On December 14, 2012, When Adam Lanza opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, USA, Killing twenty six children and six adult staff members; it was just one of the many tragic and deadliest school massacres the world has seen, especially in the United States. Violence in schools is a vile and deplorable act, not only because it involves the murder of innocent children but destroys the whole notion of the school being a safe place for a child. School shooting might be rare but they are extremely tragic and raise a number of questions about the safety of children. The world has seen some of the most brutal and horrific school shootings and two out of three school massacres have taken place in the last 15 years. And yet people continue to debate among themselves about a number of other issues instead of going down to the roots of such attacks and taking up measures to prevent such horrific ordeals in the future. Such incidents always leave us thinking Why them!? Why those poor children? Murder or mass murders are the worst and especially when they involve children. Here is a list of some of the worst school massacres.
10. Columbine High School Massacre, 13 Dead
On April 20, 1999 two students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and a teacher at Columbine high school in Littleton, Colorado. The Pair had also planned a fire bomb to divert firefighters, 99 explosive devices and bombs rigged in cars. They also injured 24 other students and the two later committed suicide in the school library. This school massacre is considered to be one of the deadliest school shooting whilst in a high school campus in America and sparked a number of debates about gun control, bullying and violent video games. In recent years, it has emerged that the pair had actually meticulously planned their suicide in a poorly implemented terrorist bombing and had never been victims of bullying but were infact bullying other students.
9. Dunblane School Massacre, United Kingdom, 17 Dead
On 13 March, 1996, Thomas Hamilton killed fifteen children and one adult at Dunblane primary School before committing suicide. Armed with four handguns, the former unemployed shopkeeper went on a shooting spree killing fifteen children along with their teacher Gwen mayor who was trying to protect them. In addition to that, he also opened fire on a number of students in the corridor, injuring one teacher. This massacre led to the ban on the private ownership on handguns and remains the deadliest criminal acts on a school campus in the United Kingdom. Since then, a number of tributes have been paid to the Dunblane victims by Bob Dylan and Mark knopfler and Andy Murray who was a student in the primary school when the shooting occurred.
8. Cologne School Massacre, Germany, 10 Dead
The Cologne school massacre refers to the mass murder of eight students and two teachers by Walter Seifert in a Catholic elementary school in Cologne, Germany .What sets this incident apart is that on June 11, 1964. Seifert attacked using a homemade flamethrower, lance and mace instead of a gun or a bomb, killing and wounding twenty two other students.The lance was actually made from a broomstick and triangular scraper and the flamethrower was made from an insecticide sprayer filled with motor oil and paint thinner. The perpetrator escaped and poisoned himself with an insecticide and was declared dead when he was brought to the hospital. Both of the teachers who died in the attack had schools named after them and Anna Langohr who was one of the surviving teachers was awarded the Medal Cross by pope John Paul VI.
7. Erfurt Massacre, Germany, 16 Dead
This school massacre occurred at the Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt, Germany on April 26, 2002.The perpetrator was a 19 year expelled student Robert Steinhäuser who entered the campus armed with 9mm Glock 17 and a 12 gauge pump action shotgun killing 16 people which consisted of 13 faculty members, 2 students and one police officer. It is largely believed that the shootings were a result of Steinhäuser being expelled from school on the basis of a fake medical certificate. While on his shooting spree he was confronted by a teacher Rainer Heise who pushed him into a room where Steinhäuser committed suicide. Heise was declared a hero and Ines Geipel, published a controversial book who’s title was based upon Steinhäuser’s last words,Für heute reicht’s or ‘It’s enough for today’.
6. Finland School Shootings, 19 Dead
This involves the twin school shootings at Jokela High School and Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences in Finland on November, 7, 2007 and September 23, 2008 respectively. In both the separate incidents, the gunmen were students who went on a killing spree murdering 19 people and injuring more than 20 people. At the Jokela high School, 19 year old Pekka-Eric Auvinen entered the school with a semi-automatic pistol killing eight people before shooting himself in the head. Less than a year after this incident, occurred the tragic shooting at Kauhajoki, western Finland where hospitality management student Matti Juhani Saari shot dead ten people before committing suicide by shooting himself.Pekka-Eric Auvinen had earlier posted a video on YouTube entitled ” ” just a few hours before going on his murderous spree.
5. Rio de Janeiro School Shooting, Brazil, 12 Dead
On April 7, 2011 Wellington Oliveira entered the premises of Tasso da Silveira Municipal School, an elementary school in Rio de Janeiro in brazil shooting twelve children who were between the ages of 12 and 14.Armed with a .38-caliber revolver and a .32-caliber revolver with a number of speed loaders, Oliveira shot the boys only to immobilize them but selected girls and shot them to kill. The gunman was a 23 year old former student of the school who committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after the attack. The event is considered to be one of the first such criminal school massacres to have happened in Brazil.
4. École Polytechnique massacre, Canada, 14 Dead
Also known as the Montreal massacre, this tragic incident took place at the École Polytechnique, Montreal, Quebec, Canada on December 6 1989. The gunman, Marc Lepine shot about twenty eight people before killing himself. This massacre is specially remembered because it involved the killing of women who Lepine believed to feminists and who he blamed for ruining his life. Claiming he was fighting feminism, Lepine entered a classroom separating the male and female students and shot nine of the females, killing six of them. Specifically targeting women, Lepine shot fourteen women in just under 20 minutes .This incident led to stricter gun control laws in Canada and debates over violence against women.
3. Ma’alot Massacre, Israel, 25 Dead
The Ma’a lot massacre was perpetrated by three members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine on 15 may, 1974 who first killed two Israeli Arab women , a couple and their four year old son. After these attacks they went to the Netiv Meir Elementary School, where they instigated a hostage situation taking about 115 people as hostages which included 105 children who were on a three day field trip. The students were forced to sit on the floor at gunpoint, with explosive charges between them. They demanded the release of Palestinian militants from Israeli prisons and the hostage situation continued for two days. It resulted in the killing of 22 children with grenades and automatic weapons and about 68 more were injured.
2. Bath School Disaster, USA, 38 Dead
Considered to be one of the most deadly mass murders in a school in the history of the United States, this incident was carried out, not by a young man but a 55 year old man who was angry at his defeat in the local elections for township clerk. It also did not involve any guns but a bomb in a local elementary school. On May 18, 1927, Andrew Kehoe set off a major bomb explosion in the Bath Consolidated School, Michigan USA killing 38 children, two teachers and four others. Kehoe had earlier murdered his wife and family and had been secretly planting bombs under the basement of the school. He committed suicide by detonating an explosion in his truck. He had actually planned up to blow up the whole school which is why he planted more than 500 pounds of unexploded dynamite under the school which were to explode at the same time.
1. Beslan Massacre, Russia, 385 Dead
Also known as Beslan School Siege or Beslan School hostage crisis, it is considered as one of the most brutal and murderous school massacres to take place in the history of such shootings leaving more than 385 dead and about 783 injured. On 1 September 2004, armed terrorist occupied School number one in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia. The siege lasted for three days in which 1,100 people were taken hostages, including 777 children under the age of eighteen and at the end of which Russian forces and the terrorists exchanged fires. The gunmen moved the hostages to the gymnasium and the rest of the school building was mined with explosive devices and surrounded with tripwires. The hostages were also not allowed to have any food or water or medicines for the injured victims. This murderous rampage resulted in the killing of 186 children and many of the people injured and reported missing.