Mass shootings in the UK are a rare event but one horrific incident in 1996 highlights that Britain has experienced an evil multiple murder and the victims were attending a primary school.
The UK experienced mass killings at a school in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996.
Fifteen children aged between 5 and 6 died in a classroom along with their teacher. Eleven children and three adults sustained physical injuries and were taken to hospital.
One of the children was pronounced dead on arrival.
The shooter let his weapons rip around the school before killing himself with a single bullet. If it had not been for other members of staff managing to hide children before the killer Thomas Hamilton reached them the death toll would have been much higher.
As in the Sandy Hook school mass murders of 2012 in Connecticut, in the USA, there were many stories of brave actions; most actions bravely carried out in an attempt to protect the children.
44-year-old Thomas Hamilton the killer in Dunblane was armed to the teeth with legally held weapons.
Wikipedia carries some information which may explain how this misguided, suspect and strange man came to vent his wrath on small, young children.
Some documents relating to the case were put under a closure order. The reasons given were that it was to protect the children but many people believe it was part of a cover-up.
There were widespread reports that Hamilton had been accused of abusing children but that these had never been followed through by the police.
The UK has sadly experienced mass killings since, most recently via Derrick Bird who went on a shooting spree in Cumbria.
They have been rare occurrences in the UK.
Bird also legally held weapons.
Lessons have been learned in the UK about regulations regarding gun control.
After Dunblane there were petitions and an inquiry which made recommendations about gun ownership and these were followed through.
That does not mean it could not happen again in the UK but hopefully it will not. The chances are slim. Reading again about Dunblane it is easy to feel that the children and their families were let down by the law of the land.
Over in the USA President Obama has struggled to implement any real change in gun ownership laws, blocked almost every step of the way by the Republican (Conservative) party and some citizens who still quote a centuries old constitutional 'right to bear arms'
Lessons have been learned regarding UK gun laws. Yes some people will still illegally access them via the Internet or criminal actions, but weapons are not a regular feature in ordinary people's homes and long may that continue.
[Ahead of the 20-year anniversary UK TV news channