    Actually, I am surprised you don’t fantasize about hanging, drawing and quartering. He gets disemboweled on live TV!

      Since you care so much about children, how come you aren’t on this thread? Do you have any idea how many more children die from using drugs than die from a lack of gun control. Speak up! Let your voice be heard!!

        YellowSnakeInChief in reply to elle. | February 27, 2018 at 9:33 pm

        LOL! Did you major in hypocrisy?

        The biggest danger from marijuana is getting busted.

        Wow, they can cop Adderall!

        But yeah, the meth heads and dope addicts should get treatment. But most of them aren’t college students.

        I guess you are right. We shouldn’t look at guns until we have achieved World Peace.

          nice deflection using marijuana and world peace. If you care so much, you would not deflect from heroin, crack, the opioid crisis, and the 3000+ who died from car crashes today. What is it you care about? Only the children who died from guns?

          YellowSnakeInChief in reply to YellowSnakeInChief. | February 27, 2018 at 10:09 pm

          LOL. The 3000+ who died in car crashes, today? What are you smoking?

          Besides you are the one deflecting. Nothing in this article pertains to anything you have mentioned.

          You are rather obtuse and boring. Goodbye.

          dude.. you are a fish in a barrel.

          google search: “how many people died in car crashes yesterday”

          google answer: “Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day. An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44.”

Why did the authors of that study select 1992 as a cut-off date? If they extended their graph back to 1940 it would have shown that the number of school shootings was much lower back then.