Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Deadliest Massacre in American History

I was shocked and horrified yesterday as I watched the news reports of the massacre at Virginia Tech. The death of 33 people in such a senseless act is horrible to contemplate. I can only wonder if such an act could occur at the campus where I work. What would I do if someone started shooting?

The media is reporting this as "the deadliest massacre in American history." Some examples of this:

MonstersandCritics - "Police said the shooting - the deadliest massacre in US history - began with a 'domestic dispute' at one of the college's dorm rooms."

Cincinnati Enquirer - "Hours after the deadliest massacre in the country’s history, safety directors at local colleges and universities were thinking about their own safety and crisis procedures, waiting for the dust to settle in Blacksburg to see if they could have prevented a similar incident on their campuses."

CBS - "A student gunman originally from South Korea was behind the deadliest massacre in U.S. history, killing 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech, before taking his own life, police said. "

However, despite the news reports, this is not the deadliest massacre in American history. It is not the largest act of violence at a school either. That dubious distinction goes to Bath, Michigan.

In 1927, 45 people were killed when a deranged farmer blew up the school house in Bath Michigan with dynamite. Wikipedia's account starts, "The Bath School disaster is the name given to not one (as the name implies) but three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, USA, on May 18, 1927, which killed 45 people and injured 58. Most of the victims were children in second to sixth grades attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest act of mass murder in a school in U.S. history. The perpetrator was school board member Andrew Kehoe, who was upset by a property tax that had been levied to fund the construction of the school building. He blamed the additional tax for financial hardships which led to foreclosure proceedings against his farm. These events apparently provoked Kehoe to plan his attack."

This event happened 80 years ago. It is an unfortunate reminder that violence directed at students at their schools is not a new event nor is it tied necessarily to guns. I will try not to be too hard on the media for forgetting about the Bath School Massacre. I note the TV networks were originally reporting the Virginia Tech massacre as the deadliest massacre in American history but they switched to calling it the worst mass shooting in American history in just a few hours. It is nice to see that someone did some research to correct this.

My sympathies to those who lost loved ones in Virginia. I hope Virginia Tech finds some ways to find peace again. And I hope this never happens again.

1 comment:

Jack Le Moine said...

Kind reminds me of the hype surrounding "The Trial of the Century." Who were the runners up to the OJ Trial? Let's see . . . OJ beat out:

The Nuremburg War Crimes Trials
The Sacco-Vanzetti Trial
The Scopes Monkey Trial
Brown vs. Board of Education
Rowe vs. Wade

and that's just off the top of my head. :)