A brief history of school shootings

A police investigator questions students after a shooting at Santa Monica College. Six people were killed including the shooters. (Paul Alvarez)

A police investigator questions students after a shooting at Santa Monica College. Six people were killed including the shooters. (Paul Alvarez)

Since Saddleback College started the fall semester there have already been three school shootings across the nation. Although for Americans this is not new.

The earliest known school shooting happened on July 26, 1764. It was known as the Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre. Four Lenape American Indian children went into a schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, and shot, killed and then scalped schoolmaster Enoch Brown.

After killing Brown the kids continued to murder 10 or more children after. Reports vary on the actual number. Only two children survived.

Children creating and joining gangs seemed to have always started in schools where they couldn’t get along with each other.

“Federal and state statistics tend to grossly underestimate the extent of school crime and violence,” said Ken Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, to the Washington Post. “Public perception tends to overstate it. Reality exists somewhere in between these two, but in terms of actual real numbers, nobody honestly knows exactly where this ‘somewhere’ is.”

The marginalized kids would then start to form groups and either make up their own rules or copycat the more notorious gangs. For example, meet the infamous Jesse James.

Two students at Columbine hug in the midst of the siege. Two shooters murdered 12 of their classmates before committing suicide. (George Kochaniec Jr.)

Two students at Columbine hug in the midst of the siege. Two shooters murdered 12 of their classmates before committing suicide. (George Kochaniec Jr.)

In the 1880s a group of kids heard of a guy named Jesse James and his crew of misfits. The boys decided to go to a schoolhouse nearby to have a secret meeting. The police also had heard about this “Jesse James Gang,” so a few officers went to check it out. The kids saw the officers coming, so they started shooting. Between five to eight kids were a part of the mishap but only two were caught. Among the escapees was the actual shooter of the night.

Then there’s one of the most memorable school shootings in recent history: Columbine. In Littleton, Colorado, two teenage student massacred 12 of their classmates and one teacher before dramatically ending their own lives.

But the most deadly school shooting in the past 20 years occurred at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007 when an English teacher shot and killed 32 people, injuring 17 others. Six more people were injured

A memorial for the victims of the shooting at Virginia Tech. 32 people were murdered and 17 others injured. (Wikimedia Commons)

A memorial for the victims of the shooting at Virginia Tech. 32 people were murdered and 17 others injured. (Wikimedia Commons)

while trying to escape through a classroom window. This is one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history by a single gunman, but another was much worse when a bombing occurred in the small town of Bath Township, Michigan.

Bomber Andrew Kehoe first killed his wife and then blew up their farm . He then continued to Bath Consolidated School. He set off a series of bombs killing 38 elementary school children, injuring 58 other people and then ending his own life. This currently stands as one of the deadliest mass murders in a school distract in the United States.

What went through the killers’ heads? In one instance, a student retaliated against a teacher for a rejected marriage proposal. Other kids might feel like they are being picked on. And multiple incidents where parents thought teachers didn’t have a right to complain about their kid, so they killed those teachers.

Earlier this month, another school shooting happened in the small of Gautier, Mississippi on Sept. 14. The shooter killed his girlfriend in her home and went to Delta State University and killed a history professor.

The public remains unclear what exactly motivated Shannon Lamb to commit this crime. Lamb was found dead Monday Sept. 14 with allegedly self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Amidst so many shootings, questions begin to circle the Second Amendment. While it gives Americans the right to bear arms in order to protect themselves and their families from harm, others challenge its use when so many people are dying.

“There’s no other developed country that looks like this or that would tolerate this kind of violence among schoolchildren,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, to The Huffington Post.

For Sherry Towers, a research professor at Arizona State University, shootings are “contagious,” according to her recent study. When a school shooting happens within two weeks another will occur in a different area.

“What we believe may be happening is national news media attention is like a ‘vector’ that reaches people who are vulnerable,” she said to CNN.

The question remains, what can be done so students can feel safe at school? Do guns need to be taken away because shootings occur? Or is there a way to put more regulations on trying to buy a gun? But does that really fix the problem?

 

 

CNN did a questioner of how to prevent school shootings. They [CNN] had people write in their answers. Here is what was suggested.

  1. Strengthen gun laws. This can help by restricting certain people from buying guns like criminals or those with mental illnesses.
  2. Improve school security. If officers are have a greater presence on campus, people might be less inclined to act upon their aggression.
  3. Cut down violence on the media. Why should the media be allowed to glorify weapons and killings? If it’s not on TV, video games or movies as much maybe people won’t think about weapons as much.
  4. Improve mental health care. Many shootings involve assailants with a mental illness or emotional breakdown. If there is a way to help a person with a disturbed history or someone who just needs to talk, providing the right resources can be very beneficial.
  5. Bolster kids social skills. With the growing popularity of the Internet and social media, people tend to lose many of their social skills. If people spend less time plugged in, future generations might be able to communicate properly.

 

 

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