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The Shooting Statistics Are Clear: It’s Not Schools That Are Dangerous


The Shooting Statistics Are Clear: It’s Not Schools That Are Dangerous

Mike Males

Every day, 42 Americans die in gun homicides, the grim backdrop against which to talk about school shootings. In the three months between the 10 shot dead in Santa Fe, Texas, on Friday, and the 17 in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, around 4,000 Americans lost their lives in firearms homicides.

In the initial horror following a school shooting, we witness the “thoughts and prayers,” finger-wagging from politicians not wanting to “politicize” the shooting, and promises to “do something.” Then, just as predictably, nothing happens.


I have driven past Santa Fe High School hundreds of times in the past. My parents are buried about twelve miles away. This shit is real. Three of my second cousins attended Columbine, and yes one was there on that day nineteen years ago. This shit is real. Let’s stop this shit!


Good article with an interesting take. I am not sure if I buy into it. The statistics only go so far. It is the fact that when a school shooting happens innocent children in high numbers fall victim in such a horrible way that makes the school shootings so incredibly demoralizing. The nature of the victims along with the seeming randomness of their deaths make it all the more insidious.

The one term I have learned to despise…“thoughts and prayers.” When as a society we do nothing to stop these horrible incidents, the repeated refrain from politicians of every stripe of “thoughts and prayers” turns into a mockery.

One thing the writer makes absolutely clear…we are a very dangerous society and you are not really safe anywhere…


Thank you for your (more than usually) measured response. But you missed the statistics that show how many more innocent children fall victim to gun violence one by one. And you (and Males) missed the concern we must raise about the kids who do get so desperately lonely, or angry (appears to be some of what happened at SantaFe) that they get out their own or their parents’ guns and take their unhappiness to school, or the girlfriend’s house, or the Waffle House, or wherever.


You are very welcome:) Yes, I write with a heavy hand. I would argue it is quite measured however. It is my belief that the vast majority of the population, even here in CD hide, from the true reality of this world coming apart. They fantasize about “voting the bastards out”…like that is even an option. They get burned over and over but never learn from the experience. I have found that nothing less then a two by four upside the head repeatedly seems to have any effect at all. I feel if I can wake up even one or two people to their true plight I will have done something good. I don’t have time for feel good bullshit. The world as we know it is dying…


But Dan, where does your cynicism get us? Give us some ideas of what to do about our “plight”?

Please, if you take that as anything more than rhetorical, put it in terms of this topic. I will not respond otherwise.


There is our basic disagreement bkswrites. What you call cynicism, I call reality.

bkswrites, great forces are at work. I recommend you read Chris Hedges new article that came out today here in Common Dreams as well as on Truthdig. Nobody points out the reality of our common plight better then Hedges does in that article. Because to know our plight is the first step in actually dealing with it. Until we are all on the same page, we are all pulling in different and unhelpful directions.

Unfortunately at the moment there isn’t really much we can do. The old is dying, and the new, whatever it may turn out to be is yet to be born. Great forces that have been growing for decades have now taken on a momentum of their own. It is the calm before a great storm. All we can do now is take care of those we love and be very careful, so that we can at least avoid the most common pitfalls. Developing friends and networks you can lean on when things really go south is probably the most important thing you can do now.

Sorry if this wasn’t as specific or on topic as you would have liked. But it is the best I can give you in this time and place. Peace to you my friend.


“Every day, 42 Americans die in gun homicides”

ANNUAL Britain and Wales COMBINED: "In a population of 56 million, there are about 50 to 60 gun killings ANNUALLY. In the USA, by contrast, there are about 160 times as many gun homicides in a country that is roughly six times larger in population."


I wish that were true. But we all know that right now, there’s at least one, probably several people out there planning the next mass shooting at a school, social gathering, shopping mall, wherever. Those people obviously don’t think the number of school homicides should be zero.

And we should realize that when most of these shooters started their gun collection, they weren’t planning any homicides yet. At that time they were indistinguishable from the stereotypical gun nut who either thinks guns are cool, or who thinks he needs to shoot a gun to prove his manhood. Indistinguishable in attitude and the type of gun collection they own from a few of the people who post on this site, and no doubt from many others who silently lurk. Maybe one of these ordinary macho/cool gun nuts is on this site fuming about liberals and deciding to do something about it. Maybe also there are folks from the FBI paying attention to this site.

The point of this post is to point out that there’s a pool of potential mass murderers out there. We don’t know who they will be, but we do know that right now they look like the typical NRA-talking point repeating “from my cold, dead hands” crowd. That’s a problem. These people (like Greg Abbott) may even come up with some tough anti-murder talk, but we all know they don’t care. Alex Jones didn’t care when he said the Sandy Hook massacre was a fiction. I have to wonder if these gun nuts might actually be cheering on the murderers, even convincing themselves that this is somehow the way to protect their “freedoms”.


Yep. To be specific, I don’t rely on God or anybody else to step in and fix things up, and I’m too old (and my granddaughters too young) to risk being among the casualties. I see kids like the Parkland survivors, and those encouraging voter registration and doing what we can with the system we have as those doing the most to transform our society.So I wrote to my GOP state senator (and called his office) to be counted among those who expect him to be part of the majority who will vote 6 gun-sense bills out of committee today, and will give the final legislative approval soon. NJ has some of the tightest laws already, but there’s room to improve without stepping on anyone’s rights. And I live in one of the most rural and conservative corners of the state, but I will not just sit back and cede control to my gun-owning neighbors, or the mayor who wants to arm the guard at the school across the street. I will do what I can do, and understand that transformative thinking transforms the Universe.

I don’t read Chris Hedges, at all. I read Marcus Borg, who among other revelations has taught me there’s a spectrum of religious folk, from belief-based to transformation-based. You’ve just taught me that the same spectrum seems to apply to other thought systems, such as this discussion. You’re way on the belief end on this one: You know what’s going to happen, and you know it’s going to be awful, and all you think you can do is raise awareness. I prefer to contribute to the transformation and look forward to it in hope rather than dread. I prefer to be an agent of change, not its victim.

Now can we get back to talking about gun safety?


The mote blinds to the beam


I might suggest editing this sentence slightly:

“For all gun killings (including homicides, suicides, and accidents), American schools are safer than most of western Europe.”

Although the sentence is accurate (if I understood the article correctly), it might be good to edit this to something like “Americans are less likely to be killed by guns in schools than most Europeans are to be killed by guns in all environments, such as work, home, or others.” Not as elegant, I know, but when I read the sentence above, I initially read it to mean that American schools were safer than European schools.

Very thought-provoking, well-research piece. Thank you.


Dan, unfortunately, I agree with you. I don’t see the forces even nascent, much less extant, in this country, to be turning back the fascist…or neo-nazi tide…much less the climate-globe-destruction tide. I suppose we can’t abandon the “good fight”——hope springs eternal and optimists probably secrete less cortisol than pessimists do…but I’ve never seen so much of the American fabric being shredded or dissolving all at one time as is happening now…and that’s with living through the McCarthy era. (And it ain’t ever been so great for Native Americans, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc. anyway.)


Yes, we are breaking new unfortunate ground. As you say. we can’t abandon the good fight. We cannot chose the time in which we live…we can only choose how we live in it. Peace