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Is 2018 Really 'Deadlier For Schoolchildren Than Service Members'?

A Washington Post headline misleads its readers.

Santa FeHarris County Sheriff''s Office/ZUMA Press/NewscomToday's tragic mass killing at Santa Fe High School, which left at least 10 dead, brings the total number of people killed in school shootings so far this year to 29.

That's more than twice the number of U.S. military service members who have died in 2018, which prompted The Washington Post to run with this headline: "2018 has been deadlier for schoolchildren than service members." Teen Vogue's Lauren Duca tweeted the story, adding "this is not what a civilized country looks like."

If the implication here is that being a student is riskier than joining the military—well, that's highly misleading, if not flat-out wrong. As The Washington Post admits, five paragraphs into the article, there are 50 million kids in American K-12 schools and just 1.3 million military service people. The raw school shooting casualty number is higher than the military fatality number at this particular point in 2018, but when we divide by the total number of people in each group, it remains the case that being a solider is 17 times more likely to result in death than being a student.

That doesn't mean the higher-than-usual number of school shooting victims this year is acceptable. But the Post headline channels readers' paranoia, inviting them to believe that sending their kids to school is more dangerous than signing them up for the Army. This plays right into so many young people's fear that school shootings are likely and inevitable—something many of the kids at the March for Our Lives Rally in Washington, D.C., told me explicitly—when they remain quite rare.

Photo Credit: Harris County Sheriff''s Office/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    A Washington Post headline misleads its readers.

    This is true in every case.

  • Rhywun||

    Seriously. Who reads that rag anymore?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Woodward. Maybe Bernstein.

  • SimonP||

    *Raises hand* I do. I even pay for it. Top-notch political reporting. Spun as all hell, but it's better than the shit we get for free here.

  • JesseAz||

    Can't tell if serious.

  • SimonP||

    That's because you're a moron. *shrug*

  • JesseAz||

    Ive never seen an idiot White Knight a paper before. You are a true believer. Lol. Wow.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Except for the bits that are total BS, of course. Pity they don't warn you in advance which bits those are.

    You know, like the bit they reported here, about the Washington Post deliberately leading its readers to believe that Trump had referred to all illegal immigrants as "animals", when there wasn't any question at all he was talking about M-13?

    They backtracked afterwards, but there's no question that they knew what they were doing when they initially libeled him, and they're still making excuses.

    They also spread that hat toss libel, where it was pretended that he'd taken a handicapped kid's hat, and tossed it away into the crowd.

    With a little effort I could compile quite a list of libels the WaPo has published about Trump, with little doubt they knew what they were doing.

  • Longtobefree||

    Exactly; even the date at the top of the page has to be fact checked - - - -

  • TXMex||

    Don't let that fucking idiot sarcasmic see this, he'll spend an hour showing you how shitty his reading comprehension is, and how bad his understanding of statistics are.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    7 out of 2 people disagree with you.

  • Shirley Knott||

    So 50% then. We're winning in the polls!

  • gormadoc||

    Show me on the doll where sarcasmic touched you.

  • Ron||

    since its safer to be a soldier maybe we should arm the kids like soldiers

  • Don't look at me.||

    No, just enlist them all in the Army. You want your kids to be safe, right?

  • Jim Logajan||

    The largest fatality category for children is accidents.
    The second largest fatality category is suicide.
    The third largest fatality category is homicide.
    Of the homicide category, less than 2% were school related.
    (http://tiny.cc/ynxrty)

    Suicide and school shootings like the one in Santa Fe likely have long-term emotional trauma as their cause. Early identification of such followed by intervention would seem the best way to address both problems. They are correlated problems rather than distinct, IMHO. Banning guns doesn't address the underlying problem because a bigger, but related problem, is killing thousands of children.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    So... free college is the answer.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Socialist Kristallnacht law brainwashing dins constantly at kids in prohibitionist gun-free zones. The message is that they can shock voters into repealing the Bill of Rights and banning electrical power plants to stop imaginary global warming "if necessary at the sacrifice of our own lives" just like the 1920 platform written by the folks who later passed Kristallnacht laws in 1938. Government school nationalsocialism may actually be turning kids into suicidal sacrificial altruists just like the Saracens.

