Why I didn’t shoot up my school in the 80s and how teaching civility early might save lives.
This article was published in the Spring 2022 issue of Last Girls Club, my horror magazine. Our mission statement is: Last Girls Club is an indie feminist horror magazine, newsletter, and podcast. All are artist run publications and creations whose goal is to promote the female gaze in horror, its creators, and to preserve the cultural dynamic of our age, while celebrating the dark incarnation of the feminine. Dismantling the patriarchy of the binary is just a welcome side effect. PDFs and print copies are available online. I write a column called The Rabbit Hole where I do deep dives in each issue’s theme.
The theme of Active Shooter for our spring edition of Last Girls Club was precipitated by me catching a true crime doc on Discovery ID about the first school shooting I heard about as a kid (1979, San Diego, 2 dead, 9 injured). That event was the inspiration for the popular song, “I don’t like Mondays.” I never knew the back story of the shooter’s life. It was sad. She was 15 years old at the time of the shooting. Her father, who had sole custody, molested her and made her sleep with him on a dirty mattress in a ramshackle house near the school. The place was littered with vodka and beer bottles. She told the courts her father gave her the gun when she’d asked for a radio. She deduced he wanted her to kill herself. It’s a fucked up and sad story. The police officer who arrested her talked about her dead eyes in his interview. He called her pure evil.
On Feb.4, 2022, the National Institute of Justice released a study profiling 172 cases of active shooters. The goal was a comprehensive study on the phenomenon to inform preventative measures to be taken. The results are staggering and depressing. “This study — one of the most extensive assessments of mass violence to date — reveals a deeply unsettling trend: more Americans are dying at the hands of mass shooters than at any point in recent history,” said Officer of Justice Programs Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon. (1)
Whatever the problem is, it’s getting worse. The common traits of the shooters are: