- Politics and Social Issues
Brief of the History and Analysis of US School Violence Statistics
Newtown School Shooting
Ever since the Pontiac Rebellion of July 1764 to the recent Newtown, Connecticut school shooting there have been hundreds of reported school shootings, bombings, and attacks on this nations educational institutions.
After about several hours and looking through close to 200 if not more cases of violence in school systems throughout the world I was very interested in finding out data behind all these violent acts. I took 200 cases of school violence and compile all the data to formulate the following:
As you can see it's relatively even along the year with the number per month. I did find interesting that all the way up until the University of Texas shooting August had no incidences reported in the few hundred years that I've looked up.
Most notably I took the cases and broke them down into the states that they were committed in, New York had the highest with 29, California had the second with 17, Pennsylvania and Michigan tied with 11, Illinois had 10, and fortunately the following states had single digits. Colorado and Texas had seven, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee had six, Indiana, the Carolinas, Ohio, and Virginia had five, and 33 other states and countries have four or less. Take note I took Scotland, Yemen, and Canada as three independent cases.
What was interesting about this model is that I had no control over the 200 cases that I looked up I researched as much as possible and came up with these 200 cases. I researched a number of websites that had lists of school shootings in the United States as well as other websites that had compared to information on school violence in society. What I've seen from this model is that school violence is increasing but a lot of the school violence that has occurred can be averted by taking proper precautions as well as prevention on having weapons in the schools carried by students. If we were to set up a security system that could prevent and mitigate weapons from coming into the schools then we can cut a lot of these deaths and injuries tremendously.
Looking at these key demographics as well as the percentage of single shooters out there it's safe to say that nine times out of 10 if not more there will be a single shooter in this case. Most of the times of the cases I've read the shooters were students or former students. In a lot of the shootings the past there were a lot of love crazed, stalking shootings with female teachers. I did see in the not so distant past there are still female teachers shot because of relationship issues, divorces, or just the love crazed psychopath that doesn't take the hint. I believe in this case situations can be averted by strengthening security within the schools and overall making a visual deterrent for these individuals that think that they can get in and kill someone. Also it might be advisable for teachers to talk to an individual and let them know of a personal situation like a breakup or divorce so that there can be vigilance throughout the school for these individuals. One instance I did read was on May 12, 1900 in Danbury Connecticut where teacher Lillian Owen was teaching class in her schoolhouse when her stalker Herbert Horton approached the schoolhouse and demanded entry or he would kill himself. Lillian and her students barricaded the door that would not let anyone in. Horton then pulled out a revolver and shot himself in the chest. Situations like this were averted because Ms. Owen thought quickly & precisely to deter that individual from coming in and possibly shooting her as well as her students.
Weapons Used In Shootings
Now that we see demographics of our shooters and when and how it took place we are going to look at the motives of the shooters. The following were taken and broken up into categories as to what I've read in the stories, the facts of the case, and my professional experience as a law enforcement officer to break down some of what was going to these people's heads.
64/200 of these cases were hostile intent, or putting it bluntly their main concern or drive was to get in and kill people.
54/200 of these cases were specifically targeting faculty members. This could mean a disgruntled student or parent that was looking for a specific faculty member.
35/200 ended in a murder suicide.
31/200 was specifically targeting students. This could mean an altercation between students, bullying, fighting, or other circumstances between students.
25 of 200 of these cases were due to an altercation whether it was between teacher-student, student-student, or teacher-family. Altercations can come in the form of failing grades, discipline measures, bullying, or something else that could trigger a negative action. I read in one case that an individual was sent home for swearing in that individual came back and shot the teacher to death. This student was a class a student and for some reason he snapped.
19/200 was accidental discharges. This is when a weapon was handled improperly, there was a lack in safety, and mistakes occurred costing people lives.
17/200 of these cases were due to love sickness, stalking, and out of passion.
16/200 was intruders that came into the school unannounced for no specific purpose.
15 of 200 of these cases were straight suicides. No other students were involved, and most of times there was a note present.
There were a few cases of disgruntled parents, specifically targeting family members, religious and racial differences, and one individual was a copycat shooter that “admired Charles Whitman.”
13 out of the 200 cases were clearly psychological issues.
In concluding this blog looking through all of this evidence data, reading all the stories of tragedy and bloodshed one wonders why? Why wouldn't we stop this from happening? There is so much that we can do from a law enforcement, educational, and safety standpoint to stop three quarters of these shootings. Out of all 200 cases there are 461 dead, and 526 wounded. Now you ask yourself this, if you could stop that deranged ex-husband or boyfriend or idiot from coming into that school to shoot a teacher, or stop that student from bringing in a weapon initially when he walks through the door of the school, do you think that would help? I'll tell you this, it could very well have saved close to, and I'm just guessing here 700 to 750 of those casualties up above. Maybe even more than that because a lot of these incidences could have been averted; by taking the proper security precautions, instituting a fair safety, and security program for our children to learn more about weapons. I learned from a number of weapons instructors and some have even said if you teach your children how to utilize a weapon and if that child were to come upon a weapon or find one in the house they will not touch it. Why you ask, because the reason why children take weapons and play with them is a curiosity of our children. Most of the time that's all you need to do is educate. Thank you for reading this and I hope it helps.