  • Moo Cow||

    "I like taking guns away early," Trump said. "Take the guns first, go through due process second."

  • VinniUSMC||

    I love when idiots ignore context. Like the latest "Trump calls immigrants 'animals'" nonsense. Learn to read, cow.

  • VinniUSMC||

    I love when idiots ignore context. Like the latest "Trump calls immigrants 'animals'" nonsense. Learn to read, cow.

  • JFree||

    The largest fatality category for children is accidents.

    No it's not. Vehicular homicide is NOT an accident. It is homicide. It is deemed acceptable and we don't tend to punish it because it's only a kid (who has fewer legal human rights) who dies and viewing it as actual homicide would require that adults take responsibility for their actions (which won't happen) and might challenge our worship of car-as-god (which also won't happen). So we blame the kid and fate.

    For non-fatal INJURIES that require ER visit - yeah accidents (falls) are the biggest category - 528,000 ER admissions/year for the 10-14 age group. But non-fatal 'hit by car' are not very different - 516,000 - and should probably be in the criminally violent negligence category. And yeah that dwarfs the 75,000 'occupant of car' - or 49,600 'victim of criminal assault' - or the 6,000 'gunshot wounds'.

  • Davy C||

    "It is deemed acceptable and we don't tend to punish it because it's only a kid (who has fewer legal human rights) who dies"

    JFree, are you suggesting that when a child dies in a car crash, it is punished less severely than when an adult dies in a car crash? Unless you can back that up with hard stats, I'm going to assume you just made it up.

    >But non-fatal 'hit by car' are not very different - 516,000 - and should probably be in the criminally violent negligence category.

    I once saw a pedestrian wait at what was for him a green light, and then, when my light turned green (and his had turned red), he *sprinted* directly in front of me. I had an inkling he might cross at the wrong time because it was weird that he was waiting at a green light, so I was ready and didn't hit him, but if I had hit him, I don't think it would have been criminal negligence (jaywalking isn't a crime in my state, and I wouldn't have been negligent for hitting a sprinting jaywalker.)

    >So we blame the kid and fate.

    Sometimes yes, it is the kid's fault. Drivers should always be cautious (and often they're speeding or distracted), but sometimes a kid runs into the road and there's nothing that the driver can do. Heck, sometimes kids get hit by *trains*, even though the train is following an obvious fixed path and is rather large and loud so you know it's coming.

  • JFree||

    JFree, are you suggesting that when a child dies in a car crash, it is punished less severely than when an adult dies in a car crash?

    Children don't die 'in a car crash'. They are HIT by a 2ton blunt object. Ped deaths of any age are not treated as 'real homicides'. In most states the basic offense is misdemeanor. Aggravated only if the driver was drunk or speeding or violating some other law. The reason 'kid ped deaths' get lenient treatment is because adult peds tend to get hit at night - kids during the day - and 'drunk' is more at night than during day. And if kid is alone then the parent 'shares' responsibility -lowering drivers responsibility.

    Sometimes yes, it is the kid's fault.

    Of course. We accept every excuse that allow us to kill peds and view it as mere accident so we need do nothing. It's why our ped death rates are the highest in the rich world (S Korea is close) despite an almost complete absence of actual pedestrians here.

    It is often a 'structural problem'. But who gets 'blamed' for that? Even YOU are blaming the kid for that. The pedestrian always gets blamed for poor road design, laws that favor drivers, etc. Media coverage reinforces that victim blaming.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Among children aged 1 to 4, motor vehicle occupant injury is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, followed by drowning, fire and burns, airway obstruction injuries (choking and suffocation), and motor vehicle pedestrian injuries. Among children aged 5 to 9, motor vehicle occupant injury is again the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, followed by drowning, fire and burns, airway obstruction injuries, and other transportation fatalities (NCHS, 2001b).

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK220806/

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Pedestrian deaths are treated as "real homicides" when there's evidence they were deliberate, or a result of serious indifference. Rather than a kid running out into the street from behind a car.

    I'm going to assume you're a bit off kilter on the topic for personal reasons.

