By: Lucy, Maisie and Emma
The Dunblane massacre took place at Dunblane primary school near Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland, on March 13th 1996, when Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 children (all between the age of 5 and 6) and one teacher before turning the gun on himself. It remains the deadliest mass shooting in British history.
At around 8:15am on Wednesday 13th March 1996, Thomas Hamilton, aged 43, was seen scraping ice off his van outside his home at Kent Road in Stirling. He left soon afterwards and drove about 5 miles (8 km) north to Dunblane. He arrived on the grounds of Dunblane Primary School at around 9:30am and parked his van near a telegraph pole in the car park of the school. Hamilton headed towards the north-west side of the school to a door near the toilets and the school gymnasium. After entering, he made his way to the gymnasium armed with four legally-held handguns. From entering the gymnasium and walking a few steps, Hamilton had fired 29 shots with one of the pistols, killed one child, and injured several others. Hamilton then moved up the east side of the gym, firing six shots as he walked, and then fired eight shots towards the opposite end of the gym. He then went towards the centre of the gym, firing 16 shots at point-blank range at a group of children who had been incapacitated by his earlier shots.
Public debate about the killings centred on gun control laws, including public petitions calling for a ban on private ownership of handguns and an official inquiry, which produced the 1996 Cullen Reports. In response to this debate, two new Firearms Acts were passed, which outlawed private ownership of most handguns in Great Britain. This drastic change is something that will never happen in America, because the amount of Americans who cherish their guns is in the millions. And it doesn’t help that the President is taking donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA). There has been a lot of controversy over this resulting in protests where teenagers have had signs saying “save kids not guns”, “fear has no place in schools” and “enough is enough”.
On February 14th 2018, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. By shooter Nikolas Cruz aged 19, killed 17 and seventeen more were wounded, all by bullets, making it one of the world’s deadliest school massacres and the 6th school shooting of the year. He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Cruz was previously expelled from the school. Many are saying the reason for Cruz’s outbreak was that he has not have the easiest life dealing with his biological mother being a drug addict, his adopted mother and father’s deaths and dealing with PTSD. Many people defended him because he has behavioural problems, ADHD and attended a school for children with emotional or learning difficulties. Others are fighting this just because he had a bad life he has no excuse to end the lives of many and putting others through such a traumatic time.
Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel described Cruz’s online profiles, accounts and websites as “very, very disturbing”. They contained pictures and posts of him with a variety of weapons, including long knives, a shotgun, a pistol, and a BB gun. Police said that he held “extremist” views; social media accounts that were thought to be linked to him contained anti-black and anti-Muslim veiws. CNN reported that Cruz was in a private Instagram group chat when he supported the killing of Mexicans, blacks, and gay people. He said his hate for black people was “simply because they were black”. He referred to white women in interracial relationships as traitors and expressed anti-immigrant views also the Florida Department of Children and Families investigated. In September 2016 Cruz shared Snapchat posts in which he cut both his arms and said he planned to buy a gun. State investigators reported he had depression, autism, and ADHD. In their assessment, they concluded he “was at low risk of harming himself or others”. He had previously received mental health treatment, but had not received treatment in the year leading up to the shooting.
The sheriff’s office received a number of tips in 2016 and 2017 about Cruz’s threats to carry out a school shooting. Investigators found out about a YouTube user with the username “Nikolas Cruz” who wrote in September 2017 about becoming a school shooter, but could not identify the user. In January 2018, a direct complaint of a death threat by Cruz was not forwarded to the local FBI office by the FBI tip line. When Cruz was at the school he was a member of his school’s varsity air rifle team.
Many students have been protesting for gun control and one of them is Emma Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a student at Stoneman Douglas High school who survived the tragic shooting, she is also an American activist and advocate for gun control. Her work has made a major impact on social media, her twitter account now has 1.2 million followers and the National Rifle Association only has 626.1K followers. Gonzalez’s primary uses it to spread word and appeal to get more gun laws put into place. She does this so terrible events like the Parkland shooting never happen again.
March 13th 2018 marks the 22nd anniversary of the Dunblane Massacre, where 16 children and one teacher were brutally murdered due to Thomas Hamilton bringing in legally-held handguns into Dunblane primary School. This wreaked devastation in the town of Dundale and all over the world. Something like this happening like this in Scotland is completely unheard of, therefore it was on the news for months in Scotland and the rest of the world. But in America there is on average one school shooting per day. Some make the news, like the recent one in Parkland Florida, but many don’t.
Social media has had a very positive impact on the recent Parkland shooting and it’s helped the Dunblane victims show their support and speak out about personal experiences. On the 22nd anniversary of the massacre, some survivors and relatives of the shooting spoke out with a message for Parkland survivors. “We wanted to reach out and offer our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to you, to your teachers and to the families and friends of those who lost their lives at your school on the 14th February” says Jack Crozier who is a brother of a victim at Dunblane. There are many views on social media such as many people these days find it easier to access information via social media or the internet. The media is often used to spread news and show support to others at times like this. The community have gained a lot of support from the Dunblane School shooting families and survivors. The hashtag #neverforget has been used to spread awareness on many social media such as Instagram, twitter and Facebook.