WASHINGTON — It started with Barry Loukaitis five
years ago. The teen killer gunned down three at a
Moses Lake, Wash., school.
Luke Woodham and Michael Carneal matched him the next
year, both teens taking three lives each in school
shootings in Pearl, Miss., and West Paducah, Ky.
In 1998, Andrew Golden and Mitchell Johnson, barely
teen-agers, used their grade-school classmates in
Jonesboro, Ark., for target practice. Together they
Then came the unthinkable: Eric Harris and Dylan
Klebold in 1999 shot and murdered 13 classmates at
their Littleton, Colo., high school.
Despite a national outcry, suburban spree shootings
haven’t stopped. Last week another white boy, a
ninth-grader, was arrested for shooting 15 people at
his Santee, Calif., high school. Two died.
Prompted by the rash of shootings, schools in small
towns like Wilmot, N.H., are copying inner-city
schools and holding “bullet drills” in which
youngsters drop and take cover.
Democrats and their friends in the media are clamoring
for more gun control to abate what they see as an
epidemic of juvenile gun violence spreading across
even remote parts of the country.
“There have been 16 of these events now in the last
five years in 16 different states,” said Sen. Dianne
“There are at least 13 children killed every day by
weapons in this country. No other country has this
syndrome,” she recently told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who
echoed her views. “This is a gun-happy culture.”
Feinstein reflects the conventional wisdom here inside
But she hasn’t looked at the numbers. Nor have the old
media. If they had, they’d see that gun violence among
teens of all colors is on the wane across all parts of
America, and has been for the past five years in which
the media have been sensationalizing what are clearly
rare and isolated cases of juvenile gun homicides in
Forget about the anecdotes. The real story lies in the
- Gun-related murders by teens aged 14 to 17 peaked at
3,337 in 1994 and have steadily dropped every year since
then. In 1999, the latest Justice Department figures, there
were 1,165 — or just a third as many — teen gun homicides.
- Homicides in the suburbs peaked at 5,030 in 1993
before falling to 3,166 in 1999, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
- Also, the share of white juvenile murderers peaked in
1994. In the last reported year, 1999, the homicide offending rate among white males aged 14 to 17 plunged
to 10.2 per 100,000 population from 22.4 in
1994, Justice data show. The rate for black juveniles also
plunged over that period, falling from 226.7 in 1994 to 67.3 in 1999.
There is one troubling piece of data, however.
In the past, the trends in gun involvement for single-
and multiple-victim murders closely tracked each
But now the trends have diverged, with the share of
multiple-victim gun murders rising and the share of
single-victim gun murders falling.
Fully 76 percent of gun-related homicides now result in the killing of two or more victims, up from 70.2
percent in 1995 and 67.4 percent in 1990. The school spree shootings are reflected in that
Point is, guns make it easier to kill more people at once.
But as one university freshman recently demonstrated,
twisted teens from the ‘burbs don’t need guns to kill a
bunch of people.
Earlier this month, David Attias, an 18-year-old from
upscale Santa Monica, was charged with running down
five pedestrians with his car in Santa Barbara and
killing four of them.
This kind of spree killing is just as horrible and
grisly, if not more so, than the school shootings. Yet
no one’s clamoring for locks on gas pedals.
To be sure, there’s no reason for kids to bring guns
to school. They should be banned on campus, except in
the case of security and administrators with permits
to carry, and the punishment for violating the rules
should be more severe than it is now.
But gun violence is not out of control. The suburbs
are not a more dangerous place. Nor are white kids
And for every school shooting you hear hyped on TV,
there are thousands of other schools who have never
had such an incident.
The only thing out of control is the liberal media
elite, who blow such tragedies out of proportion to
serve their gun-bashing agenda (while boosting their
They also end up glamorizing crime and giving other
confused teens bad ideas.
Yes, I’m talking about copy-cats. During the nonstop
coverage of the Columbine High massacre, a Georgia boy
shot up his mostly white, suburban high school,
wounding six fellow students. And two days after the
press went into a frenzy over the Santana High
murders, an eighth-grader shot a classmate at a Roman
Catholic school in Williamsport, Pa.
And guns are supposed to be the problem? Hmm.