I'll get to the "why" shortly. First, the undeniable fact is that the number of school shootings is increasing.* Just in the last few days, there have been two--one stymied by hero Mark Dallas at Dixon High School in north-central Illinois and two days later the one at a Santa Fe High School near Houston in which 10 people were killed.
Add those to the growing list of recent shootings in American schools that dates back to pre-Revolutionary War days. In the 1950s--my 8 to 18 years--there were a total of 18 shootings, not all of them fatal. Like the first in the decade, in which a "16-year-old boy was shot in the wrist and abdomen at the [New York] Public School 141 dance during an argument with a former classmate." Some were accidental and one involved the fatal shooting by a police officer of a 50-year-old intruder to a girls' gym class in Manhattan. None were the tragic, random and mass shootings that we're witnessing today.
So, why? My answer will anger progressives who see the availability of guns as the main, if not the sole, reason children are randomly killing scores of other children in schools.
It's the culture, stupid.
Sure, more guns are available today, legally and illegally. Street punks fighting each other in gang wars in the 1950s used knives, chains and zip guns, not semi-automatic rifles. Even though a great number of World War II souvenir guns was available. The highly publicized mob war shootings, such as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, involved adults who targeted other outfit criminals, not teens.
But the other big thing that has changed as much or more is today's individualistic, materialistic and violent culture that is poisoning America. I'll leave it to the defenders of that culture to fruitlessly challenge the obvious. I don't have the time or the inclination to engage in their nonsense.
I fear that mass, random school shootings of innocents have become so ingrained in our culture that it has become a common practice, without any chance of soon abating. Just as it took years for this violent culture to take root in America, it will take years, maybe decades to cleanse it. And most of all, it will take a huge cultural shift.
Sure, the '50s were no Valhalla, but some things were better. My biggest fear then was that Sister Joseph Marie would find out that I hadn't done my homework. Not that some wacko would gun me down.
*For a different view, read: "There Is No ‘Epidemic of Mass School Shootings" by Eric Levitz in New York magazine. Here's a description of the earliest shooting in 1764:
Enoch Brown school massacre: Perhaps the earliest shooting to happen on school or college property, in what would become the United States, was the notorious Enoch Brown school massacre during the Pontiac's War. Four Delaware (Lenape) American Indians entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, and shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown and nine children (reports vary). Only two children survived. However, this incident may only incidentally be considered a school "shooting" because only the teacher was shot, while the other nine victims were killed with melee weapons.
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