There Has Been an Average of One School Shooting Every Other School Day so far This Year

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This post originally appeared at ThinkProgress.

A woman hugs a student at a staging ground set up at the Roswell Mall following a shooting at Berrendo Middle School, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Roswell, N.M. A shooter opened fire at the middle school, injuring at least two students before being taken into custody. (AP Photo/Roswell Daily Record, Mark Wilson)
A woman hugs a student at a staging ground set up at the Roswell Mall following a shooting at Berrendo Middle School, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Roswell, N.M. A shooter opened fire at the middle school, injuring at least two students before being taken into custody. (AP Photo/Roswell Daily Record, Mark Wilson)

Last year was supposed to be a year of action to curb gun violence in our schools. But three weeks into the new year, statistics suggest that the problem could actually be worsening.

Though the sample size is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions, 2014 is off to a deadly start: in the first 14 school days of the year, there have been at least seven school shootings. For sake of comparison, there were 28 school shootings in all of 2013, according to gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action.

Purdue University is the most recent, when a 23-year-old teaching assistant fired four shots inside a campus building on Tuesday, killing a 21-year-old senior. One day earlier, a student was hospitalized after being shot near the athletic center on the campus of Widener University in Pennsylvania. And last week, there were at least three other school shootings, resulting in the hospitalization of five students between the ages of 12 and 18.

That number could have been even higher were it not for several near-misses. An eighth grader was arrested in Georgia last week after he brought a gun to school on consecutive days and robbed a classmate. On Tuesday, Portland police rushed to an area high school after a student was reportedly showing off his gun to a fellow classmate during lunch. And early on Wednesday four teenagers were arrested after they were seen pointing a gun at a school bus in Norfolk, Va.

Gun advocates at the National Rifle Association and elsewhere spent months after the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., calling for even more guns to be placed inside of schools in the form of armed security officials. And while many schools have indeed introduced so-called “school resource officers” in the last year, there is little evidence they are doing any good at all. Just about the only discernible impact of adding security officials into schools is a dramatic increase in the number of students arrested, sometimes for transgressions such as forgetting to wear a belt. More alarmingly, there have been instances of officers forgetting their guns inside bathrooms used by students or accidentally firing their guns inside of crowded high schools.

Adam Peck is a reporter/blogger for ThinkProgress at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
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  • Scooby

    This is not acceptable. End of story. More guns have been sold. More guns aren’t helping.

  • Anonymous

    According to WHO, every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day.

    In the USA, where nearly half of pregnancies are unintended and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion , there are over 3,000 abortions per day. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies in the USA (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.

  • Anonymous

    “…the report described episodes in which a child was taken home by
    the police for wearing shoes that violated the dress code, and a school
    where misbehaving students were handcuffed for infractions as minor as
    not wearing a belt.” That’s the point- kids _can’t_ be arrested for dress code violations. These are examples of over-reach by police and school guards.

  • Meh

    Clearly more parents need to be safe and careful with their guns. Kids can’t buy them.

  • Anonymous

    Sad. Must have been a tough article to write.

  • Anonymous

    Now that’s the most ignorant comment I’ve heard so far!

  • Ian Osmond

    Well, according to the political philosophy of John Locke, which is the stream of thought that modern democracies are generally based upon, rights ARE indeed “something that is blessed on one by God.” More or less. The idea is that rights are things that exist and are held inherently by people; that governments are created for the express purpose of protecting those rights.

    I’m personally fond of Jefferson’s phrasing:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

    And so forth.

  • paul pezzack

    people should become aware that in 97% of all school shootings the perpetrator was on or withdrawing from a psychiatric drug.mostly antidepressants.drugs that have suicide and violence listed as a side effect.its not hard to see the link.just hard to convince people that the drugs they are given by their doctors or psychiatrists affect the the exact same neurotransmitters as illegal drugs.that they are highly toxic ,extremely addictive dangerous poisons.that cause extreme psychosis.its not a conspiracy.its a fact.go and search for Dr Peter Breggin,Dr Ann blake Tracy,Prof David Healy, Dr Josef Glenmullen,or science and medicine journalist and author Robert Whitaker for the truth.or watch generation Rx on youtube.

  • Ian Osmond

    It’s true that Jefferson’s relationship to slavery seems a lot like a heroin addict’s relationship to heroin. He hated it, knew it was wrong, and couldn’t stop. He was basically addicted to his aristocratic lifestyle that was dependent upon slave labor.

    But the fact that he didn’t live up to the truth he espoused doesn’t change its truth.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the other areas need to be addressed but the proliferation of guns is the problem. But until those who favor strict gun controls become as politically active as the gunners nothing will change – or God help us, it will continue to get worse.

  • Steve Belzer

    Unfortunately, there aren’t too many people who make money from not selling guns. Buying legislators can get really expensive!

  • Ian Jones

    Under no circumstances should the US Govt. be allowed to declare war on anything, be it poverty crime drugs guns Iraq Iran Afghanistan or the homeless. Everytime it gets worse.

  • Anonymous

    The obvious solution is to arm everyone, especially grade school children. Admittedly there are questions about arming those U.S. citizens who are under 6 — though of course they, like the rest of us, enjoy the right to do so without infringement. For that matter, so do newborns. If we arm newborns (in a user-friendly fashion appropriate to their age level), I have a feeling that all these problems will be over within a few years. I for one would hate to face an angry week-old baby in a gunfight.

  • Anonymous

    Those words of Jefferson’s — the ones you suggest he didn’t live up to — say nothing about putting deadly firearms and unlimited quantities of ammunition in the hands of mentally disturbed people. Now be honest, Mr. Ian Osmond. Do you really believe Thomas Jefferson would have supported that policy?

  • Kevin Gaiser

    “Though the sample size is far too small to draw any
    definitive conclusions…” The author is going to anyway. “For sake of comparison…”
    But the author just said there IS no comparison. So it’s established that
    reality is not a parameter.

    “Gun advocates at the National Rifle Association and
    elsewhere spent months after the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., calling for
    even more guns to be placed inside of schools in the form of armed security
    officials.” What about every other entity that proposed the very same measure.
    The author refers to SROs as if they are new entity. There have been SROs in
    schools for the past 15 years or so that I know of.

    What is “gun violence”? a gun is an inanimate object.
    Violence is a behavior? How does a gun behave? How violent is a marshmallow
    gun?

    This is not a well put-together story. What, if anything, is the author trying to say?
    Kevin B Gaiser

  • Ian Osmond

    I don’t know. I DO know that the militia muster in the Massachusetts colony required every male in the Commonwealth to own a military-spec musket or rifle, and present it for inspection twice a year. Failure to comply was a fine, and not a particularly hefty one, because Quakers and other conscientious objectors were able to simply pay the fine twice a year, and weren’t looked down upon for doing so.

    Training was … spotty, but the 1831 Salem Light Infantry Zouaves chose to train themselves as an elite military unit, spending three hours a night, six days a week, in one-on-one bayonet fencing with blunted weapons, and live-steel exercises in striking. Other units, of course, had their “training” consist of showing up twice a year, showing that they owned the weapons, and then going out for picnics (“Muster Day” was always a town holiday).

    The question about “mentally disturbed people”, though, is different: on the whole, people who everybody accepted were unbalanced or generally mentally not-up-to-snuff were NOT considered part of the militia, and, yeah, people would be real worried if THEY showed up with firearms.

    How that would be dealt with, though, I don’t know.

    Still. It IS clear that the INTENT of the Second Amendment as perceived by the Founding Fathers was that every able-bodied male between the ages of, I forget exactly, but it was something like eighteen to fifty, I think, would own and know how to operate military weapons.

    That does NOT mean that I think that it’s necessarily a good idea to do that TODAY; I don’t necessarily think that ideas that were good in the late eighteenth century are good ideas today.

    That is, however, entirely separate from the idea, which I DO believe, that rights exist external to governments, and are inherent to being a person, and that governments do not GRANT rights, but rather RECOGNIZE and protect them.

    For instance, the government does not GRANT the right of people to marry their same-sex partner. Rather, the government RECOGNIZES that people (adult, fully competent people) inherently have the right to form partnerships. That’s not something they grant; that’s something that already exists irrespective of government action. They are merely beginning to acknowledge that a just society will recognize and protect that right.

  • Kevin Gaiser

    Firearms are no more a problem than alcohol, automobiles, or medical mistakes. Teach makes some good points in how this issue should be addressed. i would disagree with the notion that firearms are more accessable. It is my opinion that firearms are less accessable now than they were. When I was young it was common for a rifle or shotgun to be propped up behind a door or in the back of a closet. We all knew they were not to be touched. When I was in high school in the late 70s it was common to see long arms in gun racks in the school parkin glot during hunting season. No one broke into trucks to steal them. None of them were carried into the school. We certainly don;t see that now, and fewer and fewer people leave firearms about the house anymore. If we ran the numbers and compared firearm ownership against instance of illegal use over the years, we might see a downward trend.
    I am not downplaying the tragedy of an incident. I am only pointing out that a solution is not as easy as “guns” or “the NRA”.
    kevin b gaiser

  • http://www.facebook.com/RPManke.solar RevPhil Manke

    Allot of truth to what you say, Robert. Their is no maturity requirement for making babies while being ill prepared to raise them other than having the body functions and will to avoid reality.

