A Lesson in Social Justice
March 24, 2018
3 Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. – Psalm 82:3 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
School shootings in America is not a new phenomenon, rather gun-toting angry people, mostly young males have taken upon themselves to dispense justice by raining bullets into the crowds full of the innocent, who in some cases had nothing to do with the anger felt by their now armed peers. We call ourselves God-fearing, we are a Christian Nation, we declare that we hold the moral high ground, but yet time and again nothing is done once the bullets have stopped flying, it seems social justice is spouted while the emotions are high but those two words are allowed to disappear until the next mass shooting. We have utterly let our youth down in both faith and in governmental policy. When I said, my brothers and sisters, that school shooting is nothing new I am quite serious, for the American record reads as follows;
1.) July 26, 1764 – Greencastle, Pennsylvania – 10 dead, 2 injured
2.) November 12, 1840 – Charlottesville, Virginia – 1 dead
3.) November 2, 1853 – Louisville, Kentucky – 1 injured
5.) July 8, 1858 – Baltimore, Maryland – 1 dead
6.) January 21, 1860 – Todd County, Kentucky – 1 dead
7.) February 6, 1864 – Ashland County, Ohio – 1 dead
8.) February 16, 1867 – Knights Ferry, California – 2 dead
9.) April 2, 1867 – Madison, Florida – 1 dead
11.) December 22, 1868 – Chattanooga, Tennessee – 3 dead
12.) January 27, 1871 – Knoxville, Tennessee – 1 dead
13.) February 1, 1872 – Washington, Pennsylvania – 1 injured
14.) February 11, 1873 – Wisconsin – 1 injured
15.) February 20, 1874 – Agency, Montana – 1 dead
16.) April 9, 1874 – Lebanon, Tennessee – 1 dead
17.) May 24, 1878 – St. Paul, Minnesota – 1 injured
18.) May 24, 1879 – Lancaster, New York – 1 injured
19.) December 1, 1881 – Santa Monica, California – 1 dead
20.) December 22, 1881 – Shelby County, Indiana – 0 dead 0 injured (School teacher Charles J. Gregory shot at a pupil at close range because he refused to write on a slate. The bullet missed the boy. The teacher was arrested) So much for teachers caring guns into the classroom Mr. President Trump!
21.) January 16, 1882 – Iola, Kansas – 0 dead 0 injured (A group of boys shot into a schoolhouse, but no one was hurt. Two of the boys were arrested and pleaded guilty three weeks later. They were fined $9.00 each.) Outrageous!
22.) April 13, 1882 – Huntsville, Texas – 1 injured
23.) February 14, 1883 – Florence, Nebraska – 3 injured
24.) November 20, 1883 – Barber County, Kansas – 0 injured 0 dead (A bunch of drunken cowboys stopped at several schoolhouses, forcing two teachers to drink whiskey and firing numerous shots at three schoolhouses.) Wouldn’t this be called an act of terrorism today?
25.) February 28, 1884 – Danville, Virginia – 2 injured
26.) March 6, 1884 – Boston, Massachusetts – 0 injured o dead (As news of outlaw Jesse James reached the East Coast, young boys started to imitate him. For instance, boys armed with guns shot at police investigating their activities at the Concord-street schoolhouse.) To this day we call Jesse James an American hero?
27.) March 15, 1884 – Gainesville, Georgia – 0 injured 0 dead (In the middle of the day, a group of very drunk Jackson County farmers was shooting their revolvers as they headed down the street, driving people into their homes. As they approached the female academy, the girls fled from the yard into the school. The gang followed and fired several rounds into the front door, but no one was hurt.) Yet another case where guns were used by people to scare and intimidate the masses – Guns make us feel powerful but lead us to unnecessary violence and depravity, such a disregard of life and dignity of the human spirit.
Is this the justice we American’s seek?
29.) June 13, 1889 – New Brunswick, New Jersey – 0 injured 0 dead (Charles Crawford, upset over an argument with a school trustee, went up to the window and fired a pistol into a crowded schoolroom. The bullet lodged in the wall just above the teacher’s head.) Misplaced anger? ‘Again, a person who with a gun needlessly endangers innocent children and their teacher!’ That could be a modern-day headline!
