Sheriff Blames Society, Media for School Shooting: ‘The Gun Didn’t Change. We did’

To what extent are we to blame for school shootings?

By “we” I mean it in the collective sense of the word. Our culture, so to speak. Do we with our drug-guzzling, FPS-video-game playing, violent movie-going, mainstream-media watching habits bear some responsibility for school shootings?

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich certainly thinks so. After the shooting at Freeman High School in Washington last week that left one student dead and three others injured, Knezovich shared his thoughts on the matter.

“I carried a gun all my life,” Knezovich said during a press conference. “I hunted. I shot. My friends and I — it’s hunting season back home. When I was in high school, every one of those rigs in the high school parking lot had a gun in the gun rack. Why? We went hunting on the way home.”

“None of those guns ever walked into a school,” he added. “None of those guns ever shot anybody. What’s the difference? Did the gun change? Or did you as a society change?”

“Now, I’ll give you odds that it was you as a society, because you started glorifying cultures of violence,” the sheriff continued.  “You’ve glorified the gang culture, you’ve glorified games that actually give you points for raping and killing people. Gun didn’t change. We changed.”

In another interview, Knezovich was quick to point to the media as being culpable for the bloodshed.

“This young gentleman got sucked into a counter-culture of violence, a culture that is enamored with school shooting,” he explained. “And media, you are to blame for that, cause you keep giving these people headlines.”

“In using their names, you have made them heroes to some people. If I had my way, none of these peoples’ names would ever be remembered,” he continued. “Until we start treating these people for what they are, killers, not heroes, they’re going to continue this violence.”

Have we really changed as a culture?  Is the media fomenting violence with its non-stop coverage of these events?

While this particular event in Washington is not a mass shooting, the underlying suggestion is that high-profile shootings are on the rise.  Are they?  No.  As I noted in my article, “Mass Shootings on the Rise? A Definitive Inquiry.” there are about 21 mass murders per year involving firearms.  That trend has been constant for almost two decades.

It is true that back in the ’70s and ’80s mass public shootings (which are a subset of mass murders, differentiated because they happen in public places, e.g. churches, schools, workplaces, as opposed to a home or residence), were less frequent than they are today but that’s because there were fewer people.  When population growth is considered in the analysis, the apparent uptick from decade to decade disappears.

It’s also important to note that, generally speaking, crime is down.  Violent crime, property crime, and the homicide rate per 100,000 people have all been dropping in recent years.  This, despite the fact (or because of the fact), that we are more armed than ever before.

What does this all mean?  That although things may appear to be worse than they once were, the opposite is probably true.  Society is safer today than it was back then or, depending on the decade, as safe as it was yesteryear.

With that being said, regardless of the era, there have been and will always be crazies out there wanting to shoot up schools, churches, and office buildings.  The only real way to prevent yourself from being a victim is to be armed and vigilant.  Even then, there are no guarantees. But like you and Sheriff Knezovich, I’d much rather take my chances and face a threat with a gun in my hand than without one.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Phil September 24, 2017, 11:31 am

    INTEGRATION is the problem.
    A lot of BAD ideas and bad conduct, were allowed to creep into mainstream society, starting in the 60’s.
    Before that society was MUCH better. People knew the RULES, and followed them.

  • BA September 23, 2017, 5:05 pm

    Studies have shown repeatedly violent movies/TV shows, video games, and other media in which violence is seen/read about are not to blame for school or other violence. Using them as a cop out for bad/no parenting is an age old bullshit excuse. You want to blame someone? Blame the parents for lack of teaching their children right from wrong in the first place.
    Video games, violent movies, etc. alone are not responsible for how these kids turn out – lack of actual parenting and proper role models are.

  • Greg September 23, 2017, 12:43 am

    You would not know it by reading the MSM, but this is THE FIRST school shooting in 2017 and THE FIRST in 12 months where a student walked into a school with a gun and murdered another student. The total body count for 2017 is ONE. The left will argue that ONE is too many and something has to change. I would argue that while ONE is too many, it’s so close to zero that changing the laws for 330,000,000 people is not going to change the outcome. It’s NOT an epidemic as the media would have you believe, and I would guess more students are killed by falling down staircases than other students with guns. the annual number for people killed falling down stairs is closer to 1600, and schools have lots of stairs.

  • Mike H. September 22, 2017, 5:09 pm

    I totally agree with the Sheriff! The so-called news media is 99% of the problem! They’re a Joke! Watch the morning Crap! They will have one segment concerning a natural disaster and then the very next is about some so-called celebrity having a sexual identity crisis. They don’t report the news,they try to create it! I have a friend that I used to hunt and fish with. Now his main occupation is Grand Theft Auto-a video game! He’s like a Junky when he has the control in his hands and has a fit if he has to put it on hold for whatever reason. What a crazy world we now live in!