  • JonThomas

    You know, sometimes it does seem that the only way people can realize the absurdity of their own positions is by being confronted with the absurd.

    Well done.

  • Anonymous

    And why should we be surprised when WE perpetuate perpetual war since President Eisenhower warned us against the Military Industrial complex??? I mean we even invaded Granada… The home of the brave… land of the free….Our children are only emulating US…. “We have met the enemy and he is US”

  • Dan

    Okay how about YOU click on all the ‘blue underlined text’ and tell me what you read. Let me save you some time. They are all about gun INCIDENTS, most of which not a single person was shot or killed. Other links here focus on columbine and newton. SO SHOW ME THE LINKS FOR THE OTHER SUPPOSED 26 SCHOOL SHOOTINGS. I don’t care that ‘prevention group Moms Demand Action’ claims they happend. NO evidence = false information.

  • moderator

    Hi Dan and MsSnarky:

    I think it is time to agree to disagree. Please move on.

    Thanks,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    MsSnarky and Dan:

    I think it is time to agree to disagree. Please move on.

    Thanks,

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Paul F.

    The only evidence here is a list of incidents by the ‘Moms demands action’ group with no sources or evidence. There is also 3 links linked to shootings, 1 to columbine and 3 to newton. The other links mention gun incidents in which there was a gun in school, no deaths, no shots. This is misinformation at its finest without proper sourcing or material.

  • microsoft

    The US has been at war for over 180 of our 237 year existence.

  • CO7

    Dan, what are you doing here? No amount of information on the obscenity of the U.S. gun culture is ever going to move you, most likely because you’re part of it. Right? There’s plenty of solid referenced and factual info on the “internets”, and you want folks to do all the work to try to convince you? Please.

  • Anonymous

    The concept of inherent or pre-existing rights is most appealing. Finally we can be sure of a few principles in this confused existence!

    But immediately a problem arises. How do we figure out what is, or is not, an inherent right — or if conflicting rights are both found to be inherent, how do we decide which right to favor?

    Suppose, for example, my neighbor wishes quiet enjoyment of his home — surely a human right — while I, dwelling quite nearby, assert my own right to joyful, noisy celebration. He and I try to resolve the matter by discussion, but instead come to fisticuffs (strong drink may have been involved). We appear before the magistrate/judge/policeman/council/king.

    What ought to be the outcome? Whose right is more right?

  • Anonymous

    Since the shooter in almost 100% of these mass killings finally turns the gun on himself after concluding the rest of the slaughter, do you think that person is likely to refrain from the entire activity just because his parents might be held responsible?

  • Anonymous

    Although I agree that the easy availability of guns and ammunition makes the mass-killing problem much, much worse, I do not think it is either true or fair to imply that guns are the ONLY problem. I would also like to ask why we have so many murderous people. Would it be possible to help them find some relief from their pain in a less destructive fashion?

  • Anonymous

    If the statistics to which you allude are accurate, it is unfortunate that multiple murder by firearm, followed by suicide in the same manner, is such a high-profile crime. Can you really blame people for being upset and scared?

  • Anonymous

    You are correct. They are cold-blooded business people out for money.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder why. Please don’t blame parents they are more shocked than observers. It can’t be because of stories, songs and games, those are thousands of years old. So are tales of the end of the world. Processed food? Polluted drinking water?

  • Anonymous

    Did you read the links?

  • Anonymous

    Almost all countries have been at war. And our country beats them all in school shootings.

  • Mary E. Oney

    Actually all you have to do is read the news everyday. I read several news sources and every day I read of another senseless shooting. Most of them in one public place or another. School shootings do seem to be happening about every other day now. Of course the above advice would be to read the news from any source other than FOX news…and READ not watch televised news media unless you are watching any source other than corporate American media.

  • Mary E. Oney

    Cars ARE the problem if a drunk is driving one. Just like guns ARE the problem in the hands of lunatics, drunks and rage-addicts. And cars are very well regulated, it is against the law to operate one if you are drunk. Can’t say the same about guns. On the other side of that coin, cars are a wonderful tool if used correctly and guns are harmless in the hands of responsible people. The issue is not whether or not guns are dangerous, the issue is who should be allowed to operate and own guns. The issue is how to keep guns out of the hands of baby-killers. The issue is how to keep the crazy guy down the street from shooting up a shopping mall and killing innocent people. These are things we need to be able to discuss without foaming at the mouth.

