School killings

The second leading cause of death in the 5 to 18 year old age group in the US is homicide. These are school aged children and the first thing that comes to mind are the big names like Columbine and Virginia Tech. But we know there are other school-related homicides that kill only one or two. Moreover there seem to be more of them than we remember from years past. But are there?

CDC, in conjunction with the US Department of Education and the US Department of Justice undertook to find out for the period July 1999 to June 2006. It turns out not to be an easy task since there is no central reporting system for this. What they wound up doing was to search two large newspaper and broadcast media databases (Lexis-Nexis and Dialog) for deaths of at least one student (which might also include nonstudents such as faculty, staff, family or community residents). They confirmed each report using an interview with a police officer or school official with knowledge of the event. Not perfect, to be sure, as there is no guarantee the databases got all reports or that all events were reported in media captured by the databases. But it is probably a pretty good guide to trends and orders of magnitude.

Here is the case definition:

The cases of school-associated homicide described in this report involved the homicide of a student in which the fatal injury occurred 1) on the campus of a functioning public or private elementary or secondary school in the United States, 2) while the victim was on the way to or from regular sessions at such a school, or 3) while the victim was attending or traveling to or from an official school-sponsored event. (CDC, Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report [MMWR])

School-associated homicides turn out to be a tiny fraction of homicides in this age group, less than 1%. The rate had decreased in the 1990s but flattened out and was stable during the period of this study: 116 students were killed in 109 episodes (estimated rate of .03 per 100,000 students). At first this seems wrong, since 15 students were killed at Columbine and 33 at Virginia Tech. The explanation seems to be that Columbine occurred in April 1999, a few months before the start of data collection for this study, while Virginia Tech occurred in 2007, after data collection stopped. The usual victim was male (median age 15, range 6 - 18) and public highschools in central cities the most common setting. The unusual "school massacre" aside, most homicides involved a single victim and a single killer. Two thirds were from firearms; a quarter from knives or cutting; and one of eight by beating.

Most violence that kills children occurs outside the school setting. There are a lot of research and intervention efforts going on but no one seems to have found the key. Homicide rates were down for a while but have recently increased again. Exactly what causes these fluctuations is a matter of debate, but one clear reason is the across the board cuts in community programs, including those for community policing and violence prevention. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's insane idea that arming every citizen would solve problems like Virginia Tech and Columbine is not only idiotic but flies in the face of the facts here: 99% of the killings are outside of schools. For the ones that are (or the mall killings), isn't the problem that students or others have guns, not that everyone doesn't?

Don't mind me. I'm just trying to boost my traffic by saying this. Nothing brings out the crazies like alleging that maybe -- just maybe -- the problem isn't too few guns but too fucking many guns.


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Observing the self immolation of the States from the safety of France, I miss a lot of detail ... it's rather obvious Huckabee's a demented looney, but he actually wants people to own and, presumably, carry weapons designed and intended to kill people??!? That goes waaayy beyond demented looniness ... and this guy wants to have his finger on the button? Yikes!

I fully agree that the answer to the problem is gun control.

It would also be interesting to get some reliable stats on the number of homicides committed by school children, no matter where they occur.

And, BTW, the Va Tech killings wouldn't have been included anyway, since the study only included elementary and secondary school children.

I know it's cliche', but do pencils cause mispelled words?

The problem isn't guns.

When I was a youngster, I had a gun. A couple guns, in fact. I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER considered turning that gun on another human being for two reasons. First, the values installed by my MOTHER AND FATHER were deeply rooted. Good family values and a sense of right and wrong, from a two parent (male and femaale) family. Second, I had a strong faith in God and knew that not only was it against the law, but it was against my faith to do something like that.

We've become so self centered, that individual fulfillment and selfish desire outweighs the sense of "duty" to properly raise children and take the time to teach them right and wrong. We fooled ourselves into believing that mom and dad could both work so they can afford "things" and the kids wouldn't suffer. And that carting the kids to soccer practice once a week counted as being a family and being good parents. We enable unwed mothers by supporting them with gov't programs and allow men to walk away from responsibility with little if any stigmitism. Same with marriage....Instead of working through problems, couples divorce and use the kids as pawns in their game of who can screw who the most.

And along the way, we decided that God wasn't necessary and the values instilled by Faith were a waste of time.

I'm usually very open to discussion and perhaps even changing my mind about something. But this is something I feel very strongly about. Guns are NOT the problem...too many or too few...doesn't matter. We need to take responsibility to raise our children with strong family values, in two parent homes, and nourishing their Faith.

One more thing.......I used to hear that video games were helping to desensitize our kids. I didn't believe it. Then I heard, that during WWI, something like 25% of the soldiers could pull the trigger the first time they needed to. To correct that, during WWII, they had soldiers train, by shooting silhouettes of men. The first time trigger rate climbed to 50%. During Vietnam, they started using more advanced measures for practice (like video games) and the rate climbed to 75%.

There is no question in mind, that many of the facets of our current culture, including video games, movies and TV shows have desensitized our kids. To the point that some of the unspeakable things we see on the news, come far too easy for them.

Guns have been around a long time in this country. But this kind of carnage is a more recent phenomena. Taking a life in urban America for some of these kids is far too easy. And it isn't because they have guns. Like I said, I had guns too.

Guns are NOT the issue. And until we are ready to take on the REAL issue, nothing will change. You can take away the guns, but that doesn't address the root of the problem.

Patch: Guns make a big difference. If you assault someone with a gun (rather than a knife or your fists) or you make a suicide attempt you have a much better chance of succeeding. In fact suicides are a bigger problem than homicides with guns. Guns are a very effective means to kill someone if you assault them. I understand the fascination with shooting guns. I rather like it myself. It's fun. But having so many guns in a society is also extremely dangerous and a public health problem. Just look at the difference in homicides between the US and Europe. If we legalized drugs and got guns off the streets our homicide rates would drop precipitously. That seems like a good trade-off to me. I could still target shoot as a hobby (as they do in Europe) and not worry about being shot. Cars are dangerous too. So we require licenses. Cars don't kill people. Bad drivers kill people. So we regulate driving.

So, yes. Guns ARE the issue.

Patch, with the same argument of "guns are not the problem; people using them are", you should have no problem with North Korea, Iran, Iraq and so on having nuclear weapons. It's not the nukes that's the problem after all.

And by the same token, pornography of all stripes is fine to offer everywhere; it's not the porn, but the people viewing it with salacious intent, right?

Respectfully Revere, I disagree.

Many people take drugs to try to commit suicide. Should we ban drugs? Oh wait...we do control drugs. So that should stop it right? Nope.

Anyone serious about a suicide attempt will use a gun to completion. Anyone more prone to crying for help, will use drugs. Guns are more effective. But really, does that mean guns are the problem? I can't make any type of argument against or for guns with regard to suicide attempts. Honestly, I don't mean to sound cold, but it's really outside the gun control issue. There's really only one way to stop that and that's a complete ban. And even you don't seem convinced that's a good idea.

The difference between societies isn't the abundance or lack of guns. It's about the culture. Just like the 50's was a different culture. How many school shootings were there in the 50's? Kids may not have possessed guns back then like they do now. But it's because it was wrong to have a gun at that age and their were consequences...even if only from the hard hand of their father! There are no consequences today...and father!! It's still wrong for a youngster to have a gun, but who cares enough to really DO something about it. We end up counseling them, to figure out the deeper problem...while all the while, they go home to a empty, uncaring home. And we wonder why they are the way they are?

Your right, cars don't kill people...bad drivers do. And guns don't kill people...bad people do.

Cars do require a license. But can you believe...I saw in my paper the other day that somebody was driving without one. Not only that, but I've heard it happens a lot. And you and I have gone to a lot of trouble to get and keep our license. If people aren't going to do it right, should we ban cars? That would really hurt you and I...wouldn't it? Instead, let's figure out a way to really punish people who don't follow the law!

Furthermore, we regulate driving, but the criminals don't seem to follow the law. Why? we're rounding the corner and heading back to my first post.

I can go with legalizing drugs. I'm with you there.

Again, respectfully,


EXACTLY! I DO have a problem with Iran (and other countries) having nuclear weapons, simply because I don't trust their leaders! They are bad people.

It's quite probable, that up until now, we overted a nuclear war simply because the USSR and the US both had nukes and neither was prone to start something, for fear the other would retaliate. Thankfully, those "people" (or gov't) had some sense of morality.

Most people with guns have that same sense of morality. Iran does not that kind of morality. And just like a bad kid, with no morals, they will use it.

So...we need to get to the root of the problem of why their are broken Godless homes in our society...and we need to figure out why Iranians are hell bent to kill us. Nukes are a little more destructive than guns, but if the proper restraint is used...they are a defensive weapon, not an offensive one. Same with guns in the hands of every American.

I'm not crazy enough to be comfortable advocating every American should have a gun...but I can see where the case can be made.

Porn? My typing fingers are getting tired...but I'm not sure I can make that comparison.


Sorry..that last post was mine...Not Janne's. My apologies.

And really boys and girls the issue here in the US is more like black on black crime. When they do take on someone here in Memphis they have generally failed in their attempts to rob, steal, maim, and rape. We are actively pursuing a law here that will enable a person to cap someone entering your premises with a weapon brandished of any kind. That is if someone comes onto your turf with a weapon you are to warn once, fire second. If there is no time, you are going to be allowed to cap them. They arent coming to say hello when they have a knife, gun or club in their hands.

Seems to me that guns are outlawed in the UK for the better part. But who has the weapons when they capture them? Certainly not the law abiding citizens, its the criminals. How did that all encompassing government control work out for the victims? Not very well I'd say.

As for VTI if even 5 people had been armed in even two of those classrooms, the shooter would have been statistically dead without a doubt. That young gentleman was able to get weapons and all the rules were followed. Secondary to this is the fact that the criminals who should be locked up forever or executed find themselves back on the streets having been "rehabilitated". With that rehabilitation they cant get a job anymore because everyone does a background check now and guess what comes up? So they have no choice but to turn to crime. Is that a failing of government or of the people to simply lower the standards for execution? I believe that on the second gun crime and on the fourth general crime that we should simply wheel them down to the town square every Saturday and have a first class hanging. Bring the school kids as this far outweighs playing on a video game. It shows that there are consequences for their actions. Horrific? Shit yeah but so is getting shot, beaten, raped or carjacked. There is NEVER any accountability in the prison system so we either should shoot them ourselves or hang them.

I rank this right along with cruel and unusual punishment. Try some of that when you are getting mugged or shot yourself. How about watching a home invasion turn into a rape? Huckabee is right about one thing... There arent enough guns just yet to reclaim the streets. We are getting there slowly. Ronald Reagan got shot by a nutcase with a gun. Did you hear him talking about gun control? Nope, not one word.

Janne-We are talking about crime and not national defense. Both are relegated to the column of self defense defense if you count a country as an individual. Bigger toys is all. But there is a major difference between a weapon of mass destruction and a weapon used in self-defense against a single or multiple assailants. You have weapons used in many crimes in Japan..... most of the time with guns. Now how does that happen? Arent guns illegal there? Did anyone tell the Yakuza or Russian Mafia? It must be a failing of government not to tell them.I am sure that if you tell them its illegal to use them there that they'll simply turn them in.

Do we or should we sit back and let government do everything for us as all of our little socialist friends want? We know that in the states where guns are not allowed to be carried that they do such a good job of protecting you. How about a good dose of Communism where you simply work for the state? How about a keiretsu that is only engaged in crime. You join simply because not to join means death. You become a member of the corporation is all. We used to call that the Mafia here. Dont see too much about them any more.

We are afforded the right to keep and bear arms. I keep and bear many. Every time I head to the airport its a calculated risk. There are about 5 traffic lights that I have to stop for and each and every one of them is considered to be a combat zone. The police used to sit and monitor the area with cameras...they were shot out. They sent police cars to sit in the area. Not anymore. They were being shot at. When the criminals have control of the streets it will be done by guns. Guns were illegal in Memphis until 5 years ago when the right to carry was enacted by the State in response to the tremendous number of crimes against the people. Now you see mostly family members and black on black crime being carried out with Russian made assault rifles and Chinese pistols. Those weapons are being brought in from Los Angeles, El Paso and other places. Now that all encompassing government ban on assault weapons did what? How about that law that prevents people from carrying weapons for self defense? Not one damned thing. It just made us sheep for the slaughter.

So, its a toss up as to whether Huckabee's position is valid or not. I do know one thing, that general crime such as burglaries are down, the murder rate is up but over 85% of that crime is being done here by previously convicted felons, car jackings are way, way down. I guess it would be pure conjecture but the criminals know that if they go for a car now they have a 50/50 chance of leaving in a body bag. Same applies for burglaries. You simply are shot in someones home by the owner or occupant. Gun permits have risen to the point that in Shelby County 20% of the people are carrying weapons now. 55% say they have a weapon in their homes.

Now thats in response to what?

Legalized drugs-Revere? Are you kidding me? Half the country tanked on something at any given time? Talk about a public health menace. In your non-sequitur that cars are dangerous thats a load. Cars werent dangerous until you had bad drivers is that what you are saying? So are machines in factories. So do we have bad machines or bad drivers. Pick one. Cars routinely kill people. Design deficiencies, tires blow. I can safely say that we lose a lot more to the road than we do to people who are legally carrying weapons capping some asshole who wants to steal your car. Wasnt it like 50,000 last year who died in car accidents?.. There's the key word...Accident! Someone trying to liberate your money, property or your life is not an accident. And I would say that less than .000001% people who died was from cars being used as a weapon. But it does happen.... So lets outlaw cars because they can be used in anger, a felony, but generally not in self defense.

I guess we can load them up and drop them on North Korea. All Hyundai's, self defense. Quick call Hillary.... Tell her that we need a car ban because there is a chance we might hurt ourselves with them. Suicide? So take the gun away from them and they might use that car to kill themselves. They might take someone else with them though. Lock all the upper floor doors as they might jump. Ooops. Forgot that window.... So lets outlaw tall buildings.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 20 Jan 2008 #permalink

I agree that in some jurisdictions there are far too many 'guns'. However, ownership laws aren't enough.

Up here in Canada, despite decades long, strict legislative controls on handguns and semi/full automatics the easy availability through foreign sources (US, Asia etc) of these kinds of weapons is putting our urban homicide statistics in competition with some US jurisdictions these days. Registration and ownership laws controlling legitimate use hunting rifles seems to be our regulatory focus here while the gangsters who kill with illegally obtained prohibited firearms are rarely caught nor punished for direct involvement in a homicide.

So long as your neighbor enjoys the local non-prescription drug menu and jokes with his work buddies over the good deal he got on the new HD-DVD down at the corner, automatics and handguns guns will be used to protect the business interests of the gangsters who supply him. Whether the gangster is 50 and drives a $200K auto, or is 13 and rides a bike. The strungout addict, highschool psychotic and deerhunter are only misdirection to the greater issue. Social change along with law and order policies may stem the tide but it will take time. In our current culture of 'Darwinian economics' I don't see that happening soon.

As for me, I'm getting an M107 and heading out to the bush to wait out the pandemic.(joke)

To get away from the gun debate for a moment. I would guess that the reason that 99% of homicides of children happen outside school is because the majority of those homicides are carried out by adults. However I wonder if even child-on-child killings are more common outside school than in?

csrster-Not in my back yard it isnt what I would call adults. Its gun packing and dope dealing less than 25 year olds. They wheeled in a portable metal detector into a school last week after it was in session and ran the kids thru the detector a classroom at a time. EVERY room had a gun, knife, slapjack and dope on them. Some had 1/2 of the classroom.

I am sorry but the next Dillon Klebold is just waiting to happen. On one hand I dont want kids to have guns on the other a pistol only shoots as a rule 9 shots. Those guys had 4 propane tanks strapped around a 3 pound black powder charge. If they had been able to get that into the school it would have brought the entire place down. So what do we outlaw next, barbeque's?

No its the parents and they are criminals, raising the next generation of criminals. If they dont interdict this soon it will turn the hood into the Gaza strip. I always hear about civil rights here. Good idea but sucks in practice because your rights are what they say they are on their turf. They wont increase the police powers rights to searches and seizures, so they have to increase your right to keep, bear and carry.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 21 Jan 2008 #permalink

We don't need new laws to combat the gun problems we see in thsi country today. The problem is that we don't enforce the current laws well enough to counterbalance the rewards of illegal gun ownership. Criminals don't care if the gun they have is illegal, they either need it or they don't. If we remove incentives for owning weapons illegally, no one will carry weapons illegally. Legalize drugs, end the retarded War on Drugs, and stop putting people in jail for 40 years for nonviolent crimes. None of this will ever happen of course because anyone who wants a rational solution to the problem is vilified for being soft on crime.

FutureMD: That's a common talking point. But this suggests there is something wrong with the laws as they are that they aren't or can't be enforced. So let's make some that can be enforced and will be. If they are redundant, so what?

MRK - I don't think legalizing drugs (soft drugs) would change people's sobriety any more than it is now. The use of drugs would still be regulated to some extent.

