The shooting this week is tragic, bottom line. Two nights ago my friend Kai Yu posted a biting comment about school children laying down their lives for the right to bear arms. It was cutting and sharp and I wanted to share the remark. Crediting Kai, I typed the sentiment myself choosing a gaudy, cheerful hearts-and-sparkles Valentine background for the dark post. By lunch the next day, the comment had been shared 2000 times, by the time we started our evening screening 6000, by the end of the film 9000. At home last night I read through the comments, now reaching into the thousands, ranging from support to anger to crazy. Yesterday morning, long before the post went viral, I had read around social media that there were 18 shootings already this year, then I found this What’s incredible about this number is that even as the Washington Examiner, USAToday, and Politifact had debunked this information early on 2/15, the 18-shootings figure has been re-tweeted nearly half a million times and has spread through a graphic you’ve already seen pop up in your own feed. My post’s comments bear that dark graphic again and again. Before our screening yesterday, as I read some of the more heinous responses to my post, the director said, “you should respond with this.” texting me the same incorrect graphic. The real stats are:
- Nine involved no deaths and no gunshot injuries.
- Two were suicides, with no other injuries (including the one at the closed school).
- Three were unintentional (although one caused injuries)
According to the article, the mis-information is being spread by Everytown USA, the nice people who text you from scammy-looking phone numbers during dinner. I believe in their cause, and I believe in sensible gun-ownership, but hyperbole and false information does more to hurt your argument than help it.