About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Your first visit?
Contact us
External links
Good books
Visitor essays
Our forum
New essays
Other site features
Buy a CD
Vital notes

World religions
Who is a Christian?
Shared beliefs
Handle change
Bible topics
Bible inerrancy
Bible harmony
Interpret Bible
Beliefs, creeds
Da Vinci code
Revelation, 666
Other religions
Other spirituality
Cults and NRMs
Comparing religions

About all religions
Important topics
Basic information
Gods & Goddesses
Handle change
Confusing terms
World's end
One true religion?
Seasonal topics
Science v. Religion
More info.

Absolute truth

Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
Ten commandm'ts
Assisted suicide
Death penalty
Equal rights - gays & bi's
Gay marriage
Origins of the species
Sex & gender
Spanking kids
Stem cells
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news


Religious Tolerance logo



horizontal rule

Sponsored link.

horizontal rule

Topics covered in this essay:


Are shootings the fundamental problem?


How many, where and when?


Map where recent shootings have happened

horizontal rule

Are school shootings the fundamental problem?

Enormous public concern has been concentrated on recent school shootings. Some schools now resemble concentration camps. They have with security personnel and metal detectors in place, to detect armed students. But this unease may not be attacking the real problem. There appear to be at least two serious social phenomena which are responsible for many more deaths of young people than school shootings: 

The average death toll per day is about 20 youths -- more than that of the Columbine disaster, and more than the average number of youth shooting deaths per year in schools. Considering how many hours each year that teenagers spend in an educational institution, it would appear that they are much safer in school than out. This is not to minimize the importance of the Littleton and other similar tragedies; we are simply trying to put the problem of youth homicide in perspective. As serious as school shootings are, the body count is very small when compared to the total death toll.

Killings outside of schools: As shocking as mass murders at schools are, they pale in comparison to the numbers of murders outside of educational institutions. Data from two sources indicate: 
bullet1992/3 and 1993/4 school years: there were 106 murders at schools nationwide. 1
bullet1992-1993 calendar years: Juvenile murderers (age 5 to 19) in the U.S. totaled 7,000 2
Youth suicides: Comparing data from the same two sources
bullet1992/3 and 1993/4 school years: there were 106 murders at schools nationwide. 1
bullet1992-1993 calendar years:
bullet4,000 juveniles age 5 to 19 committed suicide. 2
bulletMost of these are older teens. However, at least 300 children aged 10 to 14 kill themselves in the U.S. each year. 3This number appears to be increasing rapidly.

The average death toll per week is about 77 youths -- more than twice the average number of youth murders per year inside schools. One major group of contributing factors appears to be present in both school shootings and suicides by school-aged youth: long term teasing, taunting, marginalization, and exclusion. This, coupled with depression, can push students over the edge into suicide. George Hunter of the Detroit News explained this clearly. The title of his recent article is: "Teasing and taunting led girl to end her life: Pressures that prompted mass shootings also spur quiet suicides." 3 He discusses the suicide of a shy 12 year old student, Tempest Smith. Some schools administrations are now attacking the relentless teasing of some students by others. Hopefully, this action will lead to both fewer school murders and fewer suicides in future years.

horizontal rule

How many, where and when?

On 1999-APR-20, two teenage students entered Columbine High School in Littleton, CO armed with a handgun, a rifle, shotguns and home-made bombs. The eventual death toll was 15. This included 12 fellow students, one teacher, and the two terrorists (the latter by suicide). In addition, 20 students were injured, some very seriously.

The Columbine tragedy was the most serious single incident of school killing in U.S. history. It galvanized public attention as no similar crime had done in recent memory. But it was not an isolated event. Murders of and by students appear to be a chronic problem in U.S. schools: 1

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the three school years prior to 1995-JUL, there was an average of one multiple-victim event per year. In the three school years following 1995-JUL, there were been an average of five multiple-victim events per year. 4 Mass killings seemed definitely to be becoming more common, even as the total number of murder victims per year appears to be going down. However, since 1999, there appears to be a steady decline in incidences. Reasons probably include increased security precautions at schools and greater suppression of bullying on campus.

