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Since 1970, there have been over 1,316 recorded school shootings in the United States. Did this tragedy change the world?

This shooting in a school changed the world

Since 1970, there have been over 1,316 recorded school shootings in the United States, and the numbers are only increasing as time goes on.  Since the 1970s, the highest number of school shootings happened in 2019, with 118 shootings. 

If you’re shocked & disgusted, you should be. Unfortunately, news of devastation & trauma in K-12 schools is a commonality on the news, and we can only hope something will change with time; but there’s always a time & place where events like this began. 

In the late 1990s, a specific shooting happened that was incredibly difficult to process. As a result, it changed the world and how we see guns and school security. No matter the age of a person, they know about the shooting at Columbine High School and its impact on the United States and the world. 

Columbine High School, 1999

On April 20th, 1999, an extreme act of violence occurred in Littleton, CO. Most of us are used to hearing about crime in bigger cities, but a suburban town outside of Denver? It’s not something that happens every day. The shooting at Columbine took fifteen lives: twelve students, one teacher, and the two perpetrators who were seniors at the school. 

John Cohn, a former official of the Department of Homeland Security, mentioned Columbine had a significant influence on the shootings that followed. Cohn led the efforts to combat mass shootings, so he had firsthand knowledge of this matter. 

In an interview, he mentioned, “One of the common characteristics they’ve observed is these individuals tend to study past mass shootings.” He went on to say, “As it related specifically to school shootings, we find that Columbine seems to be the one incident that school shooters look at. It seems to resonate with individuals that have the behavioral characteristics consistent with this type of attacker.”

Media influence

The shooting and attempted bombing at Columbine High School didn’t claim the most victims and definitely wasn’t the first, but it attracted an outrageous amount of media. The rise of technology and how it portrayed the world was on the rise in 1999, so that could be part of the reason why this particular shooting got the attention it did. 

When the media latched on, they caused a frenzy of accusations like who was to blame and how cinema shaped the world in which young minds live. For instance, the media attacked & demonized video games like Doom, movies like Natural Born Killers, and shock rockers like Marilyn Manson. 

Whether these factors were influences or not, the Columbine shooting had a massive impact on preparing for similar instances like this in the future.

Other devastating shootings

Since 1999, there have been about 230 school shootings in the United States. This number doesn’t include misfires or instances when the shooter was stopped before causing pain or trauma to others. During this time, over 304 people have died due to a shooting, including the shooters themselves. 

What’s important to note is that it’s not just the fatalities that are important; others have been caught in the crossfire and endured psychological & physical pain from shootings, as well. Over 485 have been injured from school shootings since the Columbine shooting. 

These numbers aren’t just from high school shootings either; of the 230 school shootings in the US, over ten of them have been targeted at elementary schools, like the devastating shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

To date, in terms of fatalities, the worst school shootings are: 

  • Virginia Tech 
  • Sandy Hook Elementary 
  • The Parkland, FL shooting
  • Red Lake shooting
  • Sante Fe High School shooting
  • Umpqua Community College shooting

Although the above shootings might’ve taken the most lives, there are instances all over the country and the world that have impacted families, friends, and colleagues that will last for a lifetime.

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