  • mbshus@gmail.com

    People cannot see the forest for the trees on this one. What are the commonalities between MOST of the shooters? They all appear to have mental illness of some type in the family. With this in mind, what is the likelihood their mothers were taking prescription anti-depressants while, or just before, they became pregnant? The blood supply is shared with her growing fetus during the most crucial years of development. I certainly hope our country’s medical staff is taking some time to consider this.

  • Ian Osmond

    You’ve just explicated why we need governance of some sort in our societies. In small societies — tribal level or so — such governance may be informal and based on traditions and the guidance of older, hopefully wiser, members of the tribe or family. As societies get larger and kinship relationships get more distant, we require more formal dispute resolution mechanisms.

    But, yes, it is precisely as you suggest. A primary purpose of governments is to resolve conflicts between people, and to balance the rights of one person against another. That is the primary way that governments manage the protection of inherent rights — to attempt to find a way to protect and express the greatest degree of inherent rights possible.

    Yes, it is precisely as you suggest. It is impossible for every individual to express the full degree of their fundamental right to self-determination when in contact with other individuals who ALSO have a fundamental right to self-determination. So we, imperfect beings as we are in an imperfect world, must form methods to try to do the best we can. And, for societies over a certain level of size and complexity, that method includes governments and formal laws.

  • Anonymous

    There are many countries that have gun control and it seems to work. Canada is one of them.

  • Anonymous

    Your concern trolling is weak sauce and your straw man argument is even weaker. I’m not for prohibiting guns, I have owned guns in the past and probably will again in the future. America’s homicide rate is higher than Europe’s, Canada’s, Australia’s, Japan’s. That’s a fact. They have much stricter gun control laws. Also a fact. They haven’t banned guns. Also a fact. There’s your research.

  • Anonymous

    So true Mr. Pezzack. I would add that the herbicide roundup which is overused on our food crops and as animal feed destroys gut bacteria and causes depression, and multiple mental and physical disorders. We are allowing our children to be poisoned. They are medicated, which further destroys their gut biota, according to Dr Seneff (MIT) and Dr Huber (Purdue). These SSRI drugs are known to cause psychotic breaks. They are awash in violent imagery, see violence and revenge as the major motif in media. They are allowed to practice gun violence via video game. They live in a violent, warring nation, which commits murder of civilians daily, invades and bombs countries worldwide without provocation. They are impoverished, abused, and have not much of a future to look forward to. Instead of being seen as our most valuable resource, they have had all social services cut for decades. What can we expect?

  • paul pezzack

    actually they hav’nt.i wish they had.i live in Wales in the uk.it has the highest rate of prescriptions for antidepressants in the Uk and also the highest suicide rate of any part of the the Uk and still the link isnt made.i have suffered hell beyond words with the addiction and withdrawal from these drugs.they should be banned.but they wont be.because of the massive amount of money the pharma companies make from them.

  • Scooby

    So we’re back to Wild West. That’s your preference? I contend you may not really give a hoot.

  • Anonymous

    As long as people are in denial about these out of control kids with guns, the problem will continue.

  • Jane McPherson

    That all shooters have a mental illness of some type is pureed bat guano. Read the FBI’s rundown on those shooters and you’ll find they aren’t all “loonies” nor were their mothers on drugs. You need to get your facts straight lady. http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder

  • Kelly from Kentucky

    You are absolutely right. it becomes easier and it makes it more exciting to a younger person especially. People can say what they want. When God was kicked out of public schools, Satan came in his place. And before anyone starts criticizing me for believing in God. Just read the ten commandments, think of what each rule suggests, and then tell me, even if you do not believe in God, Can’t you agree that they are good rules to live by and should be taught to our kids. These rules and Laws from God are never mentioned to our children, while video games and Movies raise our young. The more we “baby” our kids and give in to them and hand them everything that their little hearts desire. we are setting them up for disaster. look at the stats on bicycle helmets for instance. there are more injuries on bikes today than there was 30 years ago. Why? because we knew we could get hurt on them! today kids see no danger in anything they do whether it is on a bike or behind a gun. They have every reason to think this way because in a video game you don’t really die, you just start over from a check point. and in the movies you are just cool blowing things all to hell.