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1927, Bath Township, Michigan. 45 elementary students killed, another 58
wounded by an intentional dynamite explosion.
1996, Dunblane, Scotland. 16
students killed, 10 wounded, 1 teacher dead, 1 suicide by an elementary school
1998, Springfield, Oregon. 2 students killed, 22 wounded, parents of 15-year
old gunman found murdered.
1999, Littleton, Colorado. 14 killed, 23 wounded, 1 teacher dead after an
hour-long rampage at Columbine High School.
2007, Blacksburg, Virginia. 33 dead, 15 wounded, 1 suicide by a Virginia Tech
student in both the dorms and a classroom building.
18, 2011, Puyallup, Washington. Puyallup police
arrested a junior high school student for allegedly trying to recruit eight
students in planning a Columbine-style shooting at a local Junior High School.
are just a few of the dozens of school shootings and massacres performed in the
last century. While some of the numbers are admittedly shocking, it’s difficult
not to wonder what makes kids lash out in this dangerous and extreme manner.
The media will tell us that violent video games, music, and drugs are the sole causes for
school shootings. Politicians will say the same, often using the most current
teen fad as a scapegoat. For example, after the Littleton, Colorado Columbine
Massacre, the then-popular shock artist known as Marilyn Manson was blamed not
only by the families of the shooters and victims, but Former President Bill
Clinton himself. Some people blamed the amount of war and military involved in
American culture. That may or may not be true, but statistics show that there
are on average 11,127 gun-related crimes a year in the United States; the next
most gun-violent country in the world is Germany, at a noticeably lower 381
crimes a year. So what are we doing that is so different from the rest of the
Bureau of Justice reports that there were 1,246,248 violent crimes in America
last year. In 1960, that number was 288,460. What changed? Well obviously the
population has increased, and with that the availability of weapons. The
firearms used by the shooters in the Columbine Massacre were purchased at a
local Littleton K-Mart. More often than not the weapons used in school
shootings belong to a member of the family. This doesn’t mean that just because
your dad owns a handgun you’re going to be homicidal. From what has been
collected by past school shootings, the gunman is almost always isolated and
22-year-old Finnish school student Matti Saari went into the school of
Kauhajoki and shot dead 11 people, including himself. The last thing he said
was: "I hate the human race and the only way out is the use of
firearms." People that knew Saari claim that he had above average grades,
and had few friends. An acquaintance of his told a local news station "He
was picked on, and humiliated in class. He was called names and made fun of.
Many thought he was unpleasant, weird, tiresome and unsociable," they
described. Saari is just an example of the almost-constant characteristic
present in individuals who choose to commit in-school violent acts.
the Columbine Massacre, media outlets over sensationalized the “evil killers”
Harris and Klebold as some sort of sponge for all of the smut and unholy
content in our society. Almost everything became a scapegoat; drugs, violent
music, the occult, war, too much television, video games… Not a single person
stopped to maybe consider the fact that after Harris complained of depression,
anger, and suicidal thoughts instigated by the social alienation at school at a
meeting with his psychiatrist, he was prescribed anti-depressants.
Anti-depressants administered to adolescents the side-effects of these drugs
include increased aggression, loss of remorse, depersonalization, and mania.
Now I have no doubts that what Harris and Klebold was incredibly wrong and
horrific, but one has to keep in mind that these sort of events aren’t
something humans are born with a desire for. In order for someone to be pushed
this far beyond their breaking point, it takes years of conditioning, abuse and
there is anything that can be done to prevent this horrific type of outburst,
we, as human beings, need to get over social stigmas and help others. It can be
as simple as paying attention or listen to someone talk about their day.