The NRA got ahead of the facts on Tuesday, attempting to spin a deadly shooting at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County, Maryland as an example of why militarizing schools is a good thing.
“It’s clear that [Great Mills High School] officer saved lives. Where’s the wall-to-wall coverage of that,” the NRA TV account tweeted, quoting NRA personality Grant Stinchfield. “This story is proof, when something doesn’t fit their anti-gun, anti-freedom narrative, the lying
#MSM simply doesn’t cover it.”
"It's clear that [Great Mills High School] officer saved lives. Where's the wall-to-wall coverage of that…This story is proof, when something doesn't fit their anti-gun, anti-freedom narrative, the lying #MSM simply doesn't cover it."
—@stinchfield1776 #NRA pic.twitter.com/wfo9pghp9b
— NRATV (@NRATV) March 20, 2018
NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch shared a Daily Caller story pushing the same talking point and framing the incident as a possible “win for Trump.”
NRA TV followed up with a tweet featuring Loesch accusing the media of ignoring the Great Mills High School shooting because “they do take issue with defending our most vulnerable and our most innocent.”
"This [Great Mills High School] armed school resource officer, you're not hearing anyone in #MSM talk about it because it disrupts their narrative…They do take issue with defending our most vulnerable and our most innocent and as a mother I will never understand that" —@DLoesch pic.twitter.com/ZidUzaWLmD
— NRATV (@NRATV) March 20, 2018
The NRA’s talking points are misleading on at least two levels.
First, it is not the case that the Great Mills High School shooting was ignored by the media. As of this story’s publication in the early afternoon on Tuesday, the high school’s name was among the top trending topics on Twitter. The story was also extensively covered by all three of the major cable news networks on Tuesday morning, as well as by major print outlets.
Second, it’s unclear whether the presence of an armed guard actually “saved lives” at all. A statement by the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office noted that after the shooter fired at a female student, and the resource officer fired back at the shooter — at which point the incident ended. Authorities did not confirm, however, that the resource officer’s shot hit the gunman.
Despite what the NRA would have you believe, recent history indicates that armed guards aren’t a surefire way to prevent school shootings. The presence of an armed guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, for instance, didn’t prevent an AR-15 wielding gunman from killing 17 people there last month. And yet the NRA and Trump have responded to that deadly incident by pushing for militarizing schools and arming teachers.
The NRA isn’t the only right-wing organization getting ahead of the facts in order to push a pro-gun agenda following the Great Mills High School shooting. Both Breitbart and the Daily Caller published stories that portrayed the incident as one in which a “good guy with a gun” stopped a bad guy, despite it being unclear as to whether that’s actually what happened.
In general, research indicates the “good gun with a gun” myth is just that — a myth. A comprehensive study by the Violence Policy Center found guns “are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes.” In 2012, “for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides,” researchers concluded. Another study by the University of Pennsylvania found that someone carrying a gun is “4.46 times more likely to be shot in an assault.”