As I said..and others seem to be saying as well...guns are as much a defensive weapon as they are a offensive weapon. The difference seems to be who's hand it's in. Improving family values and knowing God are two major factors (IMHO) which MAKE the difference. At least that's been my personal experience.

If everyone had guns, I think maybe the offensive people would pause before committing a crime to consider the actions of those ready to take a defensive posture.

Again, the real issue is preventing them from becoming offensive. And again, I think it's family, God and proper morals.

If everyone had guns, I think maybe the offensive people would pause before committing a crime to consider the actions of those ready to take a defensive posture.

This is batshite crazy. If some guy, good or bad, thinks I've a weapon and might try to injure or kill her/him, s/he be sure to have a bigger weapon and employ it first. To avoid being assaulted by such a person, I'd either have to have yet a bigger weapon and quicker draw; know the person isn't going to try and assault me (which, historically, means the person is related to me or to someone I know); or avoid the USA.

I've chosen the last option. I live in France. It's very unlikely I'll run into someone who will shoot me, consider doing so, or have the means to do so. I used to live in Ireland, and in England. Both are even safer, at least in part due to having much more strict gun control laws; and in part due to a tradition of unarmed policing -- which is an illustration of my point: The police don't, as a rule, carry guns, so neither do the "bad guys" you are most likely to encounter. (Note most people don't encounter drug dealers, who are the Bad Guys that do seem to carry guns.)

It's also worth noting none of these countries have state-approved murder; i.e., none have the death penalty, another batshite crazy barbarism the USA shares with N.Korea and others of that ilk.

Interesting post, revere, and good discussion everyone.

I have something to add that often goes unsaid, especially following high-profile events like Columbine and Virginia Tech:

The overwhelming majority of the school shootings that do occur are committed by boys and young men.

Likewise, the majority of murders (and other violent crimes like assault and rape) are committed by men. Some might argue that violence is "inherent" in men, that they are "naturally" predisposed to committing violent acts. This is rubbish. Many men are raised to solve problems using nonviolent means. I actually agree with Patch that culture is an important factor in this debate, because by looking at culture (e.g. what we decide it means to "be a man") might give some indication why boys, young men and adult males are more violent than women are.

Revere said earlier that there is no one who has found a "key" to preventing homicides from happening. As a student of public health (and consequently, statistics), it is hard for me to ignore the percentages of homicide, assault and rape (and at least, school shootings) that are committed by males as compared to females. While noting this fact does not provide a silver bullet answer, it does give us an important clue to school shootings that we should consider when coming up with responses.

When considering action that can be taken to prevent school shootings (no matter how "few" there are), we should address both the cultural and the legal sides of the issue. I agree with revere that getting rid of handguns would have enormous public health benefits - particularly among low income populations. But if we don't think harder about how we raise the young men in our society, we will never address important root causes.

kas - Well said. I strongly believe that we need to address the problems of young men and really all kids in our society. Problems that I think could be primarily solved by stronger family values and the teachings of Christianity. I know that's not a popular notion here, but one I hold strongly. And when I talk about teaching Christianity, I'm not talking about strapping kids in chairs and spoon feeding them Bible verses. Nor am I talking about an obsessive religion. I'm simply talking about do unto others...

kas is right...we've got LOTS of problems with our kids and guns in school are product of those deeper seeded problems. Taking away the guns will NOT solve those deeper seeded problems. If anything, it's only a band-aid on a gaping wound.

bif - if you know anything about people of "our ilk" or anything about what I was trying to say, you'd realize that the point of carrying a gun is NOT to use it. It's got nothing to do with how big the gun is for Pete's sake.

Patch & Revere:

Conscience and competency are two sides of a coin to build a strong and healthy society.

I totally agree with Patch that the teachings for young men/women are the key, and the living model of conscience for them to grow.

Sadly, the existing religious educations are not adequate enough.

I personally believe that the recovery of religions is coming and near. Be alert and critical, and be humble and prepared. A sense of chosen-ness?

Revere check your facts. Isn't it true that violent crime, including homicides using firearms, increased in the following countries: England, Canada, Australia after gun confisication programs? Also isn't it true that homicides have decreased in the US? And states with the right to carry have shown the most significant decrease? Isn't it also true that jurisdictions with the most strict gun control laws (example Washington DC) have the most instances of homicides using guns. Isn't it true that states that do not have right to carry laws (Maryland) have the most instances of homicides involving guns (specifically Baltimore City and Prince Georges County)?