April 24, 1890 – Brazil, Indiana – 1 injured
31.) December 27, 1890 – Staunton, Virginia – 1 dead ( At the Kable’s Military Academy a 15-year-old student, A.H. Hathaway of Dennison, Texas, was accidentally killed by his 17-year-old classmate James Whitworth of Sulphur Springs, Texas, while they were playing with an old pistol.) An accident no parent wants on their conscience.
32.) March 30, 1891 – Liberty, Mississippi – 14 injured
33.) April 9, 1891 – Newburgh, New York – 0 dead / ? injured (70-year-old James Foster, fired a shotgun at a group of students in the playground of St. Mary’s Parochial School, causing minor injuries to several of the students.) What makes an old man do such an unspeakable act of violence?
34.) June 29, 1892 – Van Wert, Ohio – 1 dead (Convoy teacher, B.L. Richie, was killed by 14-year-old student, Shirley Longsworth, son of Dr. Longsworth.) Are you tired yet? Can we conclude that people are dangerous with a gun in their hands? Can we now say we need strike gun control laws? No… ok. Heres more history of needless human violence.
35.) October 10, 1892 – Lawrence, Kansas – 2 injured
36.) March 26, 1893 – Plain Dealing, Louisiana – 4 dead / 1 injured
37.) October 17, 1894 – Parkersburg, West Virginia – 2 dead
38.) December 13, 1898 – Charleston, West Virginia – 6 dead / 1+ injured
(38) dead by the end of the 19th century. I say to you my brothers and sisters even one death is too many! Remember when the students speak tomorrow in Washington D.C., in fact when you personally witness to others of the need for gun control, “It is not you who speaks but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” – Antiphon – Morning Prayer for TURIBIUS DE MONGROVEJO, BISHOP, The Liturgy of the Hours, pg. 1113
39.) February 24, 1903 – Inman, South Carolina – 1 dead
40.) July 21, 1903 – Jackson, Kentucky – 2 dead / 1 injured
41.) April 6, 1904 – Chicago, Illinois – 1 dead
42.) November 16, 1904 – Riverside, California – 2 dead / 1 injured
43.) December 16, 1904 – Magee, Mississippi – 1 dead / 1 injured
44.) February 9, 1905 – Colusa, California – 1 injured
45.) October 5, 1905 – Hickman, Kentucky – 0 dead / 0 injured (While returning from church, Professor Emmet W. Roach, was ambushed by an assassin)
46.) March 23, 1907 – Carmi, Illinois – 1 dead
47.) December 20, 1907 – Chico, California – 1 dead
48.) January 10, 1908 – Council Bluffs, Iowa – 0 dead / 0 injured (At around 6 a.m., as George O Mortensen, 35-year-old janitor of the Washington Street school building, was unlocking the outer door of the school, someone discharged a shotgun from only a few feet. The shot riddled the door within a foot of his head)
49.) March 11, 1908 – Boston, Massachusetts – 2 dead
50.) March 19, 1909 – Mount Vernon, Illinois – 0 dead / 1 injured
51.) June 10, 1909 – Trinidad, Colorado – 1 dead (Walter Harris, 11-year-old student, accidentally shot his teacher, B.C. Briggs in the head while on a school field trip, killing him.) Why did Walter have a gun in the first place, let alone out and loaded on a field trip? I am quite sure that question was asked many times by everyone involved.
52.) August 18, 1909 – Bakersfield, California – 0 dead / 0 injured (After hunting doves, a group of six young men deliberately shot out the glass at the Fruitvale School. They also shot at the nearby residence of A.J. Hunter, narrowly missing several children in the rear yard.) Another case of irresponsible youth taken by the power of the gun. In this case was it the guns fault or those who used the gun?
53.) September 11, 1909 – Gravette, Arkansas – 1 dead (John Butram, a student at the Bear Hollow School, told his fellow students that school was canceled. The teacher A.T. Kelly insisted that the day’s lesson was not over. When Butram drew a knife on his teacher, Kelly drew his gun and shot him.) Another instance of why arming teachers is not a good idea.
54.) January 12, 1910 – New York City, New York – 2 dead
55.) March 10, 1910 – Ione, California – 0 dead / 0 injured (At the reform school, known as Preston School of Industry, students Albert Brown and Eugene Griffin tried to escape, stealing a revolver from the school’s bakery shop. They shot at Captain William H. White when he pursued them. No one was hurt, but the boys were transferred to the penitentiary, which held adults.)
57.) April 27, 1911 – Manhattan, Kansas – 1 dead / 0 injured
58.) January 31, 1912 – San Francisco, California – 1 dead (During a stone-throwing confrontation near the Oriental School on Clay Street, a group of white boys found themselves trapped between two groups of Chinese boys. In an attempt to escape, Jose Aguilar, fired a BB shot air rifle twice hoping to frighten the Chinese. However, 10-year-old Wong She had a gun and fired back. One bullet passed through Aguilar’s coat sleeve as he ran and fatally struck 14-year-old James Kane in the school’s rear yard.)
59.) February 16, 1912 – Lagrange, New York – 1 dead / 0 injured
60.) November 19, 1914 – Sayre, Pennsylvania – 1 dead / 0 injured (While walking to school, 14-year-old Charles Listman, killed 15-year-old Andrew Milton, over the affections of a classmate, 13-year-old Minnie London.)
61.) January 13, 1915 – Vancouver, Washington – 1 injured
62.) February 3, 1915 – Jasper, Florida – 1 dead / 1 injured
63.) September 20, 1916 – Bemidji, Minnesota – 1 injured
64.) December 26, 1916 – Danville, Kentucky – 1 dead / ? injured
66.) October 28, 1917 – Chicago, Illinois – 1 dead / 0 injured
67.) November 29, 1917 – Manes, Missouri – 0 dead / 1 injured
68.) March 29, 1918 – Jefferson City, Missouri – 1 dead / 0 injured
69.) April 6, 1918 – Reeder, North Dakota – 1 dead / 0 injured (During the afternoon recess, a boy was looking over a 22-caliber rifle; it discharged, striking the head of the Coyne boy in the seat to the front, killing him instantly.)
70.) January 9, 1919 – Monroe City, Missouri – 0 dead / 0 injured (While school was in session, Hugh Claggett shot through the school house’s front door while on his way home from work. No one was hurt, and he was fined $20) So we see fines have risen from $9.00 to $20.00 a growth of $11.00. Children could have been killed but this is what the price of life is in our Nation. Sad commentary all around.
71.) April 12, 1919 – Ogden City, Utah – 0 dead / 1 injured (During a high school assembly, six boys shot off their guns. Permission had been given in the belief the guns were loaded with blanks but they had live shot. Teacher Verna Davidson was shot in the foot.) Complete lack of judgment! What possessed the school Administration to allow such a thing in the first place?
73.) February 14, 1920 – Durant, Oklahoma – 0 dead / 1 injured
74.) March 4, 1920 – Cincinnati, Ohio – 0 dead / 1 injured
75.) May 1, 1920 – Summerville, Georgia – 0 dead / 0 injured (At the High School, 15-year-old student Alexander Potter, fired six shots at his teacher, Prof. Ransom, but missed. Potter was upset over having received a severe thrashing and expulsion. Potter was sentenced to six years at a reform school.)
76.) May 15, 1920 – Bowling Green, Ohio – 1 dead / 0 injured (While attending her son’s school track meet, Mrs. F. Mahl was killed accidentally by shot from the starter’s pistol.)
78.) October 22, 1920 – Chicago, Illinois – 0 dead / 1 injured (Mrs. Carmila Rindoni went to the school and twice shot Rosalind I. Reynolds, her son’s teacher, for spanking her son the day before. Mrs. Rindoni was arrested, and Miss Reynolds was expected to recover.)
79.) November 4, 1920 – Middlesboro, Kentucky – 1 dead / 0 injured
80.) February 17, 1922 – Valdosta, Georgia – 2 dead / 0 injured
82.) December 29, 1926 – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – 0 dead / 1 injured
83.) May 22, 1930 – Ringe, Minnesota – 1 dead / 0 injured (24-year-old Douglas Petersen, killed 20-year-old teacher, Margaret Wegman, who was standing in the doorway of a rural schoolhouse.)
84.) May 28, 1931 – Duluth, Minnesota – 1 dead / 0 injured (Katherine McMillen, 24-year-old teacher at the Howard Gensen rural school near Duluth, was accidentally killed by a pupil who brought a revolver to school.)
