School Shootings, mostly in North
America: 2010-APR to 2018-MAR
Public reactions. Semi-fake News.
Resources for students, parents, & educators.
U.S. Department of Justice may ban bump stocks.
Shooting in Parkland FL -- a game changer.
Major mass school murders, 2010-APR to the present time:
School murders have become quite common in recent years. Below are descriptions of relatively rare instances that involved mass murders. We use the FBI definition of "mass murder" as involving the killing of four or more persons during a single event that includes no "cooling-off period(s)" between the murders. 1
- 2010-FEB-13: Huntsville, AL: Dr. Amy Bishop, 42, a biology professor at the University of Alabama allegedly shot six colleagues in the Biology department during a regular faculty meeting. Three died. She allegedly wounded three others.
She had just been fired, with her termination effective on the day of the shooting. Twenty-four years earlier, she had shot and killed her brother in an incident that was ruled to be an accident. Seven years earlier, she was a suspect with her husband in a letter-bomb case. In 2011-SEP, she plead not guilty by reason of insanity to the school killings and attempted killings.
- 2012-FEB-28: Chardon OH: A 17-year-old male allegedly shot at five students in the cafeteria of Chardon High School. Three died. Some students say that the alleged shooter was frequently harassed; others say that he had a good support network of friends. A prosecutor described the alleged shooter as "someone who's not well."
- 2012-APR-02: In Oakland CA, One L Goth allegedly killed seven students at Oikos University with a handgun and wounded three others. He was found mentally unfit for trial.
- 2012-DEC-14: In Newtown, CT, Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother, stole four of her guns, and drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he shot and killed 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six teachers. He later committed suicide when confronted by police officers. Five years later, a report by the Office of Child Advocate in Connecticut concluded that ther were three factors that "proved a recipe for mass murder." One was cripling anxiety as evidenced by his inability to cope with moving classrooms or loud noises. He spent most of his free time playing violent video games. Also, he had access to guns. 9
- 2013-JUN-07: In Santa Monica CA, John Zawahri, 23, killed his mother and brother at home. He went to the Santa Monica College where he killed a total of 3 persons, and was later killed by police officers.
- 2014-OCT-24: In Marysville, WA, Jaylen Fryberg, 15, killed four students in Marysville Pilchuch High School, wounded one student, and then committed suicide.
- 2015- OCT-01: In Roseburg, OR, Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, killed eight fellow students and one teacher at Umpqua Community College, He injured nine others and then committed suicide.
- 2017-NOV-14: On the Rancho Tehama Reserve, CA, Kevin Neal, 43, killed six adults including himself and injured one student at Rancho Tehama Elementary School.
- 2018-FEB-14: In Parkland, FL, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly killed 17 and injured 14 persons, using an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. It was the ninth deadliest single-day mass shooting in U.S. history. This may have generated a major change in the gun/school shooting culture in the U.S., because it provoked a major student reaction, as described in the rest of this essay.
2018-MAR: Various reactions to the Parkland, FL mass school murder:
Following the 2018-FEB-14 mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there was the usual public outcry demanding increased gun control. Many politicians issued the usual notes expressing their thoughts, prayers and condolences to the grieving next of kin. But, as usual, there was no other significant activity by law makers to strengthen laws. However, this time, there was an additional response from surviving students. Many were angry and demanded that the government do more. Some are pointing out that in a year or so, they will be registering to vote and that action on preventing school shootings is a major political concern of theirs.
President Trump, who received $30,000,000 from the National Rifle Association in support of his 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted his usual message of support for those injured and for the families. But he tried to redirect public focus on the mental condition of the shooter instead of the gun laws. He wrote:
"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!"
Later, at a meeting of some surviving students from Florida, he explained his solution to gun violence in schools: to place more guns in the schools so that teachers and other staff can try to shoot shooters.
Student David Hogg, 17, begged lawmakers in Congress to act to curb gun sales. He said in a television interview:
"We are children. You guys are -- like -- the adults. Take action, work together, come over [sic] your politics, and get something done."
A Stoneman Douglas High School teacher told Anderson Cooper on CNN:
"I feel today like our government, our country, has failed us and failed our kids ... failed to keep us safe." 2
Lacey Wallace, writing for "The Conversation," said:
"On FEB 19, Teens for Gun Reform hosted a "lie in" in front of the White House to demand tougher gun laws. Others gathered in protest outside of the National Rifle Association headquarters on FEB 16. Speaking at the latter event, Rep. Gerald Connolly, (D-VA), argued for an assault weapons ban, universal background checks and closing gun show purchasing loopholes.
She noted that during 2014, 33,594 people were killed with firearms -- almost equal to the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents. Also, about 85,000 were injured with firearms, including almost 10,000 children. Meanwhile, between 1996 and 2013, Centers for Disease Control's funding for gun research was reduced by 96%. 3
A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll 4 found that:
- 77% of U.S. adults felt that Congress is not doing enough to prevent mass shootings;
- 62% felt that President Trump is not doing enough.
- 58% felt that the Parkland, FL mass murder could have been prevented.
- 51% felt that the mass murder could not have been preventing by allowing teachers to carry guns.
- 77% felt that more effective mental health screening and treatment could have prevented the mass murder.
Several web sites captured Nikolas Cruz's profile picture from his Instagram account, which has been deleted:
"Makarov" is the name of a gun manufactured in Russia.
Some sites claimed that the Instagram account was a fake, created after the shooting. However, other sites showed that it did belong to the accused shooter.
Some sites claimed that Cruz is a DREAMer, or a registered Democrat, or was photographed in an antifa t-shirt, or was photographed wearing a hat showing President Trump's campaign slogan: "Make America Great Again." Actually, only the hat/slogan rumor is accurate, as shown above. He is not known to be a DREAMer, Democrat, or antifa supporter.
Robin Sparkman, the chief of the state’s Firearm Eligibility Bureau, told The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commssion that Florida's gun and mental health laws were weak. The state's Baker Act could have required Cruz to undergo a three-day mental health evaluation. However, after the exam, he still could have purchased the AR-15 that was allegedly used in the high school massacre.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the Safety Commission chairman, said that Cruz would have had to be declared mentally ill by a judge or to have been convicted of a felony. Neither happened before the mass shooting. Gualtieri said:
"So many people think the Baker Act is a magic wand -- that the Baker Act cures and fixes all. The Baker Act doesn’t. ... [It] is a temporary custody status for assessment. Rarely does the Baker Act result in any treatment. People think that if Cruz had been Baker Acted that this wouldn’t have happened. That is flat-out erroneous."
The Florida House discussed the school shooting in Parkland. They passed HB 839 by a vote of 97 to 10. It would require all public schools to post the state motto: "In God We Trust" in a "conspicuous place." Hemant Mehta posted a comment on his Friendly Atheist blog on Patheos. 4 Mehta did not seem impressed by the bill. He said, in part:
"... maybe these bipartisan fools finally think they're doing something useful when the truth is they haven't done a damn thing that matters. They're using a massacre to push religion into public schools.
What's on their agenda tomorrow? A rain dance? Replacing health insurance with homeopathic pills? Boosting the economy via dowsing rods?"
HB 839 was referred to the Senate's Education; Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on FEB-28. 5
2018-FEB-23, Governor Rick Scott announced his gun control bill:
It would introduce three gun restrictions in the state of Florida. The bill would:
- increase the minimum age for purchasing any handgun or rifle from 18 to 21 years;
- ban " bump stocks' that convert semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic machine guns, as used in the 2017 massacre in Las Vegas."
- make it possible for school boards to authorize some teachers to carry guns on school premises. 3
- allow police departments and sheriff’s offices to petition a judge to block a person with suspected mental illnesses from owning weapons for up to a year. Extensions are possible. 8
Legislators later added a provision to the bill that would extend the existing three-day waiting period for purchases of hand guns to also include rifles.
On 2018-MAR-05, the Florida Senate narrowly passed Bill SB 7026 by a vote of 20 to 18
State Senator Lauren Book (D) had advocated a ban on AR-15 semi-automatic rifles but was disappointed. She said:
"My community was rocked. My school children were murdered in their classrooms. I cannot live with a choice to put party politics above an opportunity to get something done that inches us closer to the place I believe we should be as a state. This is the first step in saying never again." 6
According to CBS News:
"In addition to the gun restrictions and arming some school personnel, [the bill] would create new mental health programs for schools, improve communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies, create a task force to look at mistakes made during mass shootings nationally and then make recommendations on how to continue to improve law, and establish an anonymous tip line where students and others can report threats to schools." 6
Bill SB 7026, known as the "Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act" was forwarded to the House who passed it on MAR-07 with a fairly close vote of 67 to 50. It was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott (R) on the afternoon of 2018-MAR-09.