By pauls lane (not verified) on 22 Jan 2008 #permalink

pauls: I won't engage in the contentious argument over whether right to carry has increased or decreased or had no effect on homicide rates because that argument has no end to it, only dueling "facts." This is a public health issue for me. It's about saving lives. What exactly are the firearm deaths in those countries compared to the US? I do not believe your version of "the facts" are correct. You believe everyone should have guns. If we had the firearm homicide rates of Europe I'd be satisfied. Many more people would be alive.

Revere: You don't know what I believe. I certainly don't believe 6 year olds should be carrying guns; however, I do believe when that 6 year old grows into a 21 year old adult he/she has the right to choose whether to carry a gun or not. This is NOT a public health issue for you either, it is a thinly disguised anti-gun rant. You admit it yourself with your last paragraph. Tell me Revere what is the 1st leading cause of death among school aged children? Accidents? Suicide? What about the infant morality rate in the US compared to other industrialized countries, now that is a public health concern that you might want to focus on.
"Dueling" facts? I really need to get this straight, 77 children killed by firearms in a 6 year period constitutes a public health issue? As tragic as it is, I don't see the public health issue here. I would suspect that more kids in that age group die in auto accidents EACH year but I don't see you going after autos.

By pauls lane (not verified) on 22 Jan 2008 #permalink

Revere-Not really. Generally speaking you would have a lot more dead people...initially and mostly the jerks that cause the problems. One thing was very evidenced in Katrina and that was that if you are not able to defend your own turf, no one else will. The City of New Orleans is being sued now for civil rights violations because there was only a declaration of a state of emergency and the police stole all the weapons. The FBI is investigating it now as a criminal conspiracy. I refer back to the Constitution which gives us the right to be safe and secure in our homes, and in our person.

Look its a tragedy all the way around but when do the rights of an offender outweigh the rights of the person they are committing an act upon? As far as I am concerned that is never. Will you lose a few bystanders? Yep, do now in the drive by's. Will we lose a few playing with daddy's pistol? Yep, do now. Will the homicide rate go down? Yep, it has been in direct relation to the number of legally owned weapons. Will there be an uptick in suicides by guns? Yep, but be glad they dont take someone else with them. Will kids think twice? Maybe. Will adults? Guarantee it because they know they will have a 50/50 chance in a full bearing society to leave in a body bag.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 22 Jan 2008 #permalink

pauls: Now you are telling me what I believe. I'm not anti gun at all. I used to shoot them. I am anti killing and the availability of guns in the US is dangerous and I, and many of my colleagues, consider it a public health problem. I have been in medicine and public health for over 40 years. How many people have you seen die in an emergency room? It doesn't take many to feel the way I do. Are there other problems? You bet. We talk about them here. But occasionally I talk about guns and then the crazies come out of the wood work.


Only 12 student deaths at Columbine were murdered. The other three were the murder of a teacher and two suicides. But since that was before the study, it doesn't matter.

Also, Virginia Tech is not a primary or secondary school, despite what their rivals might think, so that massacre does not fall under the definition you gave and would not have been included in the numbers.

The mass shooting at a German high school on Friday that left 17 dead, including the gunman.

February 19, 2002 -- Munich, Germany
A gunman killed three people in a rampage. The man started first at the home furnishings company where he had been recently fired, killing his former boss and a foreman. Afterward, he traveled 12 miles to a Munich suburb, entered a high school and shot the headmaster of the school after he was unable to find a teacher he was looking for. He shot another teacher in the face and set off homemade bombs before committing suicide.

June 8, 2001 -- Osaka, Japan
A knife-wielding man killed eight children and wounded 21 people after he forced his way into Ikeda Elementary School. The man was armed with a 6-inch kitchen knife. Seven girls and one boy were killed, most of them first- and second-graders at the private school.

April 20, 1999 -- Littleton, Colorado
In the worst incident of school violence in U.S. history, two students at Columbine High School killed 12 students and one teacher and wounded 23 others. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, assaulted the school with guns and homemade bombs. After an hour-long rampage, the two shot themselves.

March 30, 1997 - Sanaa, Yemen
Mohammad Ahmad al-Naziri, 48, open fired with an assault rifle on hundreds of pupils at two schools in Sanaa, killing six children and two others. A Yemeni court sentenced him to death the next day and he was executed by firing squad a week later.