  • Sly September 22, 2017, 3:02 pm

    A child has to learn everything they know, if you teach violence, that’s what they will know and think. A man is the sum total of what he thinks. If a 17 year old have nothing but violent video games, Action movies, family violence, School violence, that’s the mentality that come with his teaching . All he has been taught is violence and one day he will act out. We have certainly changed. If its not violent and a attention getter the media don’t want to broad cast it. Bad news gets all the attention, They will broad cast one positive article and five negative articles because that’s what the public want, 10 black crrimes, one white crime. It is more profitable to broad cast Black news because of violence that come out of their neighorhoods, to keep their spirit broken and there reputation as terrible people in the United States. The same amount to whites do the same crime but never in the media, it don’t get attention. So whatever is more profitable is what they do. Society will always change, change is inedible but its money that make the decision whitch way it goes, up or down. It is more money for Hollywood, and they control what we hear and thing see, in violence than Romance. Hollywood has made it profitable for men to be women and women to be Men, that’s where the money is today. If Your President has a violent disposition, so will his supporters. If violent Organizations is put on a pedestal, The KKK, The Alt-right, The Confederate, the Nazi, The White Supremacy, ANY Black Organization, because whatever they have is SAID to be illegal and against White principles. We will always have violence

    • Len September 22, 2017, 10:46 pm

      It must be hard to be racist and delusional at the same time.

  • Pat J September 22, 2017, 1:16 pm

    I just hate it when LEOs refer to bad guys as “gentlemen”.
    This twisted little prick was no gentleman. Speak accurately.

  • Brian September 22, 2017, 11:06 am

    If it bleeds, it leeds. The media’s basic story line. The more viewers,the better ratings, more money for commercial time. It’s all about MONEY to them.

    • ron September 22, 2017, 3:02 pm

      MSM is going to excoriate this guy for his “insensitivity.”

  • Ram6 September 22, 2017, 10:15 am

    “Until we start treating these people for what they are, killers, not heroes, they’re going to continue this violence.”
    That is a most telling statement. Every time there is a shooting at a school or workplace their is, on the part of the media, a rush to find some headshrinker somewhere who can opine about the reason this person took up a firearm and committed a mass murder. Instead of condemning the action they spend countless amounts of air time trying to find the justification for the poor, unloved, isolated, bullied, blah, blah, blah individual. It may not make them into a “hero” but it certainly gives them exposure and paints them as sympathetic.

    It’s about time A. we refrain from searching for the “root cause” of this person’s motivation and B. totally eliminate any reference to their background, history and most of all the constant exposure of their name and pictures. Instead portray them as the unrepentant and irredeemable scum that they truly are. Might not eliminate all of these acts but it would go a long way towards implanting the thought for anyone that contemplates this as a response to some slight that it’s not going to make them a long remembered sympathetic individual.

  • Paul September 22, 2017, 10:10 am

    Sorry but school shootings re not new. In 1967 at Bay Shore High School in New York L.I. a teacher was killed by a student. This student went home and came back with a shot gun to kill African-American students. There were no cell phones no Internet and the only video game was Pong. Racism and hatred have always existed and those are the real reasons!

    • Phil September 24, 2017, 11:34 am

      ONE shooting, back then, hardly compares to the HUNDREDS per day – NOW.

  • Infidel762x51 September 22, 2017, 8:00 am

    I didn’t know there was anyone left in WA with un-common sense. We can’t call it common sense anymore because it doesn’t seem to be very common.

    • JoeUSooner September 22, 2017, 10:45 am

      “Common sense” is only common to those who actually HAVE it… and not one single socialist/liberal qualifies!

  • Bill September 22, 2017, 7:14 am

    Well good for you. All you did was take a few talking points and attempt to disprove all of his claims as to not why, but who, is to blame, probably because you know he is probably right. Movies, music, and a host of other aspects of this crap have been glorified and promoted. The entity respinsible has been turned into a victim and the INANIMATE OBJECTS used have been vilified and turned into the “real” culprit.
    Damn man, whos side are you on anyway?

  • Andy Buckmichael September 22, 2017, 7:13 am

    Finally, there is one cop with some intelligence in this country.

  • Richard Hilton September 22, 2017, 6:36 am

    I have been saying the same thing for years. But anytime I mention it people tell me I don’t know what I am talking about. I am glad to see that others see the reality about the problem. The entertainment industry is our biggest problem lack of censorship on the amount of violence the force feed us and our children is the man cause of the increase of the everyday violence we now live with. And or news media doesn’t help with the need to run their if it bleeds it leads B.S. giving all the people the celebrity they seek in the news. And a lack of punishment that scares the hell out of these kids doesn’t help. Revolving doors on some of these county jails minimum sentencing and a slap on the wrist isn’t making these people realize what they are doing isn’t acceptable.

  • TRUBRIT September 19, 2017, 8:30 am

    The Sheriff nailed it on all points. Been saying the same thing for years. We were strict with our kids in what they were allowed to watch and what games they were allowed to play. As they got older the restrictions were relaxed, in relation to the growth of their knowledge and intelligence.
    I do however disagree with the assumption that crime is on the decline. Tell that to the people in Peoria, Chicago, Baltimore, Long Island. I believe violent crime has become more concentrated in certain areas and has reduced in others. What factors cause this should be looked into. Just playing with a bunch of numbers and producing a Report gives a false sense of security. The current selfish society we live in is a problem and no amount of statistics on this and that will change that. Once we accept the facts maybe we can set about making the change. Gun control is not the answer, Education is. Education on all things, especially World History and Geography. The two are combined and IMHO are not taught in enough detail in schools. There is a reason why American schools lag behind the rest of the civilized World. This is a fact.

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