School Shooting and the Impact on the Survivor’s Mental Health
This research paper, focus on the worst school shootings that they have had in the United Sates and It’s impact. Giving the readers a brief description of each tragedy and the back ground information of the shooter along with the undetected impact on its the survivors. I was able to use various News outlets such at CNN, ABC, Youtube, Nightline and other reliable sources to again knowledge on this topic. I was also able to relate to the text due to two situations that recently took place in my community. Having an understanding and bring awareness to gun violence are some points that will be showcased though this paper.
In the year 2018 there have been over 65 school shootings as of October 4, 2018 in the United States of America, matching that of last year some of which many individuals have died and others where they shooter was unsuccessful as noted on ABC 15.com. Gun violence have risen over the years causing many students, educators, parents and concerned citizens’ to be nervous, sacred and ready for a change. Due to the increase amount of school shooting awareness has been made through social media, news, victims and survivors speaking out against gun violence.
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As a country we are faced with numerous circumstances that affect us, but none can compare to the way in which gun violence in schools has impacted our nation. Just this week there were two different situations in my community that affected our youths in a school. On Wednesday October 19 in two separate schools in Brooklyn New York, a gun was found, one gun was found in the bathroom of an Elementary School and other was found in Maxwell High School in an intruders book bag, this intruder disguised himself by wearing the school’s uniform.
With this hitting close to home in made me want to get a better understanding as to what has occurred in the past and the impact it has had on us the witness, bystanders, surviving victims and the deceased family members. The elementary school where the gun was found was only a few block away form my place of work, but what was more so disturbing was the mention of two parents that were shooting outside of the school because of a disagreement that they had.
As I began to write my paper I decided to take you the reader through a time line of 11 of the worst school shooting that occurred in the United Stated States. I wanted to go back in time and see if there had been a trend or if there is a time frame when the perpetrators decide to commit these heinous crimes. Before I go into details I wanted to inform you that gun violence is the leading cause of premature death in the U.S. Guns kill more than 38,000 people and cause nearly 85,000 injuries each year.
As a longtime advocate for violence prevention policies, APHA recognizes a comprehensive public health approach to addressing this growing crisis is necessary (apha.org). More so, along with APHA are the families and survivors of past shootings that are bringing awareness to the growth on gun violence and our youths. During the time period of 1976 – 2018 the United States of America experience 11 of the worst school shooting.
Starting with Bath School on May 18, 1927, when a school board treasurer, Andrew Kehoe, killed 38 elementary school students and six adults at the Bath Township, Michigan, elementary school when he set off an explosion. Kehoe then killed his wife and firebombed his farm, and then killed himself by detonating a final device in his truck. Arnie Bernstein, a Chicago writer, spent three years researching and writing the book “”Bath Massacre: America’s First School Bombing.”” He studied Kehoe’s history and pieced together first-hand accounts of his life in Bath.
He said it’s not accurate to say Kehoe committed the mass murder-suicide simply because he was angry over increased property taxes that funded the school’s construction or because he disliked fellow school board members or administrators. Bernstein believes Kehoe was a psychopath, whose logic will never make sense to anyone. The crime was “”meticulously”” planned, he said, and dynamite he set off on his farm just months earlier on New Year’s Eve was likely a kind of “”dress rehearsal”” for the school bombing (Lansigstate Journal).
Survivor Irene Babcock was 19 at the time of this massacre she recalls saying home that day because she had a sore throat. Irene’s two siblings were in the school at the time and thankful survived, she recalled attending classes in the local drug store and feeling guilty because she had went along with her wedding, which was planned before the bombing.
We later heard of the University of Texas Tower shooting when Charles Whitman, an ex-Marine sharpshooter, climbed a tower at the University of Texas and began shooting people on the campus on Aug. 1, 1966. He killed 14 and wounded others. Following that shooting a few years later was the California State Fullerton where six individuals were killed on July 12, 1976, when a custodian, Edward Charles Allaway, opened fire at the school.
I recalled being in Junior High school when I heard about the Columbine High School shooting where student Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and injured 24 before killing themselves on April 20, 1999, in Columbine, Colorado. As a student I thought to myself why would someone want to hurt themselves or others I, also recall the media and the parents that were shown on the news and how scared they were, not knowing if their child had survived such a tragedy. Seeing the live videos on the news and injured individuals jumping out the window was a scary image.
As I did my research they were surviving victims who stated that the killers randomly went to their peers asking about their religious beliefs and if they believed in god they were shot. More so from my research I learned that the boys were an outcast and didn’t get along with many of there peers they were part of a Marliyn Manson group and decided to commit the crime on April 20, because it was Hilters birthday. Showing no form of sorrow I believe that the boys mental state was by far not realistic they were delusional, emotionless, and heartless.
Serving victim Hochhalter was shot twice, once in the back and once in the upper arm. She was paralyzed from the waist down but the arm wound was the one that was life-threatening, she said, because the bullet went through and “”hit everything.”” She suffered nerve damage and endured a long, painful recovery, but over time she said she tried to move on and find peace. She noted, “”I realize that holding onto that anger does nothing,”” she told ABC News. “”You know, it just brings you down.”” (abc news). Columbine was unfortunately the beginning of a new trend of school shooting.