85.) September 14, 1934 – Gill, Massachusetts – 1 dead / 0 injured (Headmaster Elliott Speer was murdered by a shotgun blast through the window at Northfield Mount Hermon School. The crime was never solved.)
86.) May 7, 1935 – Irvington, New York – 1 dead / 0 injured
87.) May 19, 1936 – Williamstown, Massachusetts – 2 dead / 1 injured (Lewis Jack Somes, Jr. shot and killed classmate Robert Henneberry and wounded William Hartz, Jr. before killing himself in Lehman Hall at Williams College.)
90.) September 24, 1937 – Toledo, Ohio – 0 dead / 2 injured
91.) January 24, 1938 – Blencoe, Iowa – 1 dead / 0 injured
92.) May 6, 1940 – Pasadena, California – 5 dead / 2 injured (South Pasadena Junior High School murders: Outraged by his dismissal, following conflicts with other staff, thirty-eight-year-old Verlin H. Spencer shot and killed 62-year-old superintendent of the South Pasadena city schools George C. Bush, 50-year-old principal of South Pasadena High School John E. Alman, and 52-year-old School District business manager Will R. Speer. He then attempted to kill Bush’s secretary, 32-year-old Dorothea Talbert; she was struck near the shoulder. He later shot and killed 45-year-old art teacher Ruth Sturgeon, with whom he’d been in conflict, fatally wounding her in the chest and, following an intense struggle, 35-year-old mechanical arts teacher Verner V. Vanderlip, another with whom he had a grievance. Spencer was cornered by police as he attempted to escape through the school cafeteria; as one officer aimed, Spencer pressed the .22 caliber automatic pistol against his right side and fired twice, critically wounding himself. Police later found a suicide note from Spencer to his wife, Polly. He survived his wounds and was tried for murder. Pleading guilty to all charges, he received 5 consecutive life terms. He was discharged from California’s Department of Correction in 1977, aged 75. Verlin Spencer died January 11, 1991.) I guess the question I have is, ‘Was it worth it?’
93.) July 4, 1940 – Valhalla, New York – 1 dead / 0 injured
94.) October 2, 1942 – New York City, New York – 1 dead / 0 injured
96.) February 2, 1947 – Madill, Oklahoma – 2 dead / 0 injured (62-year-old Ellis Laird killed his estranged wife, a 40-year-old teacher, Jessie Laird, inside her first-grade classroom. He then took his own life. All of this took place in the presence of several pupils.)
97.) December 24, 1948 – New York City, New York – 1dead / 0 injured
98.) March 11, 1949 – New York City, New York – 0 dead / 1 injured (A 16-year-old student at Stuyvesant High School was accidentally shot in the arm by a fellow student who was ‘showing off’ with a pistol in a classroom.)
99.) November 12, 1949 – Columbus, Ohio – 1 dead / 0 injured
100.) July 22, 1950 – New York City, New York – 0 dead / 1 injured
101.) January 24, 1951 – Alton, Illinois – 1 dead / 0 injured
102.) March 12, 1951 – Union Mills, North Carolina – 2 dead / 0 injured
104.) November 27, 1951 – St. Louis, Missouri – 1 dead / 0 injured (15-year-old student, David Brooks, was fatally shot as fellow pupils looked on. Two former students were sought by police.)
105.) April 9, 1952 – New York City, New York – 1 dead / 0 injured (A 15-year-old boarding school student shot a dean rather than give up his pin-up pictures of girls in bathing suits.) A case where a thing was more important than human life!
106.) July 14, 1952 – New York City, New York – 1 dead / 0 injured
107.) October 2, 1953 – Chicago, Illinois – 1 dead / 0 injured (14-year-old Bernice Turner, killed 14-year-old Pasquale Coletta inside the science classroom at Kelly High School. The shooting was later ruled to be accidental.) Why was there a gun in the classroom in the first place? How could this be an accident?
108.) March 31, 1954 – Newton, Massachusetts – 1 dead / 0 injured (14-year-old John Frankenberger, was accidentally killed in a classroom at Day Junior High School when a pistol being held by a classmate discharged.) Again, why was there a gun permitted in the classroom and how could the death of an innocent be an accident?
