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How Does Friday’s Mass Murder Compare To Four Others?

First Funerals Held For Victims Of CT Elementary School Massacre
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

My family was deeply saddened over the weekend. My wife and I continued to watch our little boy walking around the house and looking at each other without saying a word and knowing what was on our minds.

We were both thinking about two things at the same time. How lucky we were that he was with us and also trying to imagine what we would do if something terrible were to happen to him.

In trying to sort out emotions that I felt for the parents that lost their child on Friday, I also wondered what would cause a person to gun down innocent children at a school. I thought of past school shootings and took a look at history.

Here are the five deadliest mass murders that took place on school grounds. Please note that I am not ranking them in any way other than by dates in which they occurred. We will start with the most recent and go back in time.

  • On December 14, 2012, a gunman killed twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut, before committing suicide. The gunman, identified by authorities as 24 year old Adam Lanza, had first killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their nearby Newtown home. He then drove to the school and shot the students and employees before killing himself. The total death toll was 28, including the perpetrator. Two adults were also injured and treated.
  • The Virginia Tech massacre was a school shooting that took place on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in two separate attacks, approximately two hours apart, before committing suicide. Another 6 people were injured escaping from classroom windows.
  • The Columbine High School massacre was a school shooting which occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Colorado. In the school shooting, two senior students named Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered a total of 12 students and one teacher. They also injured 21 further students, with three other people being injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair then committed suicide.
  • Charles Joseph Whitman was an engineering student and former Marine who killed 13 people and wounded 32 others in a shooting rampage located in and around the Tower of the University of Texas in Austin on the afternoon of August 1, 1966. Three persons were killed inside the university’s tower, with 11 others murdered after Whitman fired at random targets from the 28th-floor observation deck of the Main Building. Whitman was shot and killed by Austin Police Officer, Houston McCoy.
    Prior to starting the shootings at the University of Texas, Whitman had murdered both his wife and mother in Austin.
  • And here’s one that dates way back to the 1920’s. The Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927, which killed 38 elementary school children, two teachers, and four other adults; at least 58 people were injured. The perpetrator killed his wife first, and later committed suicide in his last explosion. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades ranging from 7 to 14 years of age. The bomber was the school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe, 55, who was angry after being defeated in the spring 1926 election for township clerk.

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