More Americans Killed in School Shootings Than Military Service This Year
In the wake of yesterday's killing of eight in a Texas high school, WaPo's Philip Bump provides a chilling statistic.
The school shooting near Houston on Friday bolstered a stunning statistic: More people have been killed at schools this year than have been killed while serving in the military.
Initial estimates put the number killed at Santa Fe High School at eight. (The death toll has since risen to 10.) We can compare that to figures for the military compiled from Defense Department news releases, including both combat and noncombat deaths. Even excluding non-students who died in school shootings (for example, teachers) the total still exceeds military casualties.
It turned out that Bump’s methodology for counting military deaths was flawed:
After this story was originally published, Jared Keller, a senior editor at the site Task & Purpose, noted that the Department of Defense releases offered an incomplete picture of service member fatalities. Separate data compiled by the Navy, including the Marines, adds another seven casualties to the total, excluding motor vehicle accidents. In May, an Air National Guard plane crashed in Georgia killing another nine — an incident not included in the Department of Defense’s reports.
Including those figures (and adjusting the revised figure in Texas), the comparison graph looks like this.
Bump provides the obvious caveat:
The figures for 2018 do not suggest schools are more dangerous than combat zones. After all, there are more than 50 million students in public elementary and high schools and only about 1.3 million members of the armed forces. So far in 2018, a member of the military has been about 40 times as likely to be killed as someone is to die in a school shooting, including Keller’s revised figures.
The 2018 data is skewed because of how deadly the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting was. And, of course, the number of military deaths is down because we’ve steadily wound down our footprint in Afghanistan. But the fact that an activity that should be incredibly safe is comparable to one so inherently dangerous is nonetheless tragic.