PolitiFact Wisconsin: School shootings in the U.S. compared to the world

Posted at 8:37 PM, Feb 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-16 21:37:36-05

The school shooting in Florida has once again started a debate about how often they happen in the U.S. and why?

But when looking at the number of school shootings, PolitiFact Wisconsin says there are a couple of caveats.  

A Tweet by political analyst and UW Madison graduate Jeff Greenfield generated more than 130,000 likes.

"In the rest of the world, there have been 18 school shootings in the last twenty years. In the U.S., there have been 18 school shootings since January 1," the Tweet read. 

"The only way to get to 18 in terms of schools shootings in the U.S. this year is by using broad definitions," said Tom Kertscher with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

That definition includes everything from mass shootings to gunfire in a school parking lot.

"So that includes not only mass shootings like the one in Florida," said Kertscher, "and instances where there is gunfire outside of the school, maybe in the  parking lot - even accidental shootings and suicides."

PolitiFact Wisconsin says there have been three mass shootings this year in the U.S.

As for the 18 school shootings over the last 20 years in the rest of the world, PolitiFact Wisconsin says there's no way to know.

"There is research to indicate that there is more gun violence generally in the U.S. but there's no count of school shootings around the world using that broad definition," said Kertscher.

About 24 hours after posting the tweet, Greenfield took it down. 

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim Mostly False.