The United States is averaging one school shooting every 60 hours in 2018

This afternoon a lone gunman opened fire in a high school in Florida, killing at least 17 people. Police apprehended the suspect, 19-year-old Nicolas de Jesus Cruz, a former student. The warning signs were there. An old classmate described him as a “troubled kid,” who shot guns because it gave him “an exhilarating feeling.” His old teacher said, “There were problems with him last year threatening students.” In fact, Cruz “wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack.”


It’s a disturbing event, and the statistics on school shootings in America are pretty disturbing as well. We’re only 45 days into the new year, and this is already the country’s 18th school shooting of 2018. That’s an average of a school shooting once every 60 hours. Also, it’s double the amount of school shootings, compared to each of the previous three years. (These numbers come from data compiled by Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group. They define a school shooting as any time a firearm is discharged on or around a campus.)


Details are still emerging, but the aftermath of the shooting will most likely follow a familiar pattern. Politicians will offer “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the victims (as President Trump did on Twitter this afternoon.) Gun control advocates will say “thoughts and prayers” are nice, but we need to pass legislation for stricter gun control. Gun rights advocates will respond, saying “this isn’t the time to discuss gun control.” Gun control advocates will say, “Okay, when is the time?” Gun rights advocates won’t respond. Nothing will change. People will forget the tragedy. And then another school shooting will occur, and we’ll go through the whole cycle again.


Last October we witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on concertgoers at a country music festival in Las Vegas. 58 people were killed, and 851 people were injured. In response to the massacre, President Trump said that the U.S. would start “talking about gun laws as time goes by.” That time never came.

Three months later, there was a deadly school shooting in Kentucky. So, reporters asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for a follow-up on the subject: Was there any news regarding the President’s talk of new gun control legislation? “The president believes that all Americans deserve to be safe in their schools and in their communities,” said Sanders. It’s a vague statement of hope virtually identical to President Trump’s tweet earlier today.


It’s sad when horrific tragedies like school shootings become routine. And it’s frustrating when government leaders do nothing in reaction. Judging from the past, left-wing politicians will demand more gun control, in the form of mandatory background checks, banning extreme weapons like assault rifles, and preventing the mentally ill and people on the no-fly list from purchasing guns. Right-wing politicians will say no, because gun control won’t stop anyone anyway, so what’s the point, and the only person who can stop a good guy with a gun is a bad guy with the gun. And some citizens will say, “Those that ignore history, are doomed to repeat it.”