Thursday, 10 May 2012

After Columbine: Why School Shootings Still Happen

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The killing of three students by a fellow student at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio, on February 27, 2012, indicates that whatever problems existed that led to or caused the massacre at Columbine on April 20, 1999 have not gone away. Indeed, only a week after Columbine, on April 28, 1999, in Taber, Alberta, Canada, one student was killed and one wounded at W. R. Myers High School. The gunman, 14-year-old Todd Cameron Smith, walked into his school and began firing at three students in a hallway, killing one student and wounding another. Because this shooting took place only eight days after the Columbine High School Massacre in Littleton, Colorado, it was widely believed to have been a copycat crime. It was the first fatal high-school shooting in Canada in more than two decades.

A month after Columbine, on May 20, 1999, at Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia, six students were injured by a 15-year-old shooter, Thomas Solomon, who was reportedly depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend. The shots were fired about 20 minutes before school started. The gunman, a sophomore, was quickly taken into custody. The six injured students were taken to hospitals, where two were treated and released and the other four recovered. The shots were fired in a common area around 8 a.m., near a cafeteria where some students were eating breakfast.

On November 19, 1999, in Deming, New Mexico, Victor Cordova, Jr., 12, shot and killed 13-year-old Araceli Tena in the lobby of the Deming Middle School. And on December 6, 1999, at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, four students were wounded when Seth Trickey, 13, opened fire with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun at the Fort Gibson Middle School.

Thus ended 1999, with no end to school shootings. As expected, the educators hadn’t a clue as to why all of this mayhem was taking place. Of course, no one believed that it had anything to do with what the kids were being taught in their classes. They’d never heard of Dr. Benjamin Bloom. One thing was obvious, the killers were getting younger. Dr. Bloom had stressed the importance of reorganizing, (i.e., de-Christianizing), the minds of these kids as early as possible.

On February 29, 2000, at the Mount Morris Township, Michigan, near Flint, six-year-old Kayla Rolland was shot dead at Buell Elementary School by six-year-old Dedric Owens with a .32 caliber handgun, which he had found in his uncle’s home. Owens shot Kayla during a change of classes in the presence of a teacher and 22 students while moving up a floor on the stairs, saying to her "I don't like you" before pulling the trigger. The bullets entered her right arm and traveled through her vital artery. Rolland was pronounced dead at Hurley Medical Center while in cardiac arrest.

According to Wikipedia, at six years of age, Kayla Rolland is believed to be the youngest school shooting victim in U.S. history. Dedric Owens is the youngest school shooter. Due to his age (born on May 5, 1993) and the legal claim that at that age he would have the lack of ability to form intent, Owens was not charged with murder. In most U.S. states, six-year-olds are not liable for crimes they commit. In an 1893 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that "children under the age of 7 years could not be guilty of felony, or punished for any capital offense, for within that age the child is conclusively presumed incapable of committing a crime." However, back in colonial days, five and six year olds were taught: “In Adam’s fall we sinned all.” That was the first line of the New England Primer. You were never too young not to know the difference between right and wrong.

The next horror took place on March 10, 2000, in Savannah, Georgia, where two teenagers were killed by a 19-year-old, while leaving a dance sponsored by Beach High School. The dance was in celebration of the school’s basketball championship. Stacy Smalls, 19, died from gunshot wounds at Savannah hospital, and Ramone Kimble, a 16-year-old student at Savannah High School was shot in the head and died shortly after. Darrell Ingram, 19, was arrested for the shootings and charged with murder.

On May 26, 2000, English teacher Barry Grunow was shot and killed at Lake Worth (Florida) Middle School by Nathaniel Brazill, 13, with a .25 caliber semiautomatic pistol on the last day of classes. Brazill had been suspended earlier that day for throwing water balloons in the school cafeteria. He returned later and asked Grunow if he could enter the classroom and speak with two students. When Grunow said no, Nathaniel pointed the gun at him and it went off, killing the teacher with one bullet to the head.

