A few days ago, I wrote on my news blog, “Just Seeing How Long.. Stay Tuned.“
University of Texas Tower Massacre:
On August 1, 1966, after stabbing his mother and wife to death, Charles Whitman, a former Marine sharpshooter, took rifles and other weapons to the observation deck atop the Main Building tower at the University of Texas at Austin, then opened fire on persons indiscriminately on the surrounding campus and streets. Over the next 90 minutes he shot and killed 14 people (including one unborn child) and injured 31 others; while a final victim died in 2001 from the lingering effects of his wounds. The incident ended when police reached Whitman and shot him dead. As of February 2018, the attack is ranked as the eighth-deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
On August 2, an autopsy was conducted by Dr. Chenar (a neuropathologist at Austin State Hospital) at the funeral home. Urine and blood were removed to test for traces of amphetamines or other substances. During the autopsy, Chenar discovered a “pecan-sized” brain tumor, which he labeled an astrocytoma and which exhibited a small amount of necrosis. Chenar concluded that the tumor had no effect on Whitman’s actions. These findings were later revised by the Connally Commission: “It is the opinion of the task force that the relationship between the brain tumor and Charles J. Whitman’s actions on the last day of his life cannot be established with clarity.”
Columbine High School Massacre:
The Columbine High School massacre was a school shooting that occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, Jefferson County, Colorado, U.S. In addition to the shootings, the complex and highly planned attack involved a fire bomb to divert firefighters, propane tanks converted to bombs placed in the cafeteria, 99 explosive devices, and car bombs. The perpetrators, senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered 12 students and one teacher. They injured 21 additional people, and three more were injured while attempting to escape the school. After exchanging fire with responding police officers, the pair subsequently committed suicide.
The shooting resulted in calls for more gun control measures. In 2000 federal and state legislation was introduced that would require safety locks on firearms as well as ban the importation of high-capacity ammunition magazines. Though laws were passed that made it a crime to buy guns for criminals and minors, there was considerable controversy over legislation pertaining to background checks at gun shows.
Red Lake High School Massacre:
The Red Lake shootings were a series of spree killings that occurred on March 21, 2005 in two places on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Red Lake, Minnesota, United States. That morning, 16-year-old Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend at their home. After taking his grandfather’s police weapons and vest, Weise drove his grandfather’s police vehicle to Red Lake Senior High School, where he had been a student some months before. Weise shot and killed seven people at the school and wounded five others. The dead included an unarmed security guard at the entrance of the school, then a teacher and five students. After the police arrived, Weise exchanged gunfire with them. He was wounded and then died by suicide in a vacant classroom.
Derrick Brun, the security guard, was recognized for his bravery by President George W. Bush.
Virginia Tech Massacre:
The Virginia Tech shooting, also known as the Virginia Tech massacre, occurred on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in two separate attacks (another six people were injured escaping from classroom windows), approximately two hours apart, before committing suicide.
The federal government passed the first gun control law in more than a decade. The bill, H.R. 2640, mandates improvements in state reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in order to halt gun purchases by criminals, those declared mentally ill, and other people prohibited from possessing firearms.
Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, United States, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members. Prior to driving to the school, he shot and killed his mother at their Newtown home. As first responder’s arrived at the scene, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. The incident was the deadliest mass shooting at either a high school or grade school in U.S. history and the fourth-deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history.
The Manchin-Toomey Amendment to expand background checks on gun purchases legislation was introduced in the first session of 113th Congress It was defeated in the Senate on April 17, 2013.
Umpqua Community College Massacre:
The Umpqua Community College shooting occurred on October 1, 2015, at the UCC campus near Roseburg, Oregon, United States. Chris Harper-Mercer, a 26-year-old enrolled at the school, fatally shot an assistant professor and eight students in a classroom. Eight others were injured. Roseburg police detectives responding to the incident engaged Harper-Mercer in a brief shootout. After being wounded, he killed himself by shooting himself in the head. The mass shooting was the deadliest in Oregon’s modern history.
Although Harper-Mercer had suffered from substantial mental illness, given that he had never been involuntarily committed in Oregon, nothing in existing state law in effect just two days before the shooting would have prohibited him from purchasing firearms. On that day he passed a background check and bought a .380 semiautomatic handgun. However, an Oregon law passed in 2017 will make it easier, starting in 2018, for family or law enforcement to take guns away from those suffering from mental illness.
Stoneman Douglas High School Massacre:
On the afternoon of February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in the Miami metropolitan area. Seventeen people were killed and fifteen more were taken to hospitals, making it one of the world’s deadliest school massacres. The suspected perpetrator, Nikolas Cruz, was arrested shortly afterward and confessed to the shooting, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Trump offered his prayers and condolences to the victims’ families, writing, “no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school”. In a televised address to the nation, he mentioned school safety and mental health issues.
For over 50 years our country has been plagued by mass murders having access to high powered weapons. As you can see, there is a common thread in the governments response. Expand background checks or blame it on mental illness. I don’t think we will be seeing any difference this time. But its just a matter of time before we see another Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They were not mentally ill, they were just evil. Charles Whitman had a brain tumor and over 50 years ago the Connelly Commision said “the relationship between the brain tumor and Charles J. Whitman’s actions on the last day of his life cannot be established with clarity.” What we need is a ban. We cannot continue to let our politicians gorge themselves on contributions from the NRA, then peddle to us a failed background check policy and blamed based science.
*Over 110 people lost their lives in just this sampling.