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The Hidden Legacy of Columbine: Ignorance About School Violence

On another National School Walkout day, 57 percent of teens are worried about dying in a school shooting. They shouldn't be.

Walk outPaul Hennessy/Polaris/NewscomToday, on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, students around the country skipped classes as part of a National School Walkout to protest gun violence.

This is the latest attempt by survivors of the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, to keep the public focused on school violence and on the various gun control proposals they believe would deter it. Invoking Columbine is meant to remind people that such attacks have been happening for decades, and to imply that this is because national leaders have continually failed to implement solutions.

But Columbine should teach us a different lesson: The press, the public, and policymakers are often ignorant, and doing the wrong thing can be just as counterproductive as not doing anything. In the wake of Columbine, so-called experts completely misdiagnosed the causes of the crime, and they decided to implement "safety" policies that gravely undermined students' rights without making schools any safer.

On April 20, 1999, two teenagers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, marched into Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, and murdered 12 students and one teacher. They had planned to use explosives to kill many, many more, but their bombs failed to detonate.

Desperate for answers, the media quickly seized on "bullying" as its preferred explanation: Harris and Klebold were unpopular kids who had been brutally mistreated by their classmates, until finally they snapped and decided to shoot up the school as an act of revenge.

The journalist Dave Cullen has done excellent work debunking this and other myths associated with Columbine. No, Harris and Klebold weren't notably victimized by bullying. No, they didn't want revenge on specific students—they didn't specifically target jocks, Christians, popular kids, or any other group of students during their rampage. No, they weren't part of a cult. Neither comic books nor violent video games nor goth culture were responsible for the attack.

Harris, according to Cullen, was a true psychopath: He enjoyed hurting people because he hated them and thought himself superior. Klebold was depressed and suicidal, and he largely followed Harris's lead. As Cullen wrote in Slate many years ago:

What [Harris] was really expressing was contempt.

He is disgusted with the morons around him. [His diaries] are not the rantings of an angry young man, picked on by jocks until he's not going to take it anymore. These are the rantings of someone with a messianic-grade superiority complex, out to punish the entire human race for its appalling inferiority.

These distinctions might not seem like they matter much. But partly because of these fundamental misunderstandings, nationwide efforts to stamp out bullying intensified after Columbine. At the same time, zero tolerance policies—already growing more prevalent in the years immediately prior to Columbine, thanks in part to the 1994 Gun Free Schools Act—became even more popular, giving schools all sorts of means for expelling problematic, "bullying" kids. It's no wonder that by 2006 the school suspension rate was double what it had been in the 1970s. These trends were already underway before Columbine, but the massacre made them seem more necessary and intensified the push for them.

Schools also continued to employ more and more school resource officers to police hallways and classrooms. The federal Community Oriented Police Services office doled out hundreds of millions of dollars from 1999 to 2005 so that schools could hire cops. Columbine is not solely responsible for this, but the public's massive, sudden post-Columbine terror about violence in schools ensured that SROs and zero tolerance remained popular. This terror was largely unjustified, given that school violence—like most kinds of violence—was falling over this time period. But these policies were anything but harmless: Students have increasingly had to endure prison-like conditions.

Ignorance about the relatively low likelihood of school shootings is just as widespread today. I spoke with dozens of kids at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., last month. Many told me that they were afraid of dying in school. According to the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of teens are worried about a school shooting. Here's how Vox highlighted this news:

A majority of American teenagers are now worried about being the victim of a school shooting—something that is no longer an uncommon occurrence in the United States.

But this is wrong. School shootings are no more common than they used to be, and might even be less common.

The media's exhaustive reporting on school shootings might make them seem more common, or especially deadly: The Washington Post recently reported that "in 2018 alone, there have already been 13 shootings." But many of those were accidents—a gun going off by mistake—and in nine of the incidents, no one was killed. Columbine-style violence remains blessedly rare.

Such widespread ignorance about school violence should make us skeptical that tragedy will inspire good public policy. It's certainly worth having a discussion about whether there are specific policies that might reduce gun deaths—particularly the most common kinds of gun deaths, which are suicides, not school massacres. But anyone making such a proposal must reckon with the fact that since the '90s, as it has become easier for most Americans to obtain a gun, America has become safer for both adults and kids.

Photo Credit: Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    Caption contest: "Honk! Honk!"

