Mass School Shootings : A New Phenomenon Within The Past 50 Years

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Table 1, provided by ifoplease (2015) gives details of shool shooting with over two deaths occuring in america over the last decade. It helps to put context just how deadly these events can be. “Shooting massacres” in school settings, a new phenomenon within the past 50 years, are extremely rare events. Over 23 years, 1990-2012, 215 fatal school shooting incidents resulted in 363 deaths, equivalent to 0.12% of national firearm homicides during that time period …… Among these, just three shooting rampages – Columbine High School, Virginia Tech University, and Sandy Hook Elementary School – accounted for 72 (53.3%) of these 135 deaths. The frequency of random/ rampage shooting incidents in schools has remained within the narrow range of 0 to 3 episodes per year.” (Shultz, et al., 2013, p. 84) From this quote, it is clear that, despite worldwide news coverage, mass school shootings or what may be described as rampage shootings, are actually rare events. They only make up a small proportion of the thousands of gun deaths per year in America as a whole. In looking to explain the characteristics behind school shootings, Warnick (2015) argues that it is necessary to recognise that schools are places of both real and symbolic violence, in which force and power of the authority dictate rules. Combining this with the fact that schools are so often places of high expectations, hope, refuge and friendship, when these expectations are not met, it is noted that bitter resentment from a

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