In a shameful and mind-numbingly insensitive move, CNN has decided that of the 74 school shootings which have occurred in the last 18 months, 59 incidents in which 25 people were killed and 40 were injured simply do not count.
This patently ridiculous conclusion can be found in an article at CNN entitled, "A closer look: How many Newtown-like school shootings since Sandy Hook?" It is within this article that the following rationale is given as to why we should ignore most of the incidents reported by gun control advocacy groups:
CNN determined that 15 of the incidents [gun advocacy group] Everytown included were situations similar to the violence in Newtown or Oregon -- a minor or adult actively shooting inside or near a school. That works out to about one such shooting every five weeks, a startling figure in its own right.Let us stop right here. CNN has just discounted 59 school shootings in which there were active shooters inside or near a school because, well, why exactly? Because they didn't look like Newtown? Because they involved gang activity, or personal arguments, or so-called accidents? Incidents in which 25 people were killed?
Some of the other incidents on Everytown's list included personal arguments, accidents and alleged gang activities and drug deals.
Those don't count?
This is not only absurd, it's infuriating, particularly when it becomes clear that CNN seems to have discounted incidents the network originally covered as school shootings because of right-wing criticism from the likes of Charles C. Johnson and NewsBusters.
There is a growing number of people enraged by CNN's interpretive decision, none more so than a mother whose son was slain in one of those 59 incidents who just published an open letter to CNN entitled, "To CNN, Murders Like My Son's Don't Count." Annette Holt, who is a Chicago Fire Department Battalion Chief, writes:
My son Blair was an honors student. He was the most important thing in my life. And in 2007 a gang member killed him -- and injured four others -- on his way home from school on a public bus with many of his classmates. Blair died trying to save another girl's life. He was just another innocent bystander whose life was cut short because a gun was in the wrong hands.As Holt sarcastically notes, CNN should perhaps be given credit here for doing something no policy maker has yet been able to do: reduce the number of school shootings in America.
But to CNN and other media outlets, murders like my son's don't count. You see, they looked at the list of 74 school shootings and picked and chose the 15 they thought were worthy of mentioning. Their reasoning? Because our innocent sons and daughters are killed by gang members, they don't deserve a spot on the list.
Whenever a gun is fired at school, parents are rightfully terrified. Students are rightfully terrified. Try explaining to a shocked and devastated community that the school shooting it's mourning is disqualified because the gun was fired as the result of a "personal argument."
Kudos CNN, a job well done.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, recently published by Oneworld Publications.