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Shelley (Seen here in yellow) thrashed all opponents in today's "Who can open their mouth the most" competition.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yet BUCS still went home with his medal for bravery, which was meant for the girl that would be able to accommodate his huge, twice-circumsized penis into her oral cavity.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    My penis may have been circumcised twice, but it is a completely normal size.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Aren't you a really big dude?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Yes. I'm really tall. I'm not actually a 7'x7'x7' cube. But I am 6'8''

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    See? I was just assuming you are proportional.

  • Hugh Akston||

  • PuddingHead||

    Seems about right.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    What a huge turn out. There are more Baldwin brothers in acting than protesters in that picture.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    The teacher(?) in the back with the Dasani bottle she secretly refilled with vodka has the right idea.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    If I squint I can sort of see a cigarette between her knuckles, probably not true but I'm choosing to believe it.

  • Procyon Rotor||

    With hair that color? Nah, that girl's just soothing her throat, which is raw from all the screaming she was just doing and is shortly about to resume.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    You already posted this, and i didn't click your links then, either.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Thanks!

  • ||

    Then I'll let you'll go back to your juvenile antics in peace.

    Surely, if you'd frequented these forums with any regularity, you'd know all of our antics are at least 18 yrs. of age.

  • DJK||

    Dude, you guys managed to avoid the NCAA death penalty, get your scholarships back, and even get Saquon Barkley. Your program should never have been allowed to survive. Quit while you're ahead.

  • Eddie1975||

    I'm gonna pass. You didn't really tell me what to expect, content wise, and I don't have time for apologias.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    If they don't cover this story, make sure to throw a tantrum, start your own site, and then keep coming on here to recruit people to your site.

  • DJK||

    I especially want to know how I can pay no income taxes while avoiding federal prison.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I'm more interested in learning how to maximize my freedom in every aspect of my life while respecting the fact that Bush did 9/11. Preferably in song format. YARR

  • GILMORE™||

    Is the technical term for this, "Blogpimping"?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Blogpimping ain't easy, but it's necessary.

  • Eddie1975||

    That'll work.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • ||

    Reposting less timely but more relevantly:

    Does anyone else find the whole "19th Anniversary Of Columbine" exceedingly morbid and grotesque? Like it borders on sanctifying or even celebrating the shooting? I certainly get that it was a tragedy, but we weren't exactly targeted as Americans or even really as HS Students. We don't observe the 19th Anniversary of Waco, Oklahoma City, or Ruby Ridge. Dozens of Church fires and shootings won't be observed and nobody's going to remember Eric Garner or Freddy Gray in a couple of scant decades. Even 9/11 hasn't generally been solemnized on seemingly random years and it's usually referred to as the memorial or remembrance on the anniversary rather than just the anniversary.

    Like saying it's OK to stand on people's graves and piss on your enemies because you're not actually pissing on the graves.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Even 9/11 hasn't generally been solemnized on seemingly random years and it's usually referred to as the memorial or remembrance on the anniversary rather than just the anniversary.

    Hogg's cell phone hasn't been ringing as much lately... we're trying to keep the momentum going.

  • ||

    On thinking about it again, you know what just popped into my head? Fred Phelps and the nutty crew at the Westboro Baptist Church.

  • plusafdotcom||

    Yep... strong resemblance, both in style and intellectual content... [not much.]

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I mean, I guess I find it morbid and grotesque if I think about it. But it's so expected by me at this point that my cynical self just chalks it up to normal bullshit.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    It's not like there weren't school shootings before Columbine. What made the whole incident stand out was 1) the lengths to which Klebold and Harris went to plan out their act (thank goodness they were such shitty bomb makers, or the gun deaths would have been seen as a pittance by comparison), 2)) the fact that law enforcement took so long to enter the school, which increased the carnage and led to changes in how police were supposed to engage school shooters (lessons that obviously didn't make it out to Florida and the Broward County sherrif's office), and 3) it happened in a white-bread suburban community rather than the ghetto, so of course it sparked a national conversation about bullying in schools that led to the increasing use of "no tolerance" policies. In that sense, it's considered a cultural watershed.

    And yeah, this "Columbine anniversary" shit is morbid as hell.

  • GILMORE™||

    "" students around the country skipped classes""

    #SoBrave

  • soldiermedic76||

    None of the kids in my children's school attended class today. Of course it was a scheduled day off, but I wonder if they will get counted as one of the school walkouts? As if any teacher in Northeast Montana would let their kids walk out for gun control.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'm losing track of all the outrage causes.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Ignorance About School Violence was Tony's nickname in juvie.

