The warning signs were all there – they were just ignored.
That’s what a new study released this week from the U.S. Secret Service shows about school shootings.
According to the study, most students who committed deadly school attacks over the past decade were badly bullied. The study also found they had a history of disciplinary trouble and their behavior concerned others but was never reported.
The study found that attackers in at least four cases went on to essentially recreate other school shootings. That includes those at Columbine High School in Colorado, Virginia Tech University and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
The study was commissioned after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It was done by the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center. It’s said to be the most comprehensive review of school attacks since the Columbine shootings in 1999.
In the analysis, they looked in-depth at 41 school attacks from 2008 through 2017. The media is told that “researchers had unprecedented access to a trove of sensitive data from law enforcement including police reports, investigative files and nonpublic records.”
The idea is that what’s learned from the research will help train school officials and law enforcement. The goal is so help them better identify students who may be planning an attack and how to stop them before they strike.
“These are not sudden, impulsive acts where a student suddenly gets disgruntled,” Lina Alathari, the center’s head, said in an Associated Press interview. “The majority of these incidents are preventable.”
On Thursday, a media conference was held that was attended by the fathers of three students killed in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. They were strongly in support of the study.
Tony Montalto lost his daughter, daughter, Gina Rose Montalto. According to him, the research was invaluable and could have helped their school prevent the attack.
“My lovely daughter might still be here today,” he said. “Our entire community would be whole instead of forever shaken.”
He wants other schools to pay close attention.
“Please, learn from our experience,” he said. “It happened to us, and it could happen to your community, too.”
As a result of the study, nearly 40 training sessions for groups of up to 2,000 people are scheduled.
The numbers are growing – Alathari and her team trained some 7,500 people in 2018 alone. Everything about the training is free.
We’e all come to know the Secret Service for its mission to protect the president.
But they created the threat assessment center to look at how other kinds of attacks could be prevented.
Authorities say what’s learned is then applied in other situations, such as school shootings or mass attacks.
There have been a number of school shootings snce the Columbine attack.
Take, for example, Sandy Hook in 2012 – one of the shootings committed by nonstudents.
Others not included in the study were those in which no one was injured.
According to the report, they examined 41 school attacks from 2008 through 2017 at K-12 schools.
If the attacker was a current or recent former student within the past year who used a weapon to injure or kill at least one person at the school while targeting others, then they were chosen.
“We focus on the target so that we can prevent it in the future,” Alathari said.
In the attacks they examined, 19 people were killed and 79 were injured. Victims ranged from students and staff to law enforcement.
In July, the Secret Service released a best practices guide. It was based on some of the research and sent to 40,000 schools nationwide. With that said, the new report is a comprehensive look at the attacks.
Diving deeper into the study, the shootings were usually over within a minute or less and law enforcement rarely arrived before an attack was over.
They typically started during school hours and occurred in one location like a cafeteria, bathroom or classroom.
Here’s the demographic breakdown:
Most attackers were male, but seven were female.
Researchers said 63% of the attackers were white, 15% were black, 5% Hispanic, 2% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 10% were of two or more races, and 5% were undetermined.
The weapons used were typically guns, but knives were used as well… and in one attack, the suspect used a World War II-era bayonet. The report showed that most of the weapons came from the attackers’ homes.
According to Alathari, investigators were able to examine detailed information about attackers. That included their home lives, suspension records and past behaviors.
Here are some details that stood out about school attackers:
Many were absent from school before the attack, typically through a school suspension.
Their peers treated them poorly both in person and online.
They felt mistreated and some sought fame, while in the meantime others were suicidal.
They embraced and enjoyed violence and watched it online, played games featuring it or read about it in books.
What it all comes down to, Alathari said, is in knowing what to look for, recognizing the patterns and intervening early to try to stop someone from pursuing violence.
“It really is about a constellation of behaviors and factors,” Alathari said.
As far as age goes, the attackers were mostly young adults, seventh-graders to seniors.
As to when, more than 75% launched their attack after an incident with someone at school.
A total of seven attackers documented their plans. Five went so far as to research their targets before the attack.
Of those charged, 32 were criminally charged and 22 were charged as adults.
More than half are in jaily, and most took plea deals.
Another 12 were treated as juveniles.
