CHICAGO (CBS) — State lawmakers have begun a new effort to figure out strategies for heading off school shootings, like the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook in Connecticut, when a gunman killed 20 students and 6 staff.
Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), who chairs the bipartisan Violence Prevention Task Force, said it’s important to understand the Sandy Hook massacre was not an isolated incident, and could happen elsewhere.
“According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there have been 160 mass casualty incidents in the United States since the year 2000. There have been 1,043 casualties, including 486 killed and 557 wounded,” he said.
Harris said Sandy Hook, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, and other such shooting sprees all were preceded by warning signals that were not understood or mishandled.
First Lady Diana Rauner, who is president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund – an early childhood nonprofit group – said problems start long before someone takes a gun to school.
“It is, of course, most common to think about violence prevention when children are large and dangerous, but the reality is that the seeds of resilience, and of quality mental and social emotional development, are laid in the very first years of life,” she said.