  • ||

    I spoke with dozens of kids at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., last month. Many told me that they were afraid of dying in school.

    Meanwhile, real kids in real danger are afraid of dying at school, on the way too and from school, at home, at the park...

    I do miss the days when the No. 1 and No. 2 fears among HS kids was getting (someone) pregnant and substantiating fear No. 1 without getting caught.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    And yet it's not a particularly real fear.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Hell, the girls in these schools are still more likely to get knocked up than to go through a school shooting, even the uggos.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Seems like it's mostly lonely uggos. Which is just overall depressing to me.

  • BambiB||

    If students are afraid of being shot, maybe they should be terrified of bicycles and school buses.
    Here's an idea: Get rid of school buses - because they're so "dangerous". Instead, make all the students WALK to school. Let them know this is a direct result of us taking their activism seriously and eliminating a danger that is 12 times more of a threat than school shootings. Not only would taxpayers save a buttload of money, but the little urchins might learn a lesson.

    Annual Deaths by Cause of Death
    (Average per year, or most recent year for which data could be found)
    Heart Disease : 614,348
    Cancer : 591,699
    Falling down : 556,000
    Medical Malpractice : 250,000
    Respiratory disease : 147,101
    Alcohol: 88,000
    Suicide : 44,962
    Suffocation : 35,600
    Car crashes : 32,166
    Drowning : 3,536
    Fire : 3,362
    Bicycle Accidents : 818
    Bus Accidents : 295
    School Bus Accidents : 138
    Heat or Drought : 112
    Thunderstorm, fog, hail, wind : 107
    Winter Weather : 103
    Flooding : 80
    Tornado : 66
    Lightning : 65
    Drowning (in 5 gallon buckets) : 27
    Coastal (storm surge, rip current) : 13
    School shootings (since 1999 Columbine) : 12
    Hurricane or Tropical Storm : 9
    Earthquake, Tsunami, Volcano : 9
    Mass Movement (avalanche, landslide) : 5
    Terrorism (in the United States) : 5
    Wildfire : 2
    Shark attack : 1

  • plusafdotcom||

    Thanks, BB... copied, commented and shared to my FB page, just to educate the mathematically- and 'logically'-challenged high school kids of today (and piss off as many snowflakes as possible!)

  • Hugh Akston||

    Do they teach statistics in high school?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    They did at my school 20 years ago, but it was an alternate math AP credit for the handful of us who weren't mathematically inclined enough to want to do the calculus track.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It was weird. At my school (so about 10 years ago now) AP Stats was AFTER AP Calculus. So it was only for the students so fast tracked that they basically skipped a year of math earlier.

  • DJK||

    We had the same thing at my high school. Stats was only taught in AP and you had to take calculus first.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ignorance about the relatively low likelihood of school shootings is just as widespread today.

    If the entirety of the Fourth Estate wasn't huge proponents of gun control, we might have honest reporting on the subject. But ginning up fear/anger to push an agenda is what passes for journalism.

  • gormadoc||

    Typical Liz Wolfe article.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    (snort)

  • gormadoc||

    Every time you do this now I'm going to imagine that you're in a furry roleplay act. I imagine you're a horse-kin, or whatever they're called.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    What, a brony?

  • gormadoc||

    You know, that works for me.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    [golf clap]

  • Alcibiades||

    The schools around here just said any unexcused absence from class will be dealt with by the usual disciplinary sanctions, which is the correct approach to take in my opinion.

    Cullin's book on Columbine is excellent, and, as Robby stated in his article, showed how basically all the initial reporting of the shooting by the mass media was just plain wrong.

  • Banake||

  • Brandybuck||

    ""Desperate for answers, the media quickly seized on "bullying" as its preferred explanation: Harris and Klebold were unpopular kids who had been brutally mistreated by their classmates, until finally they snapped and decided to shoot up the school as an act of revenge.""

    Nope. What the media quickly seized on was that these were unpopular asocial nerds. And so unpopular asocial kids got branded as potential mass murders for a couple of years. By the media. By the schools. Slightly asocial? Slighly neuratypical? Get branded as a threat.

    IT STILL HAPPENS.

    After every incident since Columbine there has been hand-wringing that no one recognized the signs. Why did not one report the guy who kept to himself? Why did no one report that guy who who wore anime shirts and played video games and never signed up for sports? Why did no one report the weirdo?