Brazill was convicted of second degree murder and aggravated assault, and sentenced to 28 years in state prison followed by 7 years of felony probation. His release date is May 18, 2028.

On January 17, 2001, a student was shot and killed in front of Lake Clifton Eastern High School in Baltimore, Maryland. On March 5, 2001, two students were killed and 13 wounded by Charles Andrew Williams, 15, firing from a bathroom at Santana High School in Santee, California. Two days later, on March 7, 2001, 14-year-old Elizabeth Catherine Bush wounded student Kimberly Marchese in the cafeteria of Bishop Neumann High School in Williamsport, Pa. Cause of the shooting? Envy. A cardinal sin.

On March 22, 2001, Jason Hoffman, 18, wounded a teacher and three students at Granite Hills High School, Granite Hills, California. A policeman shot and wounded Hoffman. On March 30, 2001, a student at Lew Wallace High School in Gary, Indiana, was killed by Donald R. Burt, Jr., a 17-year-old student who had been expelled from the school. On November 12, 2001, Chris Buschbacher, 17, took two hostages at the Caro Learning Center in Caro, Michigan, before killing himself.

What is causing so many young Americans in so many different places to kill so many of their fellow students or their teachers? No one in authority seems to know why. The next noteworthy shooting took place on April 24, 2003, when James Sheets, 14, killed Principal Eugene Segro of Red Lion Junior High School, Red Lion, Pa., before killing himself. And on September 24, 2003, at Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minnesota, two students were killed by John Jason McLaughlin, 15. The killer was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

Although there were no school shootings reported in 2004, there were probably many assaults and disruptions in public schools, but were not serious enough to be reported nationally. On March 21, 2005, the Red Lake reservation in Red Lake, Minnesota, was the scene of a gruesome murder which then turned into a school massacre. It began at noon when 16-year-old Jeffrey Weise killed his police sergeant grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend, then later drove his grandfather’s police vehicle to Red Lake Senior High School where, at 2:45 p.m. he began shooting, killed seven people on the school campus, including five students, one teacher and an unarmed security guard, and wounded five others. The shooting ended when Weise committed suicide.

Witnesses say Weise smiled as he was shooting at people. One witness said that he asked a student if he believed in God, a link obviously connected to the events that took place during the Columbine High School massacre.

Then, on November 8, 2005, in Jacksboro, Tennessee, a 15-year-old shot and killed an assistant principal at Campbell County High School, and seriously wounded two other administrators. On August 24, 2006, Christopher Williams, 27, looking for his ex-girlfriend at Essex Elementary School, in Essex, Vermont, shot two teachers and wounded another. Before going to the school, he had killed his ex-girlfriend’s mother.

On September 27, 2006, an adult male held six students hostage at Platte Canyon High School, Bailey, Colorado, then shot and killed Emily Keyes, 16, and himself. Two days later, on September 29, in Cazenovia, Wisconsin, a 15-year-old student shot and killed Weston School principal, John Klang.

On October 3, 2006, a truly bizarre massacre took place in Nickel Mines, Pa., when a 32-year-old milk-truck driver, Carl Charles Roberts, entered the one-room West Nickel Mines Amish School and shot 10 schoolgirls, ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old, and then himself. Five of the girls and Roberts died. Roberts, who was not Amish, left his wife and children suicide notes. A movie has already been made of this chilling tragedy.

On January 3, 2007, Douglas Chanthabouly, 18, shot fellow student Samnang Kok, 17, in the hallway of Henry Foss High School in Tacoma, Washington. On April 16, 2007, in Blacksburg, Virginia, a 23-year-old Virginia Tech Student, Cho Seung-Hui, killed two in a dorm, then killed 30 more two hours later in a classroom building. His suicide brought the death toll to 33, making that shooting rampage the most deadly in U.S. history. Fifteen others were wounded.

