Sohn: School shootings more numerous than reported

Sohn: School shootings more numerous than reported

May 11th, 2019 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

Officials guide students off a bus and into a recreation center where they were reunited with their parents after a shooting at a suburban Denver middle school Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

We are 19 weeks into 2019, and CNN can count 15 school shootings — almost one a week — from Georgia to California, at elementary, middle and high schools and on college and university campuses.

As the school year draws to a close in most parts of the country, children at those schools will walk out the doors emotionally scarred by shootings they've seen or heard.

School shootings by year.

School shootings by year.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Five students will never return, never graduate, never take another breath because they died at the hands of the shooters.

Another 23 students suffered physical wounds, and scores of students and teachers will always carry the horror of seeing blood on the floors, walls or doors of their schools, buses or college classrooms.

Most recently the violence occurred at a university in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a secondary school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

But just think how many school shootings we might be trying to count had some of our would-be shooters were not found ahead of time and disarmed. That's happened even here in Hamilton County.

Now we no longer have to rely on news organizations to count school shootings for us.

Now we can find the really scary numbers — the complete numbers — compiled in a report and K-12 School Shooting Database as part of the Advanced Thinking in Homeland Security program at the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

The database came to be as the result of this sentence, underscored in an August 2018 National Public Radio investigative report: "How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school? We should know, but we don't."

Now we do. The online K-12 school shooting database ( includes "each and every instance in which a gun is brandished, fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason, regardless of the number of victims (including zero), time, day of the week, or reason (e.g., planned attack, accidental, domestic violence, gang-related)," according to the report's introduction.

The database shows more than 1,360 K-12 school shootings from 1970 through Friday.

Unlike CNN's count, the database does not include college shootings. Also unlike CNN's count, the database has found 30 K-12 school shootings and 7 deaths this year. That's twice as many shootings as CNN knew of.

What about last year? Brace yourselves.

In 2018, 56 people died in 97 school shootings. That was double the number of school shootings in each of the two previous years, and six times the number cataloged 40 years ago.

If fixing this were easy, someone would have done it already. At least knowing the right numbers gives us a start.

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