  • DJK||

    "After every incident since Columbine there has been hand-wringing that no one recognized the signs. Why did not one report the guy who kept to himself? Why did no one report that guy who who wore anime shirts and played video games and never signed up for sports? Why did no one report the weirdo?"

    Probably because these shootings are extremely rare. The exceeding majority of weirdos (even ones who are truly off their rockers) will never commit a mass shooting. It's far more likely that reporting the weirdo will significantly damage his life than it is that not reporting will damage someone else's life.

  • Alcibiades||

    With Columbine even the FBI concluded that there really wasn't anything in Harris' or Klebold's profiles that were obvious red flags or predictors for this kind of outcome.

    Harris was retro diagnosed as a genuine sociopath and from Cullin's book it's clear he played most of the adults around him like a Strad. Klebold was merely a depressed, follower. The Problem with diagnosing sociopaths is that they're usually extermely intelligent and highly effctive at psychological manipulation.

    Once again it was the authorities that failed to do their job. The mom of a friend of the shooters alerted the cops that they had a website where they were detailing their bomb making and their potential targets. The cops drew up a search warrant but then failed to serve it thereby missing the one good chance of preventing the massacre that subsequently followed.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    I was one of those nerds back in the day (still am, to be honest) so I resent that so much.

    The second worst thing to come out of all the school shooting hype (and it is a lot of hype truth be told) after the assault on 2A, is the way the non-sporty, sci-fi and comics geeks have been labeled as crazy or dangerous.

  • Ron||

    rate of school shootings

    https://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2018/04/180419131025.htm

    they have there numbers and you have yours. who know which one to believe? that is a problem in of itself since we can all sight our own "respected" sources.

  • Ron||

    copy and paste and remove the space between the "com" & the "/" the most I'm willing to do.

  • Sevo||

    "copy and paste and remove the space between the "com" & the "/" the most I'm willing to do."
    You'd think a web site called "reason" would make it easy to post links, wouldn't you?
    Hint: Cut your contribution to zero next year and tell them why.

  • Sigivald||

    "The media's exhaustive reporting on school shootings might make them seem more common, or especially deadly: The Washington Post recently reported that "in 2018 alone, there have already been 13 shootings." But many of those were accidents—a gun going off by mistake—and in nine of the incidents, no one was killed. Columbine-style violence remains blessedly rare."

    "Mass shootings" and "shootings" are not the same.

    One doesn't contradict the other, in fact.

    (And the former are so rare that the "rapid rise" mentioned in the linked study [and please link to the study directly] still amounts to no more than 13 incidents per decade, in the '90s.

    This "rapid rise" is on the decadal level, and so sporadic and of low number that it's hard to distinguish from noise.)

  • fgsll||

    However, The Post was trying to conflate the word 'shooting' and the phrase 'mass shooting' and I am pretty sure that when The Post wrote "in 2018 alone, there have already been 13 shootings." they wanted at least half there reader to read "in 2018 alone, there have already been 13 shootings like Parkland." And I bet they were right. That's a good example of 'the press'.
    Also, today was hilarious. They were marching to outlaw AR-15's when pistols, shotguns, and pipe bombs were all the villains (I won't mention their names, I never mention ANY of their names.) had, there wasn't an AR-15 in sight.

  • Kroneborge||

    excellent article. I dinn't know that about the columbine kids. ty

  • Sigivald||

    1) Tell kids they should worry about school shootings.

    2) Report that kids are now worried about school shootings.

    3) Demand something be done about mean ol' nasty guns because kids are worried.

    Transparent.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    They learned from the best fear mongers around.

    1) Tell people they should be very worried about terrorism

    2) Report that people are very worried about terrorism

    3) Demand that more rights be given up so that government can do something to protect people from terrorism so they can stop worrying so much

  • Microaggressor||

    But this is wrong.

    No need to beat around the bush Robby. Vox is fake news.

  • GILMORE™||

    This is a lie. Vox is a respected, mainstream news source.

  • Violent Sociopath||

    Indeed. I really enjoyed their coverage of the bridge to Gaza.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    OT: sometimes I post comments on Reason but I forget where I posted them.

