Hmmm. Now what do you suppose happened in the mid-1990s that might have had this mitigating effect on school shootings…?
The earliest known United States shooting to happen on school property was the Pontiac's Rebellion school massacre on July 26, 1764, where four Lenape American Indians entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed nine or ten children (reports vary). Only three children survived.
April 9, 1891: The first known mass shooting in the U.S. where students were shot by an American citizen, when 70 year old James Foster fired a shotgun at a group of students in the playground of St. Mary's Parochial School, Newburgh, New York, causing minor injuries to several of the students. The majority of attacks during this time period by students on other students or teachers usually involved stabbing with knives or hitting with stones.
November 12, 1966: Mesa, Arizona. Bob Smith, 18, took seven people hostage at Rose-Mar College of Beauty, a school for training beauticians. Smith ordered the hostages to lie down on the floor in a circle. He then proceeded to shoot them in the head with a 22-caliber pistol. Four women and a three-year-old girl died, one woman and a baby were injured but survived.
February 8, 1968: Orangeburg, South Carolina. In the days leading up to February 8, 1968, about 200 mostly student protesters gathered on the campus of South Carolina State University, located in the city of Orangeburg, to protest the segregation of the All Star Bowling Lane. The bowling alley was owned by the late Harry K. Floyd. That night, students started a bonfire. As police attempted to put out the fire, an officer was injured by a thrown piece of banister. The police said they believed they were under attack by small weapons fire. The officers fired into the crowd, killing three young men and wounding twenty-seven others.
The two most notable U.S. school shootings in the early 1970s were the Jackson State killings in May 1970, where police opened fire on the campus of Jackson State University and the Kent State shootings also in May 1970 where the National Guard opened fire on the campus of Kent State University.
November 22, 1971: Spokane, Washington. A former MIT student named Larry J. Harmon entered St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church in Spokane, Washington - his home-town; He was armed with a sledge hammer and a clip-fed .22 caliber rifle. With the hammer he smashed the interior of the church and with the rifle he killed the caretaker. Emerging from the church, which stands on the campus of Gonzaga University, Harmon wounded four more people before police officers shot and killed him. He was 21, and beyond doubt, insane, if that word has any meaning. His father... described his son as a religious fanatic who believed that he had seen the devil and that Christ was an imposter, "the devil incarnate." Frustrated in his attempts to preach this gospel, his father said, Larry went on a rampage."
December 30, 1974: Olean High School, NY. The gunman, 17-year-old Anthony Barbaro, an honor student and member of the school's rifle team, indiscriminately shot at people on the street from windows at the third floor of the school building. Three people were killed and another 11 people were injured during the shooting.
February 12, 1976: At Detroit, Michigan's Murray-Wright High School, about six intruders, who according to police looked like junior high students or younger, entered Murray Wright. According to the police they were searching for a student who had "stolen one of their girlfriends." Two teachers discovered the intruders and asked them to leave. A security guard escorted the intruders down a hallway as about six Murray-Wright students followed the intruders as they were leaving. Outside of the door to the school, two of the intruders brandished guns and fired into the group, shooting and injuring five students.
July 12, 1976: California State University, Fullerton, CA. Edward Charles Allaway, a custodian at the school's library, killed seven people and wounded two others in the library's first-floor lobby and at the building's Instructional Media Center. Allaway's apparent motive was that he thought pornographers were forcing his wife to appear in movies. Five different mental health professionals diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia. He remains committed at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino.
January 29, 1979: Grover Cleveland Elementary School Shootings, California, where 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer opened fire with a rifle, a gift from her father, killing 2 and wounding 9. “I don’t like Mondays.”
January 22, 1985: Goddard, Kansas James Alan Kearbey, 14, armed with a M1-A semiautomatic rifle and a .357-caliber handgun, killed Principal Joseph McGee and wounded two teachers and a student at his Junior high school.
October 18, 1985: Detroit, Michigan During halftime of the homecoming football game between Northwestern High School and Murray-Wright High School, a boy who was in a fight earlier that day pulled out a shotgun and opened fire, injuring six students.
May 20, 1988: Winnetka, Illinois 30 year old Laurie Dann shot and killed one elementary school student and wounded five others, then took a family hostage and shot a man before killing herself.
September 26, 1988: Greenwood, South Carolina In the cafeteria of the Oakland Elementary School 19 year-old James William Wilson Jr., shot and killed Shequilla Bradley, 8 and wounded eight other children with a 9-round .22 caliber pistol. He went into the girls’ restroom to reload where he was attacked by Kat Finkbeiner, a Physical Education teacher. James shot her in the hand and mouth. He then entered 3rd grade classroom and wounded six more students.
January 17, 1989: Cleveland School massacre of Stockton, California: 5 school children were killed and 30 wounded by a single gunman firing over 100 rounds into a schoolyard from an AK-47, in which the perpetrator later took his life.
November 1, 1991, a student shot 6 faculty members, students, and employees at the University of Iowa.
May 1, 1992: Olivehurst, California Eric Houston, 20, killed four people and wounded 10 in an armed siege at his former high school. Prosecutors said the attack was in retribution for a failing grade.
There are very seldom reports of mass or multiple school shootings during the first three decades of the 20th Century, with the three most violent attacks on schools involving either arson or explosions. The mid to late 1970s is considered the second most violent period in U.S. school history with a series of school shootings, mostly single victims/suicides. The early 1980s saw many single shootings, similar to the 1970s. The early 1980s saw only a few multi-victim school shootings.
According to the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, in the United States, from September 1986 to September 1990:
• At least 71 people (65 students and 6 school employees) had been killed with guns at school.
• 201 were severely wounded by gun fire.
• 242 individuals were held hostage at gunpoint.
According to a 1987 survey conducted by the American School Health Association, “3% of the boys reported having carried a handgun to school at least once during the school year; 1% reported carrying a handgun on a daily basis."
From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, the United States saw a sharp increase in guns and gun violence in schools. According to a survey conducted by The Harvard School of Public Health, "15% [of students surveyed] said that they had carried a handgun on their person in the past 30 days, and 4% said that they had taken a handgun to school in the past year," a sharp increase from just five years earlier. By 1993, the United States saw one of the most violent periods in school shooting incidences.
According to the National School Safety Center, since the 1992-1993 U.S. school year, there has been a significant decline in school-associated violent deaths (deaths on private or public school property for kindergarten through grade 12 and resulting from schools functions or activities):
• 1992–1993 (44 Homicides and 55 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
• 1993–1994 (42 Homicides and 51 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
• 1994–1995 (17 Homicides and 20 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
• 1995–1996 (29 Homicides and 35 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
• 1996–1997 (23 Homicides and 25 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
• 1997–1998 (35 Homicides and 40 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
• 1998–1999 (25 Homicides from school shootings in the U.S.)
• 1999–2000 (25 Homicides from school shootings in the U.S.)
According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the 1998-1999 School Year, 3,523 students (57% High School, 33% Junior High, 10% Elementary) were expelled for bringing a firearm to school.
The late 1990s started to see a major reduction in gun related school violence, but was still plagued with multiple victim shootings.