January 2014 is threatening to become the month when gun violence became a matter of routine in America's schools. Since the start of the month, there have been at least 11 active shooting incidents on a high school or college campus, one for every two weekdays of the month (including New Year's Day.) Those shootings — all on or near school grounds while students were present, and most perpetrated by students themselves — have claimed at least two lives and injured at least 11 students.
But in addition to the actual shootings, the number of shooting scares and threats are on the rise as well. Reports of "active shooters" and precautionary lockdowns have become a part of every school's standard procedures. If it feels like there's "another one" every day now, that's because that's very nearly true. In fact, the latest school shooting (the wounding of a 17-year-old in Hawaii) happened while this very post was being edited.
For comparison, there were as many as 28 school shootings during the entire year of 2013, the 12 months after Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 first-graders and 6 teachers in Newtown, Connecticut. In other words, the year our nation had supposedly had enough and was finally going to do something about gun violence.
Here's what the month in school shootings and scares looks like (so far) on a calendar. Orange is a shooting, red means more than one shootings, and yellow is a scare or lockdown, prompted by a report to police. (The two incidents on the 15th and 16th were actually a continuation of one incident, as the same student brought a gun to class on both days.)
ThinkProgress also noted the frequency of school shootings this month, concluding that there's been a shooting pretty much every other day so far. When you factor in lockdowns and scares, and note that most schools were on holiday break until at least the 6th (and that January 20th, Martin Luther King Day, was also a national holiday) gun incidents have become an almost daily occurrence at American schools this year.
Here are the shootings so far, for January 2014:
- On January 9th, a 17-year-old high school student was wounded when a 16-year-old classmate allegedly shot him outside of Liberty Technology Magnet High School in Jackson, Tennessee.
- On January 13th, a 14-year-old freshman at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn., was shot twice after a basketball game at the school. The shooter was not immediately apprehended. Days later, a 17-year-old turned himself in.
- On January 14th, two students were shot at a Roswell, New Mexico middle school. The gunman was 12 years old. He opened fire in the school gym, until a staff member at the school talked him into putting down his weapon.
- On January 17th, a 17-year-old student at a Philadelphia charter school opened fire and injured two of his classmates. The suspect will be charged as an adult. Two other teens were brought in for questioning in connection to the incident, but later cleared.
- Also on January 17th, an Albany High School student was shot near campus. The Friday shooting sent the Georgia school into lockdown.
- On January 20th, a Widener University student was shot while sitting in his car in a campus parking lot.
- On January 21st, one student died at Purdue University after being shot by a classmate at the university's engineering school.
- Also on January 21st, Turlock's Wakefield Elementary School in California went into lockdown following a shooting across the street from campus.
- On January 24th, one student died in a shooting at South Carolina State University.
- On January 27th, police were investigating a shots fired incident at or near Rebound High School in Carbondale, Illinois. The victim was apparently the father of one of the school's students. Two high schoolers allegedly involved in the incident didn't return to school after lunch.
- On January 28th, a 17-year-old boy at Roosevelt High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, was shot in the wrist and wounded after reportedly attacking school police officers with a knife.. The unknown suspect was taken in custody.
There's a good chance that we missed some of the close calls and scares as it seems like there's been almost too many to keep track of, but a cursory search surfaced quite a few of them for January:
- On January 15th and 16th, a student at Glenn Hills Middle School in Georgia brought a gun to school two days in a row. He was apparently attempting to rob another student.
- On January 17th, Richmond Hill High School in Georgia went into lockdown after reports of a student with a gun on campus. There was also, apparently, a bomb threat.
- On January 22nd, University of Oklahoma went into lockdown after reports of shots fired at the school's architecture building. A police search turned up no evidence of a shooting.
- On January 23rd, Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado went into lockdown after a series of threatening phone calls.
If you count the double incident in Georgia, there has now been a shooting, lockdown, or gun scare somewhere in the United States for the last 12 consecutive weekdays. (There have only been 19 full weekdays this month, and that's counting MLK Day.) And this tally doesn't even take into account this month's mass shootings in other public places. Like last Saturday, for instance, when a 19-year-old opened fire at a Maryland mall, killing two people before killing himself.
Although, by the Daily Beast's count, states enacted 106 of the 540 gun bills proposed in 2013, efforts to pass national legislation with even basic amendments to federal gun control laws have failed. Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords will attempt to push the issue nationally once again with an ad that will air before and after tonight's State of the Union Speech. "Tell Washington it's too dangerous to wait," Giffords says in the ad. So far, January 2014's list of school shootings is sadly helping her to make her point. And there's still three days left.