  • JeanineS||

    While gun ownership has been going up for decades, mass shootings including school shootings has been going down for decades in the U.S..
    https://mises.org/wire/there-

    are-fewer-school-shootings-now-during-1990s
    (The url is broken in two because Reason won't let me post words longer than 50 characters long, sorry)

  • Sevo||

    "(The url is broken in two because Reason won't let me post words longer than 50 characters long, sorry)"

    Do not apologize.
    My annual contribution to Reason has fallen to $0.00 as a result of the failure to run the web-site properly, among several other issues.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Serially progtarded articles by Chapman, Dalmia amd others aren't exactly encouraging me to pry open my wallet either.

  • Naaman Brown||

    Learn html and you can post links longer than 50 characters with text descriptions.

    [a href="reallyreallylooooonglink"] description [/a]

    using the angled brackets above the , and . key rather than square brackets.

    I had to learn the rudiments of html at work in the early 1990s.

  • Banake||

    Cullin was debunked a lot of times, Soave. -> https://templepress. wordpress.com/ 2009/04/21/dave-cullen-is-dead-wrong/ - http://findingtheconnections. blogspot.com.br/ 2013 /04/cullenbine-examination-of-some-of-facts.html - http://www.westword.com/ news/ brian-rohrbough-has- problems-with-columbine- books-by-dave- cullen-and-jeff-kass-5891671

  • Banake||

    Sometimes I wonder why I still read this website.

  • Banake||

    *Cullen

  • FMurderSlaybraham||

    The "finding the connections" link is interested, the other two links are hardly "debunkings" though, both just claim Cullen was wrong about undefined things and provide zero evidence to back it up.

  • Banake||

    "The problem was that the bullies were popular with the administration.
    Meanwhile, we were the "trouble kids," because we didn't seem to fit in with the
    grand order ofthings. Kids who played football were doing what you're supposed to
    do in high school. Kids like us, who dressed a little differently and were into diffirent
    things, made teachers nervous. They weren't interested in reaching out to us. They
    wanted to keep us at arm's length, and if they had the chance to take us down, they
    would.

    The bullies liked to propel paper clips at us with a rubber band. If a teacher saw
    you get hit, he or she did nothing. But as soon as you threw it back, or did something
    to defend yourself you were done. The teacher would grab you and you would be in
    the office. We were the "undesirables," and the teachers were just waiting for an
    excuse to nail us. The bullies knew it.

    Usually we didn't fight back. One thing we learned early on was that if we
    responded at all to what the bullies did, they'd do it more. Bullies want power They
    want boosts to their self-esteem, and they think that if they can make you fear them,
    they've won something. That's the mentality that bullied kids have to deal with on an
    everyday basis. We knew that there was nothing we could do to stop thenv but at
    least they wouldn't get anything out ofit ifwe just ignored them

  • Banake||

    Even so, the pain of bullying was taking its toll on us. Eric, especially, was a
    target. He had two strikes against him; the first was that he had a slight chest
    deformity. It wasn't that noticeable — it was just sunken in a bit — but when Eric
    would lake his shirt off'in P.E. class, the bullies were ready and waiting to mock him
    Mocking a guy for a physical problemhe can't control is one ofthe most humiliating
    ways to bring himdown.

    On top ofthat, Eric was the shortest ofour group. The rest ofus, as we got older,
    became well over six feel in height; Eric never did. He was small, he was a " computer
    geek," and he wasn't even from Colorado to begin with. He was as prime a target as
    the bullies at Columbine could have asked for. " -> https:// archive.org/stream/ pdfy-pC_WzWbOzxls5ms1/ No Easy Answers - Brooks Brown_djvu.txt

  • Banake||

    Of course, there's a easy way to end bullying: End Compulsory Education!

  • Banake||

    "She attempted
    suicide in October of 1999 and her parents admitted her to an
    inpatient mental health program and sought counseling, but said
    it didn't help. After missing fifty-three out of the required one
    hundred and eighty days of school, she was told she would
    have to return to school or appear before a truancy board which
    could then send her to a juvenile detention center. She decided
    the better alternative was to go in her bedroom and hang herself
    with a belt.6 Notice that the school did not do a thing–they
    did not go after the other girls who were making April's life a
    living hell. In times past, she could have just dropped out of
    school but now kids like her are trapped by compulsory education.
    The unpopular feel no one cares about their plight and
    they are left to suffer on their own. This of course, has been
    the fate of nerds since time immemorial. But something has
    changed. Now the formerly suicidal are taking others down
    with them." - Helen Smith, The Scarred Heart, Pg. 63

  • Banake||

  • Banake||

    It's a shame that the only article about Helen Smith in this website is this: http://reason.com/archives/201.....an-as-scab - It makes you wonder if people at reason are able to think.

