Download Here (4.1MB PDF)
right click and save as
Thirty-eight children were killed in a mass murder at their school along with six adults. 58 people were injured in the carnage.
No, I didn’t get the number of dead wrong in the Newtown, Connecticut school killings. The incident I’m referring to took place in Bath, Michigan to be specific. In 1927.
Despite what our impressions are about the “rise” in mass murders in the United States, their peak occurred in 1929 -- two years after the Bath School Disaster (as it’s referred to) was carried out by a school board treasurer who was defeated in an election to become town clerk.
In an attempt to bring some calmness to the debate about “what to do?” after the Newtown shootings, as we we grapple with what “meaningful action” (as the President put it) to take after the murder of 20 children, as people fill their Facebook page with calls for gun control - and conversely - with calls to arm teachers, I think we first need to know the facts:
1) Mass murder is not more common today than in recent decades. In fact, incidents have seen a decline over the last decade. When you compare the 1990s to the 2000s, there was actually a 38 percent decline in mass murder incidents in the U.S. (42 in the 1990s incidents vs. 26 in the 2000s)
2) Before Newtown, the three worst K-12 shootings took place in countries other than the U.S. -- Britain and Germany to be exact.
3) Since 1950, with one very notable exception, every public shooting in the U.S. in which three or more people have been killed has taken place where guns are banned: schools, malls, movie theaters etc. The aforementioned exception is the killing of six people just outside of a suburban Tucson, Arizona Safeway in January 2011 - the same attack that left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords severely injured.
4) The United States is 26th in the world when it comes to a percentage of its residents killed by someone using a firearm. This, despite the fact that the U.S. is #1 when it comes to gun ownership worldwide.
5) Governments are much more efficient mass murderers than private citizens. The number of civilians killed by governments (and their agents) versus the number of civilians killed by private citizens is like comparing a lake to a bucket of water.
Whether you are for the strictest of gun controls or believe that the Constitution recognizes an unfettered access to arms for individuals, we owe it to the 20 children killed in Newtown - and to all the children who preceded them in death at the hands of an adult - to know what the Hell it is we are facing before trying to tackle the problem.
If we don’t, it may lead to more dead kids, not fewer.