Saturday, January 7, 2017

Mass Shootings v. Mass Murders

We had a reader ask us about mass shootings and/or mass murders in the Shoals. It would seem not all can agree on the various criteria for "mass" crimes, but the number four is usually the accepted one. 

Obviously, no one has to die in order for a mass shooting to take place. Various entities have begun keeping track of these shootings, but there is no federal or state mandated registry as one finds with sex crimes. Therefore, we are not naming the shooter here; however, over the July 4th holiday in 2013, a 22 year-old man shot four individuals in Florence--all survived.

Kevin Lee Garner
What about crimes in which the victims died? In April 2009, Kevin Lee Garner shot four family members in the Greenhill community before driving to Morgan County where he took his own life.

Are there others? We can recall a shooting at a Florence fertilizer plant in the very late 1990s or early 2000s in which at least three people were shot--all survived. If any readers have a better memory of this, please contact us.

While this incident is in the distant past and claimed only two and one-half lives, we were unaware of it until now. A Florence incident from August 1856:

The schoolmaster had a tame sparrow and had warned the students not to harm it, threatening death. One of the boys stepped on the bird and killed it; he was afraid to return to school but did so. After lessons, the master took the boy into a private room and strangled him to death. The boy's father went to the school and shot the schoolmaster dead

Did the violent youth get what he deserved? How about the student-throttling schoolmaster? Wouldn't it be interesting to know what justice was meted out to the father who had raised a son with no respect for life? Did anyone care in 1856? How many care in 2017?

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