Op-Ed: America's increasing moral panic over active shooters is overblown and counterproductive

Active shooter situations have become the latest moral panic. FBI data and news coverage blow attacks out of proportion, causing us to fear the rarest of events.

Reports that there was an active shooter barricaded inside an Ohio military hospital Thursday sent employees scurrying for safety as teams of first responders rushed to the scene. News of the crisis spread quickly throughout the national media and the Twittersphere. By the time officials gave the “all clear,” it became apparent that a planned active shooter training exercise had been mistaken for the real thing.

Although actual active shooter events can be devastating, the level of fear associated with this modern-day boogeyman is out of control, leading to countless false alarms...

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Of course, anyone who sits in a classroom or at his desk at work, or who visits a shopping mall or restaurant, faces the possibility of confronting an armed assailant. But the likelihood is akin to that of being killed by lightning. 

How did we get to the point where the term “active shooter,” a relatively recent addition to our lexicon, reflects a menace of intense concern?

Click here to read the entire op-ed at USAToday.com.

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