June 21, 2024

Melissa Martin, Ph.D

Melissa Martin, Ph.D

When firearms are not accessible, individuals kill with knives, swords, arrows, hammers, hatchets, shovels, or other weapons without gun powder. Any tool can become a weapon: a pipe, a board, a brick.

Or people use wire or rope to strangle or even pillows to suffocate. Watching modern day crime shows on TV teaches all kinds of ways for humans to kill each other.

Or people use poisons such as arsenic, cyanide, or strychnine. The most famous case of hemlock poisoning was the death of Socrates, the Greek philosopher.

Or people use vehicles. According to a 2018, 10-TV news report, “An Ohio woman convicted of murder has been sentenced to 18 years to life in prison for striking a teen with a car and dragging her 90 feet during a brawl triggered by a social media dispute.”

Or people use fire. In 2014, four children and two adults died in a house fire intentionally started by a relative in McKeesport, Pa.

Or people use water. In 2003, Gabe Watson was accused of killing his new wife, Tina Watson, by drowning her during a scuba dive.

Killing the Masses with Other Weapons

Without guns, how are the masses killed or injured in America?

In 2017, a 32-year-old woman died and at least 19 people were injured when a car intentionally crashed into a crowd of peaceful protesters at a rally organized by white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia. The perpetrator was charged with second degree murder.

In 2016, an Ohio State University student plowed a car into a campus crowd and stabbed people with a butcher knife. Eleven people were injured.

Jodi Upton, reporter for USA Today, in a 2015 article wrote, “But even if guns weren’t available, nearly 355 people would likely still have died in mass killing incidents in the U.S. over the past 10 years.”

On September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked four fuel-loaded US commercial airplanes in the USA and a total of 2, 977 people were killed in terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, DC, and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Air planes were used as killing machines.

The Oklahoma City bombing occurred when a truck packed with explosives was detonated in 1995. A total of 168 people died and hundreds were injured.

School Killings with Bombs

Explosive devices kill people. The Internet has made it easy to find bomb-making directions and to purchase supplies.

In 1927, a school in Bath, Michigan was rigged with hundreds of pounds of explosives and as a result 44 people died, 38 were students. Police officers found 500 pounds of unexploded dynamite.

The Columbine teens planned Columbine primarily as a bombing and tried to use propane bombs. Only the pipe bombs worked. They loaded their cars with bombs and gasoline, set to detonate at noon.

Massive Killings with Guns

According to a 2018 article in Time, “AR-15-style rifles have been used in recent mass shootings at in Aurora, Colo.; Santa Monica and San Bernardino, Calif.; Orlando, Florida and now Parkland” and the AR-15 was also used during the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

According to a 2013 Washington Post article, “Public mass shootings account for a tiny fraction of the country’s gun deaths, but they are uniquely terrifying because they occur without warning in the most mundane places. Most of the victims are chosen not for what they have done but simply for where they happen to be.”

Most Mass Shootings Occur in Homes

According to the EveryTown website, from “2009-2016 in the U.S., there have been 156 mass shootings—incidents in which four or more people were shot and killed, not including the shooter. These incidents resulted in 1,187 victims shot: 848 people were shot and killed, and 339 people were shot and injured. In addition, 66 perpetrators killed themselves after a mass shooting, and another 17 perpetrators were shot and killed by responding law enforcement.” The author further writes, “The vast majority of mass shootings—63 percent—took place entirely in private homes.” Visit www.everytownresearch.org/reports/mass-shootings-analysis/.

Can schools shootings be stopped without taking away specific guns from citizens? Some say yes and some say no.

Chaos ensues after each school shooting and opponents, both Democrats and Republicans, are quick to play the blame-shame game. Gun control goes to the forefront and the media squabbles and quibbles with politicians and the NRA. Is the national media biased and in favor of gun control?

Should every public school in America be outfitted with a police officer, security guards, and metal detectors instead of new gun control laws? According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics report in 2016, there are around 100,000 public schools in the U.S., including all elementary, middle, high and vocational schools.

Perhaps, there are multiple answers to prevent massive shootings and not just one.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She resides in southern Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.