A few hours later, the National Rifle Association (NRA) filed a lawsuit in federal court to have the law declared unconstitutional. They argued that 18 year olds are considered adults:
"... for almost all purposes and certainly for the purposes of the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights."
Since the Second Amendment grants adults the right to own and possess guns, then the NRA believes that raising the minimum age for a person to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 violates the Constitution.
Semi-fake news: About the number of school shootings during 2018 up to and including the shooting at Parkland, FL:
According to Snopes.com, the gun-control group Everytown for Gun Safety reported that the shooting at Marjory Stoneman school was the 18th school shooting in the U.S. since the beginning of the year. Actually, there were 17, but not all resembled what the term "school shooting" normally means.
Bernie Sanders tweeted about the 18 shootings [sic] in 43 days [sic].
While there have been 17 firing of guns on school grounds, few resembled what the term "school shooting" normally means:
- Seven were firearm attacks during school hours -- what people normally associate with the term "school shootings:"
- Five were firearm involving injuries and/or deaths.
- Two occurred where nobody was injured or died.
- Two were firearm attacks in schools outside of school hours. One involved an injury; the other a death.
- Two involved guns being intentionally fired, but not aimed at humans.
- Two involved guns being accidentally fired causing no injury or death.
- One gun was accidentally fired causing injuries to four students.
- One was a completed suicide by a student.
- Two were instances of stray bullets hitting a school building, with no injuries or deaths.
Resources for students, parents, & educators:
The hyper links to the following information sources' are not necessarily still active today.
||See our list of Internet web sites which describe how to teach tolerance in schools.
||Center for the Prevention of School Violence has a web site at: http://www2.ncsu.edu/
||"How kids can put bullies in their place without force or violence," Stay Alert, Stay Safe web site at: http://www.sass.ca/
||The Southern Poverty Law Center have two additions to their web site at http://www.splcenter.org: "Responding to hate at school: A guide for teachers, counselors and administrators," and "Ten
ways to fight hate: A community response guide."
||Alvin Poussaint, "Fears about school violence." Tips on talking to kids about school shootings. See: http://familyeducation.com
||Ken Trump, "Violent kids: Warning signs," at: http://familyeducation.com
||"School violence prevention check list," at: http://familyeducation.com/
||"Protecting students from harassment and hate crime: A guide for schools," U.S. Department of Education, at: http://www.ed.gov
||"Keeping schools and communities safe," U.S. Department of Education, at: http://www.ed.gov/offices/
||"Research school violence," at: http://olj.usc.edu/
||"Jonesboro: Were the media fair?," Freedom Forum Online, at: http://www.freedomforum.org/ The
report is available in either an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file or a Microsoft Word file.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyper links are not necessarily still active today.
- "Serial Murder: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators," FBI, 2005, at: https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/
- Briget Read, "The Students Who Survived the Parkland, Florida, Shooting Aren't Interested in 'Thoughts and Prayers'," Vogue, 2017-FEB-15, at: https://www.vogue.com/
- Lacey Wallace, "Why is there so little research on guns in the US? 6 questions answered," The Conversation, 2018-FEB-21, at: https://theconversation.com/
- "Reactions to Florida mass shooting, views of Trump and Congress' efforts at preventing mass shootings," Washington Post-ABC News Poll, 2018-FEB-20, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
- "HB 839: The Display of the State Motto," Florida Senate, as on 2018-MAR-11, at: https://www.flsenate.gov/
- Carlos Garcia, "After emotional debate, Florida Senate barely passes new gun law – here's what's in it," The Blaze, 2018-MAR-05. at: https://www.theblaze.com/
- Ray Sanchez and Holly Yan, "Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs gun bill," 2018-MAR-09, at: https://www.cnn.com/
- "Florida Gun, Mental Health Laws Couldn’t Have Stopped Parkland Massacre," Snopes, 2018-JUL-14, at: https://www.snopes.com/
- Jessie Stephens, "The three things in Adam Lanza's life that proved a 'recipe for mass murder," MamaMia, 2018-DEC-10. at: https://www.mamamia.com.au/
Copyright © 2015 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2018-DEC-11
Author: B.A. Robinson
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