Recent school shootings resulting in fatalities or serious injuries, and attempted murder in North American schools include:


Location Date Fatalities Injuries Suspect age Weapon
Moses Lake, WA FEB-2 2 stud/1 teach. 1 14 Assault rifle


Location Date Fatalities Injuries Suspect age Weapon
Bethel, AK FEB-19 1 stud/1 Princ. 2 16 Shotgun
Pearl, MS OCT-1 2 stud/1 Parent 7 16 Knife, rifle
W. Paducah, KY DEC-1 3 students 5 15 .22 cal handgun
Stamps, AR DEC-15 None 2 14 Unknown


Location Date Fatalities Injuries Suspect age Weapon
Jonesboro, AR MAR-24 4 stud/1 teach 10 11,13 3 handguns, 3 rifles
Edinboro, PA APR-24 1 teacher 3 14 Gun
Springfield OR MAY-21 2 stud/2 parent 25 15 Semi-auto rifle
Richmond, VA JUN-15 None 2 14 Semi-auto pistol


Location Date Fatalities Injuries Suspect age Weapon
Notus, ID APR-16 None 0 or 1; sources differ 16 Shotgun
Littleton, CO APR-20 14 stud/1 teach 20 17 & 18 Gun, rifle, shotguns, bombs...
Taber, AB, Canada APR-30 1 student 1 14 .22 cal handgun
Conyers, GA MAY-20 None 6 15 Rifle, 357 magnum
Houston, TX NOV-17 None 1 Unknown Gun
Deming, NM NOV-19 1 student None 12 Unknown
Ft. Gibson, OK DEC-05 None 4 13 Handgun


Location Date Fatalities Injuries Suspect age Weapon
Mt. Morris, MI FEB-29 1 student None 6 ! .32 cal semiautomatic gun
Lake Worth, FL MAY-26 1 teacher None 13 Handgun
New Orleans, LA SEP-26 None 2 wounded    


Location Date Fatalities Injuries Suspect age Weapon
San Diego, CA MAR-5 2 students 14 15 .22 cal handgun
Williamsport, PA MAR-7 None 1 student 14 "gun"
Granite Hills, CA MAR-22 None 1 teacher
3 students
Gary, IN MAR-30 1 student None 17  
Caro, MI NOV-12 Self None 17  


Location Date Fatalities Injuries Suspect age Weapon
New York, NY JAN-15 None 2 students    


Location Date Fatalities Injuries Suspect age Weapon
Red Lion, PA APR-24 Principal, self - 14  
Cold Spring, MN SEP-24 2 students students 1  


Location Date Fatalities Injuries Suspect age Weapon
Bemidji, MN MAR-21 ! guard, 1 teacher, 5 students, self 5 students 16 2 handguns, 1 shotgun
Jacksboro, TN NOV-09 1 principal 2 assistant principals, self 15 1 handgun

horizontal rule

Sponsored link:

horizontal rule

Where shooting incidences have happened in North America (1996 to 2005):

horizontal rule

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Report: "Overhyped violence leads to reactionary law," 1998-AUG-10, Education USA, Page 5-6. Cited in "School Violence," at: http://web.missouri.edu/~c713357/

  2. "Joint Justice Department and Education Department report shows most crime against students occurs away from schools," 1998-OCT-15. See: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/iscs98fs.txt

  3. George Hunter, "Teasing and taunting led girl to end her life; Pressures that prompted mass shootings also spur quiet suicides," The Detroit News, 2001-MAR-7, at: http://www.detroitnews.com/2001/

  4. "Facts about violence among youth and violence in schools," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at: http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/fact/violence.htm

  5. "A Time Line of Recent Worldwide School Shootings," InfoPlease, at: http://www.infoplease.com/

horizontal rule

Originally written: 1999-JUN 
Copyright © 1999, 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2005-NOV-24
Author: B.A. Robinson
Map courtesy of ITA's Quick Maps. Used with permission.

line.gif (538 bytes)

horizontal rule

Go to the previous page, or go to the school shootings menu, or choose:

Web ReligiousTolerance.org

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Purchase a CD of this web site

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.