In American schools, April is a month for spring testing, gearing up for graduation, starting next year’s schedule, spring break… and oh yes – catastrophic violence. In the past 20 years, April has become known by mass-murder and terrorism experts as the “killing season” and for good reason.
Next week, particularly April 19 and 20, is infamous for school violence.
The massacres at Virginia Tech (April 16) and Columbine High School (April 20), the stabbing rampage at Franklin Regional High School, as well as numerous “lesser” attacks all occurred in schools in mid-April.
Unfortunately, time doesn’t lessen the impact of these events. The “celebration” of or homage to the anniversary of these events (in particular the Columbine shooting) becomes of critical significance to those intending to perpetrate a similar, or “better” attack.
As more attacks are carried out in April, the contagion grows greater, with more attacks desiring to replicate or pay tribute to the nefarious anniversaries of Eric Harris’s birthday (April 9), the Boston Marathon bombing (April 15), the Virginia Tech shooting (April 16), the Waco Siege and Oklahoma City bombing (both April 19), Hitler’s birthday (April 20), and the most “admired” school shooting of all – Columbine High School on April 20.
Given the successful thwarting of numerous planned school attacks in the past few weeks, it is not just law enforcement or anti-terrorism responders who need to be aware, attuned, and responsive during this time – it is educators as well.
That extra measure of vigilance in the coming days may very well save lives.