  • JFree||

    You're really missing the point here. No we DON'T treat it as a real homicide. If we DID, we would be able to reduce it because it is an extremely preventable cause of death. 'Kid running out from between two parked cars' is not a fucking accident. It is a inevitable consequence of forcing (by design) kids, parked cars, and fast moving cars into close proximity compounded by laws that give the entirety of the 'leeway' to drivers. Followed by us acting surprised that the result is ped death rates 2-4x higher than most richer countries. Not because we walk more but because we just don't give a shit because it isn't 'real homicide'.

    To give one example. Any vehicle speed over 20mph exponentially ramps up the collision rate and the injury rate and the fatality rate. This is very well understood by everyone who might be expected to have this info - ER doctors, physicists, auto companies, pols/lawyers.

    The consequence of knowing that? In most countries, the speed limit in a residential neighborhood (where you can't avoid the mix of kids, parked cars and moving cars) is 30 kmh (17 mph). The very ACT of fatal collision puts the burden on the driver to prove that they were normally diligent. Every state in the US has a presumed minimum limit of 25-35 mph (with an 'acceptable' excess of perhaps 5-8 mph). Which means 8x more collisions and 4x more deaths. And makes it possible to blame the victim for their death.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    @ JFree

    Not because we walk more but because we just don't give a shit because it isn't 'real homicide'

    Don't Americans drive more? Would that not be the more relevant metric?

    the speed limit in a residential neighborhood

    Is that where most lethal accidents occur? Is that the only area our speed limits are unusual in? Is the ratio of residential neighborhood vehicle deaths vs. other road category vehicle deaths (eg highway, non-residential urban, rural backroads) more disproportionately weighted towards the former in America compared to other countries?

  • ||

    I'm going to assume you're a bit off kilter on the topic for personal reasons.

    I think the point is that we'll blur the line in favor of innocents in one sense and ignore structural issue that auspiciously could be solved by the government on the one hand while blurring the line in favor of guilt and pit the government on solving freak incidents in another.

    Something between 2 and 8 kids accidentally shoot themselves or each other every month while 50 kids are backed over by cars every week. Not having your gun under lock and key where a toddler can reach it is negligent even if you aren't convicted but backing over a/your kid is just a tragic accident. Nevermind that it happens >50X as often.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Say, how many kids died in the Manchester bombing vis a vis soldiers, sailors and airmen killed in active UK military service in 2017?

  • gormadoc||

    The best part is how being a service member is actually pretty safe, considering how low level our physical occupation is right now. Drone and missile strikes up the ass but we're at least not putting many troops in active combat. The ones who end up there are fairly easily treated.

  • MasterThief||

    I'm surprised this angle wasn't even touched upon. Even though I suspect they under-counted both kids being killed in schools (probably a few killings that weren't mass shootings) and doubt there have been so few military deaths, those numbers are both really low. This could easily be a story on how our foreign engagements have put servicemen at far less risk than even the recent past. Of course every death is a tragedy and we should have a high degree of assurance that children are safe at school. However, the statistics they use don't prove their point and really make more of a case that under Trump our military is facing less risk.

  • Rich||

    "Reinstitute the Draft -- FOR THE CHILDREN!!"

  • Longtobefree||

    And make it gender/sex/fantasy neutral - - - - - - -

  • Hank Phillips||

    So in addition to truancy conscription, an added layer of initiation of force to command involuntary servitude?

  • SIV||

    Why are our children so outgunned? At least give them a fighting chance. End gun-free school zones, re-instate school marksmanship training and equip them with obsolete and surplus military weapons. No would-be school shooter would have a chance against the superiorly-equipped student militia.

  • Echospinner||

    The three year old can shoot magic fireballs from her fingertips and knock her uncle near halfway across the room.

    I have seen it happen.

  • Sevo||

    You want facts? And you're looking at gun-grabbers to find them?
    Well, there's your problem right there!

  • Hank Phillips||

    Someone please tell me this wasn't another "gun-free" zone kids brainwashed into the initiation of force can't seem to resist.

  • Rob5||

    I didn't see any mention in the WaPo piece that for most years, training deaths of service members far outnumber combat deaths.

  • Longtobefree||

    Clearly the best option is to make school attendance a volunteer thing like the military, right?
    Maybe throw in a few weeks of physical training and some marksmanship, and bingo, no worries.
    Add courses in basic and advanced first aid, and in a single generation every citizen will be a trained first responder, and the terrorists will have to cave in.

