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Localized Terrorism and Our Schools

Jeremy D. Blanks, Ph.D.

March 5, 2001


We have yet another school shooting.  This time at a school located outside of San Diego, CA.  This is the second school shooting in under a year and a half for the state of California.  The other was a Jewish daycare center in late 1999.  We also had a mass shooting in Massachusetts, as well as one just outside of Chicago, IL earlier this year.  Both California and Massachusetts have the most stringent gun control laws in the nation, including registration, waiting periods, selected gun bans, and a whole host of other items that are on the gun control agenda.  While the shooting in Illinois did occur just outside of the city limits of Chicago, it should be noted that Chicago has a virtual handgun and “assault rifle” ban.  Yet, none of these laws seem to have any affect at stopping such crimes.

"...the aforementioned laws are complete failures because they fail to address the true problem that we have in America."

It is my belief that the aforementioned laws are complete failures because they fail to address the true problem that we have in America.  The problem that we have in our schools, work places, and in our society in general is what I have termed “localized terrorism.”  Localized terrorism is defined as an act that is carried out by one or more individuals against another group of people or individual that the attacker believes has in one way or another committed an injustice against them.  Just as terrorism based on political beliefs is carried out to strike back against a perceived oppressor in many cases, i.e. the Irish Republican Army, Palestinian militant groups, etc., localized terrorism has the goal of fighting back against one or more individuals that the attacker despises for a variety of reasons.  Schools commonly have problems between groups of young people, and we all remember the disagreements between individual students that were common in our school years.  Work places have similar disputes. and of course the resulting rage that often develops.  The reality is that these aforementioned settings are tailor made for local terrorism.

Essentially every incident of a school or work place mass shooting in the US over the last two years falls into this local terrorism category.  In this most recent school shooting in California, the teenager that carried out the attack was commonly called names and he was bullied.  He obviously believed that those that he attacked had caused him harm and this was his twisted way of fighting back.  In the Chicago, IL incident, we have an ex-worker that had been fired and was going to spend time in jail for an incident that occurred at work.  Here we have an individual who believed that his coworkers were responsible in large part for his own personal failures.  And finally, in the Massachusetts shooting, we have another angry worker that impugned others for his own failures.  A pattern of anger against one or more fellow students or coworkers, blame, and eventually a violent act is a common theme to all of these school and work place shootings. 

It is not surprising to find that we have a number of school and work place shootings when one realizes that we have many disturbed people, as well as a society that accepts violence and often times encourages the blaming of others for our own failures.  This aforementioned combination makes it convenient for people to point the finger at others and ultimately to carry out violence against those that they deem responsible for their own failures.  The result of this aforementioned condition is that we have created a new type of terrorist, a localized terrorist.  This revelation does not relieve these violent criminals of their responsibility whatsoever, but such is valuable in determining how to counter such attacks. 

Methods to counter these localized terrorist should be based on proven methods to stop terrorism in general. Israel learned this lesson the hard way several decades ago when their schools became the targets of terrorism.  They made sure that in every school there were armed and well-trained guards as well as selected teachers and administrators that had access to an emergency firearm.  I can hear the absurd cries now from people like Rosie O’Donnell, who by the way has an armed guard for her child, that we don't want guns in our schools and the law abiding gun owners should be blamed.  Of course, if you don't want guns in the hands of a trained teacher or administrator, then you want the victims to be defenseless.  Who out there wants their children's lives in the hands of some nut that managed to gain access to an illegal gun?  If you are against giving select teachers and administrators the ability to defend their schools, then you are indeed placing the life of your child into the hands of a madman.  It's time to give the victims a fighting chance. 

By the way, you don't hear about school shootings in Israel anymore. I wonder why?

About the Author:  Dr. Blanks is a Senior Research Scientist with the premier R&D company in the world.  In the past, Dr. Blanks was supportive of many of the current proposals offered by gun control groups.  However, through research into the effectiveness of such measures and the value of firearm ownership in the prevention of millions of crimes each year, Dr. Blanks is now an advocate for self defense and firearm ownership rights.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws,  Dr. Blanks can be reached at

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