The latest school shooting occurred last week in Santa Fe, Texas, in which 8 students and 2 teachers were killed. A host of others were injured.
It’s appalling to think that going to school this year in 2018 has been more dangerous than going to battle (credits here). The Onion, an online comedic newspaper, publishes the same article every time there is a school shooting in the United States. The article is entitled ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. You can find this viral article here. These are just two tidbits of information I found on the first page of Google after entering the search words “School Shootings”.
As a member of Generation X (people in their mid to late 30’s, 40’s, and early 50’s born between 1965 and 1984), when I think of school shootings, I think of Columbine. This school shooting occurred two weeks before I graduated from high school. I remember talking about it intensely at school for a week with faculty, with fellow students, and with my parents at home. The Columbine massacre was and is a horrible tragedy. However, we all had the feeling that Columbine was isolated—that it was something that would never happen again, at least on that scale. We were all wrong.
In this article, I will:
- Give a brief overview of school shootings in the United States, and statistically show how school shootings have escalated in recent years,
- Synopsize different methods for preventing subsequent school shootings, and
- ridicule life insurance agents who use the hysteria associated with school shootings to sell more life insurance policies.
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So, what is the history of school shootings in the United States?
My Generation—Generation X—typically thinks of Columbine, which occurred in 1999 as the first real school shooting, but school shootings in the United States occurred way before Columbine.
Here is a linear breakdown of landmark school shootings in the United States to present:
- 1966—“Charles Joseph Whitman, a former U.S. Marine, shot and killed 16 people from a university tower at the University of Texas in Austin before being shot by police.
- 1999—“Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. They killed 12 students and one teacher and wounded more than 20 others before killing themselves in the school’s library.
- 2006—Milk truck driver Charles C. Roberts, 32, enters a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and isolates the female students in the classroom before methodically executing them. He kills five girls and wounds several more. Roberts then commits suicide.
- 2007—Seung Hui Cho, a 23-year-old student, went on a shooting spree at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., killing 32 people, before killing himself. It was the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
- 2012—Adam Lanza, 20, gunned down 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., before killing himself.” (credits here)
- February 2018—Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School on Valentines Day.
- May 2018—Dimitrios Pagourtzis killed 10 people—eight students and two faculty—with a pistol and a shotgun. This is the latest mass school shooting that occurred last week.
This list only comprises the mass school shootings that have headlined the news; it doesn’t go into detail on the plethora of smaller school shootings that are not extensively covered by mainstream news outlets.
According to this source, “More people have died or been injured in mass school shootings in the US in the past 18 years than in the entire 20th century.”
Sadly, mass school shootings are on the rise. Which brings me to my next point:
How do we prevent mass school shootings from happening?
Here are some of the solutions posed to stopping mass school shootings:
- TEACHERS WITH GUNS—One of the solutions proposed is to arm teachers with guns so that teachers will be the first line of defense against school shooters. At first thought, this makes sense. But then the image of my kindergarten teacher who literally could neither hurt a fly nor have the coordination to wield a gun against an armed gunman comes to mind. I don’t believe this is a very good solution to the problem.
- GREATER GUN CONTROL—The gun control debate has multiple facets. Here are two: a) raising the age to purchase a gun. This would definitely decrease mass school shootings by limiting the number of students in schools who can legally purchase weapons, and b) limiting the types of weapons that can be purchased by civilians. Assault rifles seem to be the weapon of choice for many school shooters so making it illegal for people to purchase assault rifles would lower casualties in that regard. However, it must be noted, school school shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis gunned down ten people in the latest school shooting with a shotgun and a pistol.
- LONGER PRISON SENTENCES FOR SCHOOL SHOOTERS—Longer prison sentences for school shooters—or being sentenced to death—has been proposed. While this may have some deterrent effect, most school shooters either commit suicide at the scene of the crime or are gunned by police.
- VIOLENT COMPUTER GAMES AND HARDCORE MUSIC—Regulating the violence of computer games and censoring the lyrics of hardcore music has been proposed as a solution to curbing mass school shootings. I remember this was a big topic in the aftermath of Columbine with musician Marilyn Manson.
- BANNING RITALIN—Oliver North, the NRA’S incoming President, has recently tied the increase in school shootings to the proliferation of Ritalin, a medication designed to reduce ADHD symptoms. An article on it is here. Ritalin calms people who have ADHD—it doesn’t speed them up and convince them to buy a gun to kill people. Ritalin does the opposite of what Oliver North is suggesting. Dumb argument.
- LISTENING—We don’t listen to people anymore. We may hear them—but we don’t listen. We’re too fixated on portraying a perfect image of ourselves on social media then actually connecting with another human, outside of our immediate close friends and family members. If someone appears down, sad, depressed, etc. ask that person how their doing. Let them vent. Don’t shame them. Don’t moralize them. Most of the teens who commit these atrocities are not the “face of evil” that the news portrays them—that’s just worn-out yellow journalism that doesn’t help to solve the problem. Mass school shooters are primarily kids who no one talks to, who are loners, and who get bullied. Let’s get things clear—I’m not justifying their actions. Their actions are reprehensible. What I am saying is that by the very act of truly listening to someone who feels like they have no where else to turn can truly save lives by either a) helping that person get on a better path or b) alerting authorities.
What about life insurance agents who use school shootings to sell more life insurance policies?
Just like the false contractors who went to New Orleans after Katrina to rebuild homes only to defraud people from their money and never rebuild the houses, bottom-feeder life insurance “agents” come out of the woodwork to capitalize on the hysteria created from school shootings by selling polices to the vulnerable. I hate these people—these “agents”. Life insurance is benevolently designed to help families overcome the loss of a loved one; life insurance is not designed to fraudulently manipulate and pull on the incredibly tender heart strings of the family members of a shooting victim. These bottom-feeders give my profession, and the whole life insurance industry a black eye. To reiterate, I hate these “agents”.
I hope this has been an informative article on the history of school shootings in the United States, methods proposed to eliminate school shootings, and my opinion on the life insurance “agents” who use school shooting to sell policies.
If you need quotes for term life insurance, you can generate your own life insurance quotes here.
Until next time and until next life insurance article,
Life Insurance Agent for Generation X