Most people think school violence and mass shootings started with Columbine but the first “school shooting” in the U.S. happened in 1840 when a student shot and killed his law professor at the University of Virginia. There were 30 more shootings at schools before 1900. In 1903 a teacher accidentally shot a student he was attempting to pistol whip as part of corporeal punishment. In 1966 one of the most famous school shootings before the modern era took place. Charles Whitman climbed a tower at the University of Texas at Austin and spent the next 96 minutes shooting at people randomly. He killed 15 people and it was the deadliest school shooting in the country for a few decades.
Few people remember an incident that took place on April 26, 1988. A senior at a Los Angeles county high school, Jeffrey Lyne Cox, entered a classroom with a semi-automatic rifle and held 60 people hostage for half an hour before he was subdued by a heroic classmate named Ruben Ortega. One of Cox’s friends told the press that his inspiration for the shooting was a lesser known Stephen King novel titled Rage