School shootings continue to trouble US, this time in Colorado

Published 09.05.2019 00:08

Gun violence has become a regular occurrence at U.S. schools and colleges as the latest school shooting in Colorado left one student dead and eight injured.

Two surviving victims of the attack at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch remained in a serious condition, medical officials said. Another was stable and five had been discharged from the hospital.

Two students walked into their school and opened fire with handguns, just a few miles from where a school massacre took place 20 years ago. Authorities identified one of the suspects as 18-year-old Devon Erickson. The second suspect is a juvenile and that both attended the school.

Colorado ABC News affiliate Denver 7, citing law enforcement sources, said a combination of factors, including revenge and anger, spurred the attack. One suspect faced bullying for wanting to change from female to male and identifying as a male, the station said.

Police declined to give a motive on Tuesday. The deadly attack shocked the affluent suburb of Highlands Ranch, and parents and students who had considered the school a safe place for its 1,850 pupils, who range in age from kindergarten to 12th grade.

The latest bloodshed at the Colorado school reveals that children in the U.S. have become victims of gun violence as more people urge stricter gun control laws in spite of President Donald Trump's apathy on the issue. More children in the U.S. were killed by guns than active police and military officers in 2017, a study published in the American Journal of Medicine said.

According to the study conducted by Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt College of Medicine, some 38,940 children from the ages of 5 to 18 died as a result of gun-related violence between 1999 and 2017.

The shooting took place exactly a week after a gunman killed two students and wounded four at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. It also comes nearly three weeks after neighboring Littleton marked the grim 20th anniversary of the Columbine school massacre that killed 13 people. The two schools are separated by about 11 kilometers in adjacent communities south of Denver.

Considering the annual toll of gun attacks in schools, 2018 has had the highest number of incidents ever recorded, a phenomenon that authorities seem powerless to prevent. The perennial debate over gun control in America kicks re-emerges with each shooting, a far too frequent occurrence. Yet no solution has been found over the decades that satisfies both those seeking stricter gun controls to reduce such tragedies and those supportive of constitutional guarantees to the right to bear arms. Efforts have always proved divisive and Republican lawmakers have been highly successful at preventing what they describe as an assault on their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The number of firearms in circulation has continued to grow, now at 393 million in a nation of 326 million people and mass shootings have become a disturbingly regular part of American life. The deadliest mass shooting on a higher education campus in the U.S. took place at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, in April 2007, when a student killed 32 people and then himself.

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