  • Banake||

  • Banake||

    I wish this website would be back at doing things like "Separating School and State" and less of this status-quo ass-kissing.

  • Banake||

    As opposite to talk about "zero tolerance policies" (as bad as they are), why don't we say the truth about school: They have always been fascistic suicide factories.

  • Banake||

    A website who continuously calls Jeff Deist a fascist because freedom of association should at very least be able to say this!

  • Banake||

    This and talking with Mary Koss, who belives that 1-in-4 women are raped but men can't be raped by a woman. Seriously, how Robby still has a job?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I'm any truly just culture, Robby would have starved to death years ago.

  • Banake||

    And about this marchforourlives: If this little shitheads wanted to end school shootings they would be against compulsory education, and not for gun control or whatever. I actually want mentally ill people to have access to guns! -> https://c4ss.org/content/39669

  • MaleMatters||

    Virtually all mass killers have one common trait: they are male.

    See why that may be: "The Boy Crisis" by Warren Farrell.

  • Flinch||

    Women never do their own dirty work. Smart, yes? How many people have been killed by illegal aliens who have been gifted the ability to stay here easily via 'motor-voter' law? A SS card could be had at its time of passing for about 20 bucks on the streets of LA as I recall. And... where was Feinstein? You guessed it - voting for it. But, I would be remiss to avoid a chieftan among American genocidal maniacs: Margaret Sanger, and her percentage play for white supremacy by putting roughly 6 of 7 clinics deep into minority neighborhoods. On a body count basis, the boys are so far behind, they would have to concoct two more world wars just to get in the same ballpark.
    Strangely enough, our idiot republicans can't grasp the obvious: since it was ok for the federal government to turn our DMVs into voter registration centers, does this nose under the tent not invite demanding states indicate citizenship status on our drivers licenses? They seem to be ok with illegal aliens endangering us too, albeit by default.

  • Bill Goode||

    Author Robby Soave is in error in stating that "School shootings are no more common than they used to be." Perhaps Mr Soave is not old enough to know enough to compare. I am.

    The rash of school shootings started in the 1980s. When I was in school we did not have the rash of school shootings that we have today. There were no chain link fences around our schools with "No Entry" signs. I don't recall a single mass shooting from my school & college years in the 1960s and 1970s.

    Starting in the 1980s psychiatric drugs became much more prevalent, especially as public schools became distribution centers for psychiatric drugs such as Ritalin, Zoloft, Xanax, Prozac, etc Only needs to read the labels of these drugs to see the source of the violence they have been creating. Side effects of these drugs include violence and suicide, as stated right there on the bottle.

    Before the 1980s there were hardly any of this mass violence. Yet from 1988 through 2011 there were over 5000 documented incidents of violence. In every case the perpetrator of the violence was on psychiatric drugs. The list ended in 2011 as the list's author had well demonstrated his point that psychiatric drugs were the source of the violence.

    Before the 1980s psychiatric drugs were not nearly so prevalent in our society or in our schools. Now days about 50% of school children are on some psychiatric drug - ticking time bombs.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    This is all the result of progressive policies and their stranglehold on our education system. Yet another reason to look at lomg term solutions to the existential threat that is progressivism.

  • Violent Sociopath||

    Author Robby Soave is in error in stating that "School shootings are no more common than they used to be." Perhaps Mr Soave is not old enough to know enough to compare. I am.

    "Ignore the actual data that Robby cites in his piece in favor of my hazy recollections of what life was like sixty years ago."

  • WJack||

    For perspective, about 90 years ago:

    The Bath School disaster sometimes known as the Bath School massacre, was a series of violent attacks perpetrated by Andrew Kehoe on May 18, 1927, in Bath Township, Michigan, which killed 38 elementary schoolchildren and six adults and injured at least 58 other people.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster

  • fgsll||

    He didn't use an AR-15 either (of course it hadn't been invented), he used good old fashioned bombs.

  • LifeStrategies||

    Columbine HAD a school resource officer - which proves that they are not the solution.

    So what does work? Arm those teachers who are willing to protect their students, and the uncertainty about who is and who is not armed and can shoot them back will strongly discourage school shootings. Mass shooting inevitably occur in gun-free zones, while millions of defensive gun users thwart millions of violent crimes each year.

    As Larry Correia, Utah Concealed Weapons instructor, military and law enforcement master trainer, expert witness for the Utah State Legislature, Title 7 SOT gun store owner, elite firearms expert explains:

    "The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5. The reason is simple. The armed civilians are there when it started."

    see: http://danieljmitchell.wordpre.....un-expert/

    and Larry Correia's original post: http://monsterhunternation.com.....n-control/

  • Naaman Brown||

    We had a potential school shooting that was thwarted by a SRO inside the school who immediately engaged the armed intruder.

    The Columbine SRO stayed outside the school and waited for backup -- like the SRO at Parkland.

    Sample of one versus sample of two maybe. But SROs who do not follow modern training: immediately engage the shooter to reduce fatalities do not render all SROs useless.

  • Flinch||

    Not all teachers want to be armed, and that's ok. 5% is so much better than nothing, it's an order of magnitude. The hard part is... if it is a teacher serving as security, they also know their students. They just might have to shoot a kid they know - that's the toughest shot ever. So tough, I would be surprised if we could get much more than 3% to serve as qualified responders who train with local sheriffs on a regular basis.

  • Naaman Brown||

    "Neither comic books nor violent video games nor goth culture were responsible for the attack."

    But after Beatles' White Albums were burned there have been no "Helte Skelter" massacres!

    Voodoo criminology works if you demonize the right scapegoat and shame its defenders into silence.

    (oops forgot my [sarcasm] [/sarcasm] tags)

  • Flinch||

    When you want to defend something with a minimal toolset, you have to create choke points. There is also an added psychological component of a perp not being able to run free in any direction [easily] from a scene that suppresses some things from taking place. It makes me cringe to see school after school built with the same pie-in-the-sky thinking typified by the 50s. A high school near me rebuilt 3 years ago. Did they do anything about their fully open campus? No. Only the buildings are new - the campus is still stuck in the past, having learned nothing from Columbine. Zero walls, zero fences, and multiple buildings with no interconnections to protect from weather or help maintain security. They have 20 doors to guard. Open woods around half the campus adds even more risk to the mix. Anybody can come or go from anywhere... and it takes a lot of people to defend something when the risk area is 360 degrees, vs. one or two choke points. One of the reasons a Columbine incident doesn't happen in NYC, is because the high compression of land use creates a defacto choke point system, whether they intended it or not - they have no choice.
    If we aren't thinking, there's no way we can defend our kids. I emphasize we, because as the Florida incident informs, expecting 'them' [federal/state/local] to do anything but spectate is an unreasonable assumption.

  • tokyokv||

    Another thing that causes misconceptions is this odd concept of "gun deaths", apparently a product of too many movies and TV programs which make guns look like magic talismans. Deaths are deaths, and most of them are intentional (suicides or homicides). The particular method used is rarely important - very few of these deaths were dependent on the use of guns, and other methods could have been employed. Around 46 countries have a higher rate of suicide, and nearly all of them have strict gun control. Countries like Japan and South Korea achieve higher suicide rates with no guns at all. Homicides are usually committed one at a time, with victims and perpetrators who are known to each other, close up and personal. Any of the common non-firearm tools from knives to blunt instruments could be easily used in nearly all cases if guns weren't available.

  • tokyokv||

    As others have pointed out, the biggest school massacre in US history involved a bomb, not guns. Before 1966 there was only 1 "mass school shooting" (in 1940), even though you could order guns from the Sears catalog or buy them at any unlicensed retailer that wanted to sell them, with no age restrictions and no ID. The only reason AR-15s are suddenly the weapon of choice is that they have become "fashionable" because of all the publicity. In their zeal to make "assault rifles" their gun control wedge, the anti-gun crowd have turned them into Magic Talismans of Evil for the people wanting to go out in a blaze of sick and highly publicized glory. Joe Biden could have killed more people with his 2-shot shotgun in the time these shooters take to kill their unarmed, defenseless victims. A couple of 5-gallon carboys filled with homemade napalm, thrown into a crowded classroom or school bus, would do the job more efficiently. These incidents are rare as hen's teeth, and if guns weren't available, it would just force the crazies to find other methods.

  • Hank Phillips||

    That's the probability of one of these snowflakes passing a Freshman mid-term on Applied Probability Theory?

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