Why does America have more school shootings than other countries?
Accessibility is the reason why there are more school shootings in the US. Many say that even if guns were illegal, it wouldn’t matter and that people would just obtain them anyway. Maybe. Perhaps, but black market gun prices would soar and the average person wouldn’t spend that kind of money on one, let alone own a room full of them. Since illegal gun prices would be through the roof, fewer people would be "collectors" like Nancy Lanza and most wouldn’t spend thousands to stock pile them. As it stands right now, assault rifles are readily available in most states. Banning assault rifles (which no average American needs in the first place,) and mega rounds of ammo, stiff laws should be in effect for anyone caught with one in their home. The average American certainly doesn’t need a gun firing 5 bullets per second. WHAT FOR? Protection? Please. Most school shootings have been from kids of parents with these assault weapons in the home where their sons had fairly easy access to them. If the US banned all assault rifles and put in place serious penalties for owning one, then I truly believe our incidences of these horrific shootings would decrease tremendously. I hate to say it, but if some kid decided to do this with just a hand gun, he wouldn’t be able to take out 20 children. He’d be stopped before mowing down scores of people. It’s better than having him get a hold of an automatic weapon and tons of ammo. Most of these school shooters also had some sort of mental instability as well and we don’t do enough in our country to provide treatment for them. I’m perplexed why Nancy Lanza would teach a child with Asperger’s how to shoot. A huge mistake. After hearing Obama clearly promise prompt action, I fear not much or anything will change. I can tell you this too…If we don’t do something…and something big…….and soon, I shutter to think what we’ll do the next time this happens, and it will. We will blame the government and there will be riots and other actions taken from people not satisfied with law change.
The rest of the world has them occur, but rarely: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunblane_Massacre – dunblane massacre, scotland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Pius_X_High_School_massacre , Canada http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valery_Fabrikant , Canada School massacres like these tend to be statistical outliers. They are exceptionally rare, and very difficult to draw conclusions from. A student is far more likely to die from alcohol poisioning (I believe it’s 2 or 3,000 alcohol-related deaths each year in the US) than from a gun. You’re going to hear the talking heads bloviating about an American Culture of Violence (although the attacker was from overseas), how gun control is a failure (the guns were bought legally and students should have been armed and able to shoot him) and how gun control is transcendentally important. Arguing from a rare event like this to drive public policy is the same as developing policy by anecdote.
Belgian public television had the fine taste to show “Bowling for Columbine” yesterday evening. It deals with questions like yours, without giving any clear answers. In Canada or Swiss even more people own guns than in the States. As much as I dislike to stereotype a culture – I am a historian – there is something childish and uncivilized in American culture. This is not just a bad thing, it makes the country very entrepreneurial – people just want to pursuit the American dream. Yet, that same childlike enthusiasm and energy can becomes a ravaging force in frustration. Meanwhile, for some reasons that macho and testosteron driven part of American culture, as portrayed in movies and video games, exports suprisingly well as a role model. There was a school shooting in Germany, in Erfurt, where 18 people get killed in 2002. And even Dutch teachers cannot be sure anymore that pupils won’t mean it when they treaten to kill.
Canada definitely has a lot less gun crime, but we have had some high-profile school/campus shootings: campuses still have memorials for the shootings at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique in 1989; there was a school shooting in Taber, Alberta a few months after Columbine; last year there was a shooting at Dawson College also in Montreal; apparently there was ALSO a shooting at Concordia University in Montreal in 1992. It’s not as many, but when you consider we have a tenth of the population, it’s still more than Michael Moore might lead you to believe. That’s not really an answer; I don’t know if anyone can tell you why North America* seems to produce more of this particular kind of crime — there are social and cultural factors (and I don’t think it’s as simple as being “a childish and uncivilized culture”), but it’s all kind of armchair stuff, because we can’t really know.
Take a look at Loren Coleman’s blog on school shootings. He blames the media causing a copycat effect, and in the link I provided there, posted in March, posits that we’d see more violent copycat killings in schools, this Spring, and that it would be perpetrated by ‘outsiders’ rather than the caucasion males we’ve seen in the past. He seems to have hit it right on the button, so I am willing to put some stock in that the media’s hyping of the events is helpign to create a copycat effect.