School Shootings, Through a Media Filter
Two years ago, I looked at school homicide statistics. Those statistics revealed that despite media hyping of school shootings as some kind of “epidemic,” school shootings were actually both rare and on the decline. What’s more, those same statistics showed, the vast majority of shootings through 2010 occurred outside of schools, not inside them.
It’s time for an update now that the Bureau of Justice Statistics has released another year of data on violence against children, bringing us up to the end of 2011 (it takes time for the BJS to compile accurate information). Just yesterday, the BJS let the public see its latest report containing statistics for 2011 on youth violence in and out of schools. As Figure 1.1 shows, although school enrollment in the U.S. has been growing, the number of homicides and suicides in schools has been declining:
Figure 1.2 of the same report shows that homicides and suicides of children in school are incredibly rare compared to homicides and suicides of children out of school:
So what headline did USA Today choose for its story discussing this new BJS report? See for yourself:
You’re being hyped, America. Resist the hype.