Vicki Polin
Social Justice Activist

Mass school shootings is nothing new

My heart breaks each and every time I hear about another senseless school shooting. Once again our country is in mourning.

This time an elementary school in Texas is the latest crime scene. Today at least 19 children and two adults, along with the shooter — 18-year-old Salvador Ramos has been killed.

The history of school shootings is nothing new.  The first recorded school shooting in the United States dates back to July 26, 1764. This occurred in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, when a group of individuals killed the schoolmaster Enoch Brown, along with nine or 10 children (reports vary). Thank God, two children survived this killing field.

The next reported school shooting occurred on November 2, 1853 in Louisville, Kentucky.  In this case, Matthew Ward shot and killed the schoolmaster after the schoolmaster was extremely abusive towards his younger brother the day before.

I’ll never forget the first school shooting I ever heard of, since I was not that far away from the incident when it occurred.

On May 20, 1988, a group of friends attended the funeral of our friend Candy, who died suddenly the day before.  

After the funeral a few of us decided we needed to debrief away from Candy’s family prior to going to the shiva house. Our group decided we would gather at a local restaurant.  

Moments after we finished eating our food, several beepers went off. A few of my friends were healthcare providers who worked at Highland Park hospital. They were being paged by the hospital since there was a mass shooting in the area. They were needed immediately in the hospital’s emergency room. 

On my way back home I learned on the radio that the shooting occurred at Hubbard Woods Elementary School in Winnetka, IL. That is how I learned that Laurie Wasserman-Dann walked into the elementary school, and started shooting. Laurie Dann shot and killed 8-year-old Nick Corwin, and injured five other youngsters.  

Laurie Dann then fled the school and entered into a home, where she held the Andrew family hostage — injuring 20-year old, Phillip Andrew.  

Laurie Danny’s last act of violence was to commit suicide.

When I got home, there were multiple messages on my answering machine from my father.  

My father wanted to let me know that as a young child, I had played with Laurie and her ex-husband Russell at a “family camp” my family attended.

I don’t remember Laurie, or her husband — yet our paths crossed years before.

Even though I wasn’t present for the shootings, Laurie Dann’s acts of violence stayed with me, especially knowing as a child I played with a killer.

I wish someone would have intervened with Laurie Dann, so that Nick Corwin’s life would have been spared —  as we all wish with all murder victims of school killings.

If Nick Corwin was alive today, he would have celebrated his 42nd birthday.

About the Author
Vicki Polin is a feminist who has been a Social Justice Activist since her childhood. Vicki is also an award winning, retired psychotherapist who worked in the anti-rape field for just under forty years. For fun Vicki is an artist and nature photographer.
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