Are School Shootings a Mountain or a Molehill?

Scales of Justice
Scales of Justice

U.S.A. -( The things we don’t know are fascinating. Judging by recent news reports, we should keep our children at home so they won’t be killed by a crazy kid with a gun at school. On the other hand and again judging by the news reports, we should send our kids to a “gun free” school simply to get them out of any home that might have a legally owned gun on the premises. Neither claim is true, but they are entirely understandable if you reached the wrong conclusion by watching the “news”. The media lies to us as they struggle to sell advertising. Let’s look at the facts, and I’ll show you my sources at the end of the article.

27 students and staff were killed by mass murderers in US schools this year. That is revolting.  It shocks us as it should. It is also true that we don’t know how to make sense of that number. There are almost 327 million of us here in the United States. 57 million attend school in grades K through 12.  Is 27 murders a large number or a small one? How many of us die by other causes?

Let’s put the numbers into perspective. 156 people were murdered by gunfire in Chicago this year. There are only 9.6 million people living in the Chicago metropolitan area. It is an interesting comparison, but the results are shocking.

(It is actually 120 times, but I’ve made my point.) As fascinating as that may seem, the important question is why we didn’t know that fact already. Given the many hours of news coverage breathlessly devoted to mass murders, why didn’t the news reporters put their information into perspective for us? I don’t have proof, but I have an educated guess.

Since we’re on a roll, I’m going to put another news item into perspective. After the latest mass murder at a school in Texas, we were again told that guns kill us. It is true that guns are sometimes used in murders. In fact, there were about 11 thousand homicides with a firearm in the US in 2016. Again, we have to ask if that is a lot or a little.

The vast majority of the firearms homicides were suicides, while only a third of the homicides were murders. Both are a loss. Let’s stop to ask how many times guns saved lives. As verified by government reports, there were about 2.2 million cases a year where legal gun owners used a firearm in self-defense, though each example did not necessarily result in shots being fired.

Look at those results. Guns make us safer, and disarming us would put innocent people at greater risk. Why didn’t we read about that in the news? It appears that the media is more interested in click-bait headlines than informing their readers.

I’ll leave the data right here so you can see for yourself.

US population-
Mass murders in the US-
Chicago murder statistics-
Population of Chicago-
Public and private US school populations-
US homicide data-
CDC data on defensive gun use-
Rates of self-defense in sexual assault-

About Rob MorseSlow Facts

The original article is here.  Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob is an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.

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Phil Auten

School shootings are neither a mountain nor a molehill. They simply are a problem that be needs to be addressed thoughtfully and carefully considered on a local level. School districts need to eliminate “Gun Free Zones” and place armed security at each school. Also, access must be restricted so that perpetrators cannot simply walk in unchallenged. Armed security should be at that point of entry at ALL TIMES! Other points of entry should be locked so that accomplices cannot let a perp in. In case of emergency, those points should be able to be centrally unlocked so that staff and… Read more »


Here is a great article about how shootings are going down in number.

Robert Pollard

There’s another article that I read a while back that highlights the fact that although America has the most guns owned by citizens in the world, it ranks up into the 100s for murderers per capita. If you break that down to murders per capita by city, it’s the Democratically controlled cities that actually surpass the highest murder per capita countries.

Dan Schwager

Democrats don’t care about the truth they gave us Gun Free(killing) Zones.


I like to use the Mother Jones mass shooting data table… is nice because it is anti gun, left wing, and drives the left wing anti gunners nuts when I use it. From that table I show that except for 2017, lawn mowers kill more people each year than mass public shooters do. Also, I use that table to show that knives kill more people each year than all mass public shootings combined since 1982, where the Mother Jones table starts……Wasps and bees also kill more people than mass shooters do….

Colonel K

Having been the victim of a vicious and unwarranted lawnmower attack at the age of 16, I believe we should ban these evil devices. I don’t have one in my home. 🙂

Wild Bill

@COL K, What no lawnmower? My God, man … that is ,,, brilliant!

Joe Average

Man, you can’t even post a link to MoJo’s table? I had to highlight your mention of this table and left click to hit search InterWebs for this datasheet and pick the first result. It’s like you are trying to get me to work for the truth, instead just serving it up to me. 😉 For those who may know how to do that Now everyone can join in. No excuses. Don’t forget more fun may be had by employing 2aguy’s points with the buffeted folks in the middle whom may not own a gun, but are not completely… Read more »


Mother Jones has a good break down of mass shootings…I use it in debates with anti gunners. It is really nice because it is an anti gun, left wing, democrat news source, so when I use it to show that lawn mowers kill more people every single year than mass public shooters do (except for 2017) it really annoys them. Also, wasps and bees kill more people every single year than mass shooters do each year. And, of course, knives kill more people every single year than all mass shooters combined going back to 1982…..where the Mother Jones piece starts.


Oh that’s it!! I am doing my part for the safety and well-being of society, I am no longer mowing my grass. Way to dangerous!