Time went by and we heard of other tragedies that had occurred and then booommmm!!! We were faced with another school shooting Red Lake Indian Reservation. On March 21, 2005, Jeffrey Weise killed seven people at Red Lake Senior High School in Red Lake, Minnesota. I thought to myself why again would someone want to inflict harm on incent by standers. But when we started to hear of the troubles that some of theses individuals were dealing with and the mere fact that they couldn’t handle the different obstacles that they were faced with on a day to day basis you understand that someone who shows signs of mental health troubles should be taken seriously and receive services that can benefit them.
When you think of someone mental health we automatically believe that everyone should be able to cope with whatever difficulties they are faced with not every taking a deeper look at that individual frame of thinking and or interpretation of their personal emotions. The school shooting at Virginia Tech where Seung-Hui Cho opened fire on students at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia, hit home to me because I had a friend who was attending that school at the time.
Cho killed 32 people and injured 17. The shooting took place on April 16, 2007. Cho committed suicide. And a lot of his victims were left in shambles suffering from various forms of depression. The Oikos University shooting where One L. Goh killed seven students at the Korean Christian College at Oikos University in Oakland, California was another tragedy.
Though his decade we have heard of high school and college shooting not once did we expect that we would be face with another elementary school shooting. The Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting took place right before the holidays on Dec. 14, 2012, it is noted as the second worst shooting of all time in the United States. Shooter Adam Peter Lanza, after killing his mother, went to the school in Newtown, Connecticut, and started firing. He killed 26 children and adults.
This community was left distraught. Adam who was a former student of the school had a history of mental heath issues and was not seen as a danger to himself or others by his doctors. Lanza “”had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others,”” (CNN.com). Adam had an infatuation with guns and it was the one and only past time that he enjoyed with his mother. In 2005, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, with doctors noting he “”lacked empathy”” and showed “”extreme anxiety and discomfort with changes, noise, and physical contact with others.”” (CNN.com) One thing that I was able to gather from this research is the impact denial can have on a family.
Adams family especially his mother was in denial of his multiple disabilities. And as a result she did not go above and beyond to get Adam the help that he truly deserved. Nicole Hockley and Marck Barden two parents who lost their sons on that chilly December morning has started the Sandy Hook Promise foundation along with several other parents.
Though this foundation they are able to educate schools about the various signs that they can and should look for to prevent gun violence. As they continue to try and keep the memory of their beloved sons alive these parents have found joy in spreading knowledge. Five months are the Sandy Hook shooting the parents along with then president Obama tried to change the gun laws how every they were unsuccessful.
Next was the Umpqua Community College where Christopher Harper-Mercer killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, on Oct. 1, 2015. Followed by West Nickel Mines Charles Carl Roberts who shot eight and killed five girls at an Amish school in Bart Township, Pennsylvania
This year on Valentines Day there was a shooting at Marjory Stone-house Douglas high school. Seventeen individuals were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, 19, was taken into custody after the shooting. Cruz who has a series of emotional disorders and was a victim of bulling found comfort and confined in a 13 year old adolescent in another state , stating that “”he was angry at the school because he got bullied a lot,”” the girl told a Broward Sheriff’s Office detective investigating the Feb. 14 crime “”he said he was, like, pushed around and beat up some time….
He said it made him feel very, like, sad and that he hated the school because of it “”(Miamiherald.com) Cruz was expelled from school and was referred to a transfer school but refused to attend the school. Being 18 it would not have been considered educational neglect. After the tragedy at Parkland the students vowed to take a stand against gun violence. Student Eden Heborn stated seven weeks later and I’m just beginning the painful aftermath of this massacre.
Differentiating between trauma and the grief. It’s as if both of those terrible battles collided in my brain. And came at me all at once. Like a monster, the rest of my experience at Douglas has not been ruined. It’s been altered. But most important, I have been altered. My aspirations, my beliefs, my perspectives, my lifestyle, even my fears in this life. Immediately after the shooting, I felt hopeless. Like my life had been ruined. Then I refused to think this way. I am not going to allow another school to have 17 fewer people walking around. And I will most certainly not allow anyone else see her friends get shot and die.
As I conclude I can honestly say that I started to write this paper wanting to know more about school shooting. Not once did I think that going in-depth and doing this research would have had an impact on me. Going back to 1927 and hearing the story of a 109 year old survivor reflect on how she felt helpless and guilty for moving forward with her life after so many other had loss their life was sad to hear. But as I compared her mental health frame of mind to that of the Parkland survivors they had a lot of similarities both victims felt guilty for moving on. However the survivors of Parkland decided to make a stand against gun violence and have had the support of the media as advocate for change.
- Cortland, J. (2018, October 4). School shooting in U.S when each shooting occurred. Retrieved from www.abc15.com
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- Greco, R. (2017, May 11). Bath School bombing : Oldest Surviving Student Recall how awful it was. Retrieved from Lansing state journal.com
- Hebron, E. (2018, October 15). Flash Back: Heres what is was like to watch my friends die in room 1216. Retrieved October, from USA Today.com
- Lord, D. (2018, February 02). What are the worst school shooting in ,modern U.S HISTORY. Retrieved from www.ajc.com
- Nehamas, N. (2018, October 19). Parkland School Shooter had a friend she was 13 and lived across the country. Retrieved Fall, from miamiherald.com
- Pelletiere, N. (2017, April 13). Inside room211: The massacre at Virgina Tech remembered 10 years later. Retrieved from abcnews.go.com
- Virginia Tech The Deadliest Shooting Rampage in AmericanHistory. (n.d.). Retrieved from NY Times.com