Ultimately seven killed themselves, and two were fatally wounded.
According to Alathari, the report shows that schools may need to think differently about school discipline as well as intervention.
Interestingly, the report doesn’t say anything about political topics… such as whether teachers should be armed or whether it’s too easy to get guns.
It’s funny how the mainstream media tends to bury studies that don’t fit their agenda.
Like this one, for example.
According to the FBI, more than five times as many people were killed in 2018 by knives, clubs and other cutting instruments than with rifles.
The metrics show that there were a total of 1,515 deaths by knives or other cutting instruments last year. Compare that against 297 people killed by rifles.
It’s a gap that widened significantly over 2017. In that year, the FBI said nearly four times as many people were stabbed to death as killed with rifles. During that year, the number of murders with rifles was around 400.
It gets better. More than 100 more people were killed with hammers and clubs in 2018 than were killed by rifles. There were 443 people killed with hammers, clubs, or other “blunt objects”.
We need to point out that the data isn’t just semiautomatic rifles – it’s ALL rifles, including bolt action, pump or lever action rifles as well.
If you were to contrast the numbers between JUST semiautomatic rifles and knife homicides, the gap would be even larger.
Here’s another number that will blow your mind. The data also shows that in 2018, there were 672 deaths from “fists, feet and other ‘personal weapons’” – which is once again more than with rifles.
In 2017, there were 692 people killed in the same way – a number larger than the total number of homicides by rifles and shotguns combined.
Yet you’ve got Democrat presidential hopeful Robert “Beto” O’Rourke campaigning on the confiscation of AR-15’s. Remember – last month during a Democrat debate, he said:
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.”
Numbers from the National Shooting Sports Foundation show that there are more than 16 million privately owned AR-15s in the United States.
Let’s look at the bigger picture, based on some 2016 data.
Rifles are only used in a small fraction of murders committed using firearms.
FBI data from that year showed that more than 7,100 people were killed using handguns, and that the vast majority of non-fatal crimes involving guns are also committed using handguns.
“Semiautomatic handguns are the weapon of choice for mass shootings,” the report notes.
According to the CDC, in 2017, six-in-ten gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides (23,854), while 37% were murders (14,542).
The rest were either unintentional (486), involved law enforcement (553) or had undetermined circumstances (338).
In 2017, gun suicides reached their highest recorded level … yet the number of gun murders remained far below the peak in 1993, when there were 18,253 gun homicides. Also during that time, overall violent crime levels in the U.S. were much higher than they are today.
And although 2017 also brought the highest total number of gun deaths in America, it doesn’t account for the growing population of the country.
When you break that down on a per-capita basis, we’re talking about 12 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 – the highest rate in more than two decades, but still well below the 16.3 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 1974, the highest rate in the CDC’s online database.
Suicides have long accounted for the majority of U.S. gun deaths.
Let’s dive further into that.
Both the gun murder and gun suicide rates in America are both below where they were in the mid-1970’s. In 2017, there were 4.6 gun murders per 100,000 people – considerably below the 7.2 per 100,000 people in 1974.
In 2017, there were 6.9 gun suicides per 100,000 people – that number was 7.7 in 1977.
The overarching idea behind the “gun-control” debate is this: The left wants to take away every last ability for citizens to defend themselves. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
Over the summer, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a 3 ½ hour “hearing” entitled “Protecting America From Assault Weapons.”
That hearing covered issues that were framed to overlook the false narrative that Americans need protection from inanimate objects, and not from violent people with criminal tendencies. People who will use anything and everything at their disposal to carry out their violent plans.
The hearing also revealed the true agenda of the Democratic leadership, which was to lay out arguments In favor of the repealing of the 2ndAmendment, the illegalization of weapons ownership, and the left’s complete refusal to engage in useful conversation regarding how Congress might attack the issue of gun safety.
Easily the most eye-opening claim of the proceedings came when Dr. RaShall Brackney, Chief of the Charlottesville Police Department in Virginia responded to a question from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) about whether she would support a ban on hunting rifles.
“I believe any weapon that can be used to hunt individuals should be banned,” Brackney replied.
Her statement seemed to indicate that she would be open to the banning of all firearms, and more specifically, all weapons.