  • SimonP||

    So, while I don't want to say you're wrong, exactly, I do feel the need to point out that you're minimizing the significance of the number of kids killed in school shootings by comparing them to military casualties. Is that, uh, what you want to be your legacy, in this life?

  • MasterThief||

    It's more that the deaths are being inflated by comparing them to military casualties to begin with. By making the comparison, the reader is led to believe that the actual numbers are very high because it is assumed that service members will have a high number of casualties regardless of what conflicts we are engaged in. WaPo is the one that made the comparison. I still think the bigger news here is how few military casualties there have been this year.
    Now, I also do agree that Robby is playing a game of semantics and reviewing the data in a specific way to make his point (just as WaPo has done.) It goes without saying that a soldier faces a much higher risk of injury or death than a student. On that he is making a dumb point by comparing deaths by either population. The military is expected to face violence while that expectation isn't held for students.
    WaPo deserves criticism for their misleading article full of emotional pandering. Soave deserves criticism because his debunking of the provided statistic does kinda miss the point and avoid considering some obvious differences that should be considered when making that comparison.

  • JesseAz||

    Do you want your legacy to be the naivete that we can end all children death if only we pass enough laws? I don't see you advocating to end private pool construction.

  • Arcxjo||

    If we just go by gross fatalities, pit bulls are the most dangerous dogs.

  • ||

    "Math is hard" -- Talking Barbie

  • Mcgoo95||

    This article is pedantic. Basically, the author is complaining that the title of the article should have been "Twice as many school children have been killed this year than military service men and women." Is that any less worse?

  • Eric Bana||

    You haven't captured what Robby is saying. He points out that the Post headline leads people to think that "sending their kids to school is more dangerous than signing them up for the Army," which is incorrect as explained in the article.

  • JesseAz||

    The point of this article is to point out that the idiots at Washington Post don't know or care for the reasons we normalize statistics when reporting on very disparate population groups.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Based on other Washington Post coverage, I'm going with "don't care".

  • Deplorable Victor||

    I grew up swimming in guns. I started shooting when I was six. We never had these things happen.

    This is entirely caused by two generations of the femifascist war on men and boys.

    Note: These shootings overwhelmingly occur in liberal areas (Yes, Houston is very liberal)

    The upbringings of myself and the people in my little town were far from ideal. I worked like a dog. My mother was a total cunt - if any woman ever deserved that word she was it. She abused me every way a woman abuse a son. Every way but one - she never tried to turn me into a girl… The way the femifascists try to turn millions of little boys into girls.

    Some of the weak ones start thinking they are girls or some imaginary "inter" gender. Some just go mad. Some of them become violently insane. Some of them become mass shooters.

    Blame feminism 100%.

    And frankly, I don't care how many liberal schools get shot up. They are reaping what their elders sewed.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Well, you certainly succeeded in summing up the history of US mental health problems in a single comment.

    Probably not the way you intended to. But still.

  • Wolf Larsen||

    If 2018 is anything like 2016, several hundred children 13-19 have been killed in car accidents by the end of April.

    Looks like we ought to ban cars...or don't Leftists care?

  • MasterThief||

    They're working on it. Trains and buses are their preferred mode of transportation for the plebs because they can then control where people go. Even Ron Bailey is on their side in supporting autonomous vehicles that individuals can't own.

  • Will Seth||

    So, what the Washington Post is really saying is to keep our kids safe, we should take them out fo the failed public school system and enlist the poor little snowflakes in the Marines. hoo rah

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  • Heraclitus||

    So at least imperialism is over. One would think the WAPO would be celebrating the lack of soldier deaths. This is a classic case of drumming up fear for the sake of sales.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I bet you could stop almost all shootings within a year if you could convince these kids they would have a good life with good earning prospects, upward mobility, good sex, and the freedom to do the things they enjoy.

    Contrast that to the actual message that most of the shooters have probably heard all their lives.

    If I were convinced that the future held what the media incessantly portrays, I'd probably be considering a grand exit.

  • skunkman||

    This isn't about school shootings or guns or education or taxes or politics. It is about worship of ideology to a level that justifies telling and supporting lies as long as it furthers your view of the world.

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