On September 21, 2007, at Delaware State University, Dover, freshman Loyer D. Brandon shot and wounded two other freshmen students on the university campus. He was charged with attempted murder and assault. On October 10, 2007, 14-year-old Asa H. Coon, shot and injured two students and two teachers before killing himself at Cleveland High School, Cleveland, Ohio. The victims survived the shooting.

The United States is not the only country afflicted with school shootings. On November 7, 2007, an 18-year-old student in Tuusula, Finland, shot and killed five boys, two girls, and the female principal at Jokela High School. At least 10 others were injured. The gunman shot himself and died of his wounds in the hospital.

On February 8, 2008, a nursing student at Louisiana Technical College, in Baton Rouge, shot and killed two women and then herself in a classroom. Three days later, in Memphis, Tennessee, a 17-year-old student at Mitchell High School shot and wounded a classmate in gym class. A day later, on February 12, 2008, in Oxnard, California, a 14-year-old boy shot a student at E. O. Green Junior High School causing the 15-year-old victim to become brain dead. Two days later, on February 14, a gunman killed five students, wounded 17 others, and then killed himself when he opened fire on a classroom at Northern Illinois University. The gunman, Stephen P. Kazmierczak, was identified as a former graduate student at the university in 2007.

On September 23, 2008, there was another massacre at a school in Finland. A 20-year-old male student shot and killed nine students and himself at a vocational college in Kauhajok, Finland, located 200 miles north of Helsinki, the capital.

On November 12, 2008, a 15-year-old female student was shot and killed by a classmate at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
On February 5, 2010, at the Discovery Middle School in Madison, Alabama, a ninth grader was shot by another student during a class change. The boy pulled out a gun and shot Todd Brown in the head while walking in the hallway. Brown later died at the hospital. A week later, February 12, at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, during a meeting on campus, Amy Bishop, a biology professor, shot her colleagues, killing thee and wounding three others. A year earlier, she had been denied tenure.

On January 5, 2011, in Omaha, Nebraska, two people were killed and two more injured in a shooting at Millard South High School. Shortly after being suspended from school, the shooter returned and shot the assistant principal, principal, and the school nurse. The shooter then left campus and took his own life. On that same day, in Houston, Texas, two gunmen opened fire during a Worthing High School powder-puff football game. One former student died, five others were wounded.

On May 10, 2011, at San Jose, California, three people were killed in a parking garage at San Jose State University. Two former students were found dead on the fifth floor of the garage. A third, the suspected shooter, died later at the hospital. On December 8, 2011, at Blacksburg, Virginia, a Virginia Tech police officer was shot and killed by a 22-year-old student from Radford University. The shooting took place in a parking lot on Virginia Tech’s campus.

On February 10, 2012, in Walpole, New Hampshire, a 14-year-old student shot himself in front of 70 fellow students. Seven days later, at Chardon High School, Chardon, Ohio, a former classmate opened fire, killing three students. The shooter entered the school cafeteria at 7:45 a.m., shot into a group of students, killing one and wounding four. Several days later two of the wounded also died, bringing the total dead to three.

The shooter, identified as 17-year-old T. J. Lane, was described by classmates as an outcast who had been bullied. He also came from a divorced family with a history of domestic violence. In late December he posted a poem on his Facebook page that read: "He longed for only one thing, the world to bow at his feet," and ended ominously: "Die, all of you." Apparently he had learned to hate life and love death.
Finally, on March 6, 2012, in Jacksonville, Florida, Shane Schumerth, a 28-year-old teacher at Episcopal High School, returned to the campus after being fired and shot and killed the headmistress, Dale Regan, with an assault rifle.

What can we conclude from this gruesome record of school horrors? One thing I know. When I was going to public school in the days when belief in God was still permissible and school principals could quote the Bible at assemblies, there were no school massacres. Take God out of the schools, and you get mayhem. As Rev. R. J. Rushdoony wrote: “Humanistic education is the institutionalized love of death.”

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