So, for those keeping score at home, here is a list of items that would also need to be banned, according to the good doctor.
Guns. Knives. Vehicles. Baseball bats. Fire. Rocks. Rope. Screwdrivers. Hammers. Hands. The list goes on and on.
While Brackney did not actually call for a ban of these other items, that is essentially what she is doing in using such careless language.
According to the NRA, Dr. Brackney was given two opportunities by pro-gun committee members to walk back or provide more context for that statement. Instead, she dug in and reiterated the statement.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) asked her directly, “Okay, so you then stand for the proposition to ban any type of firearm, because any firearm can be used and misused to kill people.”
Rather than answering the question directly, Dr. Brackney began talking about police and the social contract. Rep. Steube tried asking again, only to be interrupted by an anti-gun committee member who tried to raise a point of order.
She claimed that Rep. Steube was “attacking” the witness – when in fact he was merely trying to get a straight answer – and requested that he “tone down his words.” That exchange took up most of Steube’s remaining time for questioning, which was not reinstated.
Again Rep. Steube tried, to clarify, asking:
“Any type of weapon … that can be used to kill people should be banned?”
And then the response…
“Sir,” Brackney replied, “you’re adding the word ‘type.’ I said ‘any weapons,’ so that’s my answer. Thank you.”
Sadly, none of the committee members or witnesses in favor of the ban attempted to distance themselves from Brackney’s push for a complete gun ban.
Okay, let’s pause here for a quick question.
Does anyone else have an issue with Dr. Police Chief saying that all means of self-defense should be outlawed, while sitting on the side of the table that would be allowed to keep weapons should the government ever follow her advice?
Unfortunately, Dr. Brackney’s statements may have been one of the only honest claims of the entire hearing by those arguing in favor of the ban.
In an outright misrepresentation (or as we like to call them, lies), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a Harvard Law School graduate, told a breathtaking whopper about the U.S. Supreme Court’s pivotal Second Amendment decision, District of Columbia v. Heller:
He claimed the decision says, “the Second Amendment gives you a right to a handgun for purposes of self-defense and a rifle for purposes of hunting or recreation, but nowhere does it give you a right to weapons of war.”
In a very concise breakdown, the NRA said that the essence of theHeller decision is that Americans have a right to possess the sorts of bearable arms “in common use for lawful purposes,” particularly self-defense, and that handguns qualify because they are overwhelmingly chosen by responsible, law-abiding persons for that purpose.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
Notably, the decision does not purport to overturn the 1939 Supreme Court case of U.S. v. Miller, which held that the Second Amendment protection extends to arms that are “part of the ordinary military equipment” or the use of which “could contribute to the common defense.”
It also notes that while Americans of the founding era might have owned firearms primarily for self-defense and hunting, the founders themselves wanted to ensure the Second Amendment provided an effective check against disarming the people, which in turn was necessary to “be able to resist tyranny.”
Nowhere does either decision suggest that rifles are only protected to the extent they are used for hunting or recreation. Indeed, Heller makes clear that self-defense is the “core lawful purpose” with which the Second Amendment is concerned.
Another theme pushed again and again was that “assault weapons” like the AR-15 are “battlefield weapons” that have no place on “America’s streets.”
Fortunately, as witness Amy Swearer testified, the overwhelmingly majority of the 16 million or so AR and AK pattern rifles in America are not “on the streets” but in the homes of law-abiding owners who never have and never will use them for anything other than lawful purposes.
Violent criminals have not embraced semi-automatic rifles as their “weapons of choice.”
Rifles of all types, of which the guns that would be categorized as “assault weapons” are only a subset, are used in only 2% of homicides. In 2018, more than five times as many people were killed with knives than were killed with all rifles.
The same year, more than twice as many people were killed with personal weapons like hands, fists, or feet.
Remember the list of potentially banned items, I forgot to add feet.
When all was said and done, gun owners had no reassurance that there was any limiting principle to the anti-gun committee members’ prohibitive intentions or that they were willing to learn anything that would influence their decision-making.
Indeed, one could imagine that long after semi-automatic rifles were banned, the exact same hearing could be held on the next class of firearm law-abiding gun owners would be forced to surrender because the guns were used in crimes they did not commit.