109.) May 15, 1954 – Chapel Hill, North Carolina – 1 dead / 2 injured
110.) January 11, 1955 – Swarthmore, Pennsylvania – 1 dead / 0 injured
111.) May 4, 1956 – Seat Pleasant, Maryland – 1 dead / 2 injured
112.) October 20, 1956 – New York City, New York – 0 dead / 1 injured
113.) October 2, 1957 – New York City, New York – 0 dead / 1 injured
114.) March 4, 1958 – New York City, New York – 0 dead / 1 injured
115.) May 1, 1958 – Massapequa, New York – 1 dead / 0 injured
116.) September 24, 1959 – New York City, New York – 1 dead / 0 injured (Twenty-seven men and boys and an arsenal were seized in the Bronx as the police headed off a gang war resulting from the fatal shooting of a teenager at Morris High School.)
FOR COMPLETE LIST OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS CLICK HERE
Within the 1960’s there were a total of 18 shooting, 44 deaths and 64 injured. This then brings the death toll of the 20th century up to 109 dead. That means the 1960’s having 44 dead was the most deaths by school shootings ever in our nation’s history. However, it just gets worse from here. 1970’s we see at a total of 36 dead and 73 injured. Bring the 20th century up to 145 dead. The 1980’s records 49 dead and 164 injured, bring the death toll within the 20th century to 194 dead. The 1990’s records a total of 88 deaths the most in any single decade of the 20th century leaving 146 injured. By far the 1990’s was the most violent period in American history, raising the 20th century’s death toll to 282 dead. When calculating total deaths from the start of this count to the end of the 20th century the overall deaths in America comes out to 330 people who died in school-related shootings. I find this oddly ironic because during this period of time America has clung tightly to the 2nd Amendment of the constitution which is the right to bear arms… and in light of this the rights of those who have been killed have been forgotten, so I ask which is more important, the Right to Bear Arms – which has been taken out of context by the NRA, or the right to, ” Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?” Do guns bring us happiness? For it says in the Bible, (1 John 2:15-16), ‘Do not love the things of this world.’ Happiness cannot be found in the things or deeds of men,
20 Hell has a voracious appetite, and lust just never quits. – Proverbs 27:20 (Message – MSG)
Indeed, I say to you my brothers and sisters that the ‘Hell’ our country has been sucked into by a few over the gun issue has cost us much at the price of innocent blood. In just the 21st century we have seen 278 deaths within our schools bring the overall death toll to 608 dead. This problem is not getting any better rather it is just getting worse! For it is a sin of the love of money which forces the many to continually pay the price of blood for the few who want or mistakenly think they have the right to bear arms. What would you say to those who have died, what will you say to the God upon judgment day? For I tell you the truth, “In God’s infinite wisdom, we came into this world dependent on those around us, and we will exit this world having left some great or small impression on the strands of life. We will be held accountable, not only for the things we do but also for the things we do not do. When it comes to the social effect of our moral decisions, the things we do not do may be as important as the things we do.” – The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, 3rd Edition, Saint Mary’s Press, Chapter 24 – Social Justice, pg.264-265.
The overwhelming death count is now and always had been a matter of Social Justice, the laws not enacted, those who keep the lawmakers from acting, and the money within the system which lines the pockets of the powerful all have become an issue of right from wrong, a matter of moral conscience, an issue of social justice. For, “God calls society to follow moral principles that defend human dignity by ensuring that essential human needs are met and that essential human right are protected for all people.” – Social Justice, pg.265… Not for just a few.
So, I say let the children march! Let the students teach society a lesson about the basics of human dignity, let them stand up and be heard as they cry out for Social Justice, and make the lawmakers in every State of the Union see the numbers of the dead and know it’s time to finally act! LET THE STUDENTS MARCH, LET THEM MARCH, LET THEM ALL MARCH!
Let’s Us Pray
TURIBIUS DE MONGROVEJO, BISHOP
God, come to my assistance.
– Lord, make haste to help me.
Ant. This is a faithful and wise steward: the Lord entrusted the care of his household to him so that he might give their portion of food at the proper season.
Lord, through the apostolic work of Saint Turibius and his unwavering love and truth, you helped you Church grow. May your chosen people continue to grow in faith and holiness. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’
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