March 13, 1996 -- Dunblane, Scotland
Armed with four handguns, Thomas Hamilton entered an elementary school in the small Scottish town of Dunblane and killed 16 children, all ages 5 and 6, and a 44-year-old kindergarten teacher before killing himself. Eight other children and two adults were wounded in the attack.

Appalling records! The existence of evil reflects that human beings are potentially evil as well as potentially good.

Has our education system been prepared well enough in dealing with the reality of human existence? It seems that scientific and technological advancements could not replace the part of this problem. We can not blind us even short time.

alex moore

I'm not sure what you are trying to say by that list. If it is giving examples that gun crime exists outside the USA then you are arguing with a straw man. I happen to live in Scotland and after the Dunblane massacre the government banned guns. End of. Since then this has never happened. How many school shooting has the US had in the last 10 years? Well the UK has had NONE.

That is not to say we don't have criminals that carry guns. There is a lot of gang-related death by guns in certain cities over here. But it is VERY rare for someone to injure/kill someone else (or themselves) by accident using a gun; which I believe to be a major factor in the US. I am quite confident that if I am walking down the street late at night, that I will not be shot at. Even if I am being followed or menaced in another way. Sure, I'll be scared, but I'm pretty sure I won't be shot at.

I agree it's people that kill people, not guns. But guns make killing EASIER. It means that kids who don't know what they are doing are more likely to shoot at each other when they get into fights. It means that everyone carries a gun because it makes them feel 'safe'. Well I sure as hell would not feel safe if most of the people around me carried a gun. Especially since they rarely are properly trained in the correct use of one.

This really isn't rocket science. Ban guns and gun-related death/injury will decrease. Yes, criminals will still carry guns. That is because they are criminals, and will be arrested for such and the gun confiscated. Don't go on about your constitional rights, that was written when there was a real fear of invasion and war. And it was to PROTECT oneself, not just to carry it around when there really is no need.

Rant over.

These school shootings were planned. These weren't some shootings that occurred at the spur of the moment. Banning guns isn't going to stop these killings, and Maxi if you believe it does there's a bridge in Brooklyn that needs buying. 10 years without a school shooting in the UK is wonderful, my question is when was the last mass school shooting in the UK before the one in Scotland?
By the way the consitution doesn't GIVE us the right to bear arms, it simply acknowldges the fact that the people have the right to bear arms.
I find it amusing that this discourse is being played out on a blog whose authors sign as Revere. Revere was a member of the Sons of Liberty and that night when the British moved out of Boston Revere was warning the colonists that the Brits were on their way to Concorde to forcibly confiscate arms (guns, poweder, and shot).

By pauls lane (not verified) on 23 Jan 2008 #permalink

But don't you think making guns less available will lessen the likelehood of gun crimes being commited?

All it takes is one decisive action and soon a generation of children will grow up without guns and without resorting to guns everytime they feel pissed off about the world.

I take your point that we don't often have mass shootings. Before Dunblane I have to look back to 1987 when a man killed 14 people and injured 16 more. So maybe that's not a reliable source of evidence.

But jeez, surely everyone would feel safer without guns about?

PS Revere makes it very clear why they've chosen that name. And it has nothing to do with him being part of the Sons of Liberty.

Maxi one of the most dangerous cities in the US is Washington DC. Murders galore. Washington DC also has totally banned guns for years. Feeling safe and being safe are two totally different things. Where I live everyone has guns, I feel pretty damn safe and I suspect I am a lot safer here than lots of other places. I believe you are being a tad over dramatic about "a generation of children, etc." Basically you imply that generations of children have resorted to guns everytime they feel pissed off about the world. That is simply not true. A few kids have resorted to mass murder. How many of those school age children from the ages of 15 to 18 who were supposedly going to school were killed in drug deals gone bang, or killed by competing gangs? These kids have put themselves in danger. Also, I believe the killer in the school shooting in Scotland was an adult male over the age of 18, not a kid. My point about Paul Revere and the reason I love the irony here is the authors adopted the name Revere because he was a member of the first Public Health board. The authors maintain that their stance about the availablility of guns is a public health issue, I doubt their hero ever felt the same.

By pauls lane (not verified) on 23 Jan 2008 #permalink

Ok pauls, I see your point.

So please explain then, why countries with stricter gun laws (such as the UK, France, Sweden, etc) have lower incidences of gun-related death/injury?

I believe violent crime is on the rise in the UK ever since the stricter gun control laws were put into affect. Besides in the UK if you attempt to defend yourself, your family and your property in your own home with a gun, YOU end up getting arrested. Now what kind of BS is that? How can that ever be justified? I am not sure about France or Sweden but I believe both countries are what we call nanny-states. Besides if the French people were well-armed I doubt the Muslim immigrants would feel so free to ramapage around Paris burning and looting whenever their feelings were hurt. They wouldn't feel safe, now would they?
We are getting off-topic. They issue is the availablity of guns in a free society. The editors say they believe it to be a public health issue. I say its a thinly, very thinly disquised anti-gun forum.

By pauls lane (not verified) on 23 Jan 2008 #permalink

pauls said: "I am not sure about France or Sweden but I believe both countries are what we call nanny-states. Besides if the French people were well-armed I doubt the Muslim immigrants would feel so free to ramapage around Paris burning and looting whenever their feelings were hurt. They wouldn't feel safe, now would they? We are getting off-topic."

No, I think you are on the topic you intended to be on. We discuss guns here sometimes but infrequently. We discuss issues from a public health perspective mostly and that is what I do when I discuss guns. This is not an anti-gun forum. It is a pro-public health forum. You have made your views crystal clear now. I have posted them. Time to talk about other things.

I'd just like to clarify some comments I made that I think Patch mishandled a little bit. First of all, I was making the point that boys and young men, not "all kids," are the ones that deserve our attention if we want to discuss the negative health effects of violent behavior, because it is boys and young men who are the ones most likely to behave violently. Boys and young men, who are conditioned to be tough, to solve their problems with violence, to hide emotional pain they may experience, to glorify guns, etc., are the ones committing violent acts. It's not just the gunmen, either. Anyone mildly familiar with the Columbine attacks will know that Klebold and Harris had, for years, been teased, picked on and bullied by other young men who behaved in these conventionally "masculine" ways. I was suggesting, in my previous post, that we look for ways to prevent violent behavior from occurring in the first place and that the statistics provide us a useful starting point. The Community Guide, in fact, has several violence prevention programs that have been proven to work. Speakers, such as Jackson Katz, make the points I am trying to make, more eloquently and comprehensively than I can in this comment. Anyway, all I was agreeing with, Patch, was that culture plays a role in any broad societal issue, of which school violence is an example. I think, though, that to address any specific root cause (e.g. how we teach young men to be men), we need to study and analyze each cultural issue critically, instead of looking for a broad cure-all. In generalizing to "all kids" having "LOTS" of nondescript "problems," you muddled the point I was trying to make.

Secondly, I'm glad that Christianity has made a difference in your life, Patch. I know how powerful the stories in the Gospel can be. But I'd ask that you consider that other religions (or even no religion) can teach, as you said "do unto others." Respecting the fact that there are a variety of religions in the world, and that we all have the right to practice whichever dogma rings true (even if it is atheistic), is a basic tenant of democracy. This right, protected by the Constitution, teaches us to consider that other perspectives can be valid, even if they are in opposition to our own beliefs and that there are often multiple means to a single, collectively desirable end.,2933,504524,00.html

Now Dr. Anderson is in six kinds of hot water because of her "views" on the right to carry and in general keep and bear. In fact, I would be obtaining an attorney to educate her on what intimidation constitutes. I would say at least a civil rights violation. She wont be able to hide behind the "concerns for the students" game. No, this one the University is going to have to handle else they are going to get their wallets cleaned out.

Exercising your right to free speech suddenly lands you in police jurisdiction in CCSU... How appropriate. How very....Democrat!

Yes Revere, they can have my gun when the pry it from my dead rotting corpse. Dont forget the AR, the 12 gauge, the 9mm, the .45. They'll be empty when you take them having expended all available ammunition. Dont get comfortable. You'll you'll have to guess what my kids are packing and whether its worth the try.

You know, the New Orleans PD took everyones guns up during Katrina. They did so without a warrant, without the law on their side and without a legal leg to stand on. Good example of what MIGHT happen if things get worse. Cant have a Constitution and Tennessee, Miss, Arkansas, Alabama and now Georgia have told them that all emergencies will be managed directy from their EMA's rather than FEMA. Wonder why that is?

One thing that is certain...There arent enough police and feds to go around if they ever try to take them. They'll need quite a few of them if they do. The NG and Army would tell our government to go and take a hike if it came down to collection of weapons. It would be like taking a trip into Fallujah. They arent stupid and they know the law probably better than most.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 05 Mar 2009 #permalink