Mass Shootings and The United States

Hannah Larson

Staff Writer

*This article contains descriptive content pertaining to mass shooting incidents that have occured in the U.S., viewer discretion is advised.*

On March 16, news of yet another shooting surfaced when a gunman attacked salons in Atlanta, Georgia. Only six days later, a shooting also occurred at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. Unfortunately, these events are no strangers to this nation and have been ever-present in society’s mind since the Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland shootings.

PC: Pexels

Columbine Shooting

In Littleton, Colorado on the morning of April 20, 1999, students and teachers left for school thinking it would be a “normal” day. Instead, they were met with horrors that will continue to live in infamy. At 11:19 a.m., two young gunmen started targeting students outside the school when their bomb failed to go off in the cafeteria. 

Soon after they moved toward the library where fifty-two students, two teachers and two librarians were hiding. Out of the fifty-six, ten were killed and twelve were wounded. 

By 11:35 a.m., thirteen people had been killed and twenty injured. During the entire massacre, 188 rounds of ammunition had been used by the culprits. It was speculated that the shooters intentionally chose athletes, minorities and Christians. The victims are Cassie Bernall, 17; Steven Curnow, 14; Corey DePooter, 17; Kelly Fleming, 16; Matthew Kechter, 16; Daniel Mauser, 15; Daniel Rohrbough, 15; William “Dave” Sanders, 47; Rachel Scott, 17; Isaiah Shoels, 18; John Tomlin, 16; Lauren Townsend, 18, and Kyle Velasquez, 16.

Sandy Hook Shooting

In Newtown Connecticut on the early morning of December 4, 2012, parents dropped off their children at elementary   school not knowing the terrors that would soon erupt. At 9:35 a.m., the twenty-year-old gunmen began shooting at the locked entrance doors to the school. He was armed with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle and ten magazines with 30 rounds each.

 At first, many faculty members didn’t recognize the sound which made Principal Dawn Hochsprung, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and Natalie Hammond want to investigate. They quickly encountered the man and alerted other staff of the danger. 

Gunshots were heard over the intercom as students and staff tried to hide for a period of four hours. A substitute teacher, Lauren Rousseau attempted to hide her students in the bathroom when the shooter entered the classroom. Herself, Rachel D’Avino, and fifteen other students were all fatally shot in the bathroom. 

Only a six-year-old survived by hiding in the corner and playing dead. The perpetrator moved to another classroom and then eventually the auditorium. Teachers including Victoria Leigh Soto and Anne Marie Murphy shielded their students from the gunfire.

The last shot happened at 9:40 a.m. making the event a total of five minutes. Twenty-six people were killed, of those were twenty children and six staff members. The victims are Jessica Rekos, 6; Olivia Engel, 6; Avielle Richman, 6; Jesse Lewis, 6; Grace Audrey McDonnel, 7; Noah Pozner, 6; Ana Marquez-Greene, 6; Emilie Parker, 6; Charlotte Bacon, 6; Catherine Hubbard, 6; Josephine Gay, 7; Daniel Barden, 7; James Mattioli, 6; Caroline Previdi, 6; Allison Wyatt, 6; Victoria Leigh Soto, 27; Lauren Rousseau, 30; Dawn Hochsprung, 47; Mary Sherlach, 56; Rachel Davino, 29; Anne Marie Murphy, 52; Dylan Hockley, 6; Madeleine Hsu, 6; Chase Kowalski, 7; Jack Pinto, 6; and Benjamin Wheeler, 6.

Parkland Shooting

Valentine’s Day is filled with little traditions to celebrate loved ones. Families woke up on February 14, 2018, thinking their day would be filled with those plans. Instead, they were met with the terrifyingly unexpected; a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The suspect entered the premises armed with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle and several magazines. 

He went into building 12 where he started shooting throughout the hallways and classrooms. Some victims weren’t able to hide since several classrooms weren’t equipped with places to seek shelter. The shooter left the gun at the school and fled the scene by blending in with other students. 

In an effort to hide students from the gunfire, three teachers were killed. Scott Beigel, a geography teacher, tried to unlock a classroom door to allow kids to escape and hide from the shooter. An assistant football coach, Aaron Feis, died while shielding two students from the bullets. The school’s athletic director, Chris Hixon, ran toward the sound of gunfire and attempted to help kids that were trying to run away. One heroic student, Peter Wang, sacrificed himself by holding the door open for others to quickly escape. In doing so, he encountered the perpetrator who fatally shot him. 

The rampage only lasted six minutes, seventeen people were killed and seventeen were wounded. The victims are  Alyssa Alhadeff, 14; Scott Beigel, 35; Martin Duque, 14; Nicholas Dworet, 17; Aaron Feis, 37; Jaime Guttenberg, 14; Chris Hixon, 49; Luke Hoyer, 15; Cara Loughran, 14; Gina Montalto, 14; Joaquin Oliver, 17; Alaina Petty, 14; Meadow Pollack, 18; Helena Ramsay, 17; Alex Schachter, 14; Carmen Schentrup, 16; and Peter Wang, 15.

These are just three horrific examples from a list of 172 shooting incidents that have occurred in this country’s history since the year 2000. The most recent being just days ago in Georgia and Colorado. Among those are 1,125 fatalities, which is the same as losing one person every day to gun violence for almost 3.5 years. The reality is quite alarming to many individuals, including UNCG student Lydia Pate. “It felt like we had made progress…considering the lack of stories I had seen in the news…mass shootings occur much more frequently than we realize and become more normalized with every incident… I felt so many emotions when I heard about the shootings…we should have already found and applied a solution…I believe gun regulation is an important step to take in reducing mass shootings,” said Lydia. 

The last time a gun control law was passed, was over 25 years ago during the Clinton administration. However, the ban was temporary, only lasting for roughly ten years before expiring in 2004.

Since then, the federal government hasn’t made any considerable amount of progress regarding gun violence. 

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