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UNITED STATES 20 Apr 2013 Columbine school shooting 14 years ago

On 20 Apr 1999, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, with semiautomatic rifle

April 20, 2013 - NULL

UNITED STATES 20 Apr 2013 Columbine school shooting 14 years ago

On 20 Apr 1999, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, with semiautomatic rifles, pistols, and several explosives. In less than 20 minutes they killed 12 fellow students and a teacher and wounded 21 others, then took their own lives. Columbine stood as the deadliest US public school shooting on record until 20 first-graders and six adults were slain by a gunman in Dec 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The timing of the fourteenth anniversary can

UNITED STATES 20 Apr 2013 Columbine school shooting 14 years ago

On 20 Apr 1999, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, with semiautomatic rifles, pistols, and several explosives. In less than 20 minutes they killed 12 fellow students and a teacher and wounded 21 others, then took their own lives. Columbine stood as the deadliest US public school shooting on record until 20 first-graders and six adults were slain by a gunman in Dec 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The timing of the fourteenth anniversary can be counted to turn up the volume on the argument about how schools can best prevent gun violence, and invites an assessment of which of the gun control measures being debated in Congress and elsewhere - such as a ban on assault weapons, universal background checks and limits on ammunition clips -- might have prevented either tragedy or mass shootings in general.

A Mother Jones report in February points out that since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass shootings across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. Twenty-five of these mass shootings have occurred since 2006, and seven of them took place in 2012. These include a 2012 incident in Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people were killed and 58 were wounded by a gunman who opened fire during the midnight screening of a Batman film. Then just a few days beyond the eighth anniversary of the Columbine tragedy, a lone gunman, a student, shot and killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus and wounded 17 before committing suicide. The incident was described at the time as the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in US history.

The Huffington Post article analyzes and classifies mass shootings according to whether they were perpetrated with assault-type weapons, whether purchases were legal or illegal and the other factors commonly considered in debating what measures to take to prevent the tragedies in schools and elsewhere.

Other countries, notably Australia, Canada and Great Britain, have suffered mass killings of a similar kind and, as a result, have passed mainly effective restrictions on gun ownership. US deaths have not spurred anything of the kind. The National Rifle Association lobbies effectively against almost every measure to control guns as a violation of the Second Amendment of the US constitution. The last major gun legislation Congress passed was the 1994 assault-weapons ban. The ban lapsed in 2004 due to NRA lobbying. The organization's blanket recommendations for preventing gun violence include "arming the good guys."

The Columbine deaths set off a national debate on how to end gun violence in schools, and many throughout the country invested in private security forces and metal detectors. The Sandy Hook tragedy has amped up recommendations of a similar kind. After the Sandy Hook tragedy, NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre argued that the answer to gun violence in schools "is an armed security force, made up of trained volunteers stationed at every school across the country that can protect students." Recommendations seen elsewhere included arming teachers.

Following the Columbine killings, most states started to require school emergency management plans, according to a Huffington Post report in Jan 2013, though the types of scenarios and preparation vary widely. And partly in response to Columbine, the US Secret Service completed published its The 10 Best Security Tools for School Violence Prevention. The publication grew from the agency's Safe School Initiative in 2002, a study of school shootings and other school-based attacks conducted in collaboration with the US Department of Education. The study examined school shootings in the United States as far back as 1974, through the end of the school year in 2000, analyzing a total of 37 incidents involving 41 student attackers. Some of its widely published findings called for more security, but most advocated preparedness drills and much more vigilance and awareness of troubled students. To protect schools better, students need to feel more comfortable to speak out, researchers quoted in a US News report reviewing the 10 years after Columbine.

The Sandy Hook shootings happened despite the measures prompted by the Columbine tragedy, begging the question of whether anything short of a total ban on guns can prevent mass killings in the country's schools and public places. (WRITTEN MAR 2013)

KEYWORDS: Columbine school shooting, Columbine school mass killings, Columbine anniversary, Columbine tragedy anniversary, April 1999, years after Columbine, Sandy Hook tragedy, school violence, school violence prevention, school shooting drills, school security tools, school violence prevention, school shootings, school-based attacks, 10 Best Security Tools for School Violence Prevention, gun laws, gun ban, gun control, gun debate

RELATED READING:

School Safety, 10 Years After Columbine (USA Today)
http://www.usnews.com/education/articles/2009/04/17/school-safety-10-years-after-columbine

The 10 Best Security Tools for School Violence Prevention (US Secret Service 2002)
http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac_ssi.shtml

A Guide to Mass Shootings in America (Mother Jones 15 Dec 2012)
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map

The 10 Best Security Tools for School Violence Prevention (Psychology Today 28 Jan 2013)
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-act-violence/201301/the-10-best-security-tools-school-violence-prevention

School Shooting Drills: How Realistic Should They Be? (AP/Huff Post 31 Jan 2013)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/31/school-shooting-drills-ho_n_2589517.html

Date written/update: 2013-04-20