A Perspective on School Shootings


[Caution: Confirming information in this editorial requires using a present date of January 21, 2014]

After the shooting at Purdue, curiosity got to me, and I decided to look up as much of the chronology of school shootings as I could find. I found Wikipedia's list system. I'm not thrilled with the way some of the events appear on the list. But I have no reason to think they skewed the list to create a bias. The following pertains to USA only.

From 1800 to 1990, there were never more than 27 school shootings in any one decade. True, there were fewer States and fewer schools during much of that time than there are today. But the list includes the acts of children imitating Jesse James, and the 27 was a hard maximum even when bringing a gun to school was as routine as bringing a lunch.

In 2013 alone, there were 30 school shootings. Yesterday's incident at Purdue was the fifth for 2014. This extends linearly to 87 for the year, though I recognize the flaws in that projection.

Except for an Indian attack in 1764, there were three incidents in history where 10 or more people died: Columbine (15), Newtown (28) and Virginia Tech (33).

Jack the Ripper receives eternal and world-wide legend status for killing five.

From 1991 to the Newtown shooting, there was one school shooting every 69 days average. Since the Newtown shooting, there was one school shooting every 10.9 days. September 28, 2013 marked the first day when there were two on the same day.

School shootings are happening with such regularity that they are starting to fly under the radar. They are no longer front page news.

Though we are hardly united in its understanding, I read 2 Thessalonians 2:7 as a notice that the Holy Spirit presently acts as a Restrainer of evil on the earth, but that there will be a day He will no longer restrain. With that, mankind will unite in proving that Jeremiah was right: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked."

If this trend continues, I could start to become persuaded that a phase-out of the ministry of restraint is in progress.

2014, On Beyond Sunday School, All Rights Reserved.