On Friday, December 14, 2012, a man armed with an assault rifle and two semi-automatic pistols entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and started shooting teachers and students. At the end of the massacre, 28 people had lost their lives. Six employees, the gunman’s mother and 20 children under the age of 7 were killed.
Sadly, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is only one of many deadly school massacres that litter American history.
The deadliest event in American school history occurred in 1927 but one could argue that we are currently living in the deadliest era. Two of the three deadliest massacres have occurred in the last five years. Five of the seven deadliest school massacres have occurred in the last 15 years.
More than 35 students have been killed in 2012 alone.
The Sandy Hook shooting has re-sparked an ongoing debate about gun control in the United States. In his emotional address to the nation, President Obama said that it was time to take action regardless of politics.
“As a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. An elementary school in Newtown. A shopping mall in Oregon. A house of worship in Wisconsin. A movie theater in Colorado. Countless street corners in places like Chicago and Philadelphia. Any of these neighborhoods could be our own. So we have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics.”
Here are the 10 deadliest school massacres in United States history.
The Bath School Disaster of 1927 – 45 Victims
Like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, most of the victims in the Bath School Disaster of 1927 were children. According to NPR, 38 schoolchildren, aged 7-14, were killed when a series of bombs went off in Bath Township, Michigan on May 18, 1927. The bombs also killed two teachers, four adults and another 58 people were wounded. The bomber, a school board member, was also killed during the deadliest school massacre in U.S. history.
Virginia Tech – 2007 – 33 Victims
A lone gunman killed 33 people, including himself, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, on April 16, 2007. It is considered the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in United States history.
Sandy Hook Elementary – 2012 – 28 victims
The country was shocked this week when news broke that 28 people had been killed in Newtown, Connecticut. A young man armed with multiple weapons shot and killed 20 students, six teachers, and his mother before taking his own life. It’s still unclear what drove the gunman to commit this horrid act.
University of Texas Massacre – 1966 – 16 Victims
On August 1, 1966, a former marine and engineering student took a sniper rifle to the top of a tower on the campus of University of Texas-Austin and started shooting people as they walked by. The shooter, targeting people at random, killed 16 people during his 96 minute rampage before he was shot and killed by police officers.
Columbine – 1999 – 15 Victims
Columbine is probably the most famous school shooting in American history. It’s been the subject of a Hollywood film and a popular documentary. The shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, occurred on April 20, 1999. Two shooters walked into the school armed with guns and homemade bombs and killed 12 students and a teacher. They both committed suicide at the end of their rampage.
Red Lake Senior High Massacre – 2005 – 8 Victims
The Red Lake Massacre started on the morning of March 21, 2005, when a student at Red Lake Senior High School shot and killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend. The student then drove to the high school in Red Lake, Minnesota, where he killed seven people on campus. The gunman also killed a teacher and a security guard.
Oikos University Shooting – 2012- 7 Victims
On April 2, 2012, a lone gunmen entered Oikos University, a small Christian school in Oakland, California and killed seven people. According to police, the gunman ordered his classmates to “line up against the wall” and told them that he was going to “kill everyone.” The gunmen continued to fire as he left the campus and was arrested several hours later at a grocery store.
California State University Shooting At Fullerton – 1976 – 7 Victims
A custodian at California State University’s library used a semi-automatic rifle to kill seven people on July 12, 1976. The gunman was apparently enraged because he thought someone was forcing his wife to appear in pornography films. A court later determined that the gunman was not sane.
Amish School shooting – 2006 – 6 Victims
On October 2, 2006, a gunman took several students hostage at West Nickel Mines School, a one room school house in an Amish village in Pennsylvania. He executed five girls between the ages of 7 and 13 before turning the gun on himself.
Northern Illinois University – 2008 -6 Victims
A sociology student at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, entered a large auditorium filled with about 120 students wearing a shirt with the word “terrorist” on the front and carrying several weapons. The gunman used a 9mm Glock 19, a 12 gauge shotgun, and several other weapons to shoot in kill five students from the front of the stage. Another 21 people were injured during the incident. The gunman took his own life when police arrived.
Sadly, the incidents described in the article above only account for a few of the tragic events that have plagued America. Earlier this year, a gunman killed dozens of people at a movie theater in Colorado. In Wisconsin, a man shot and killed six people worshiping at a Sikh Temple. And just last month, a murder-suicide rocked the NFL and sparked a debate over gun control, concussions and the priorities of America.
Let’s hope that this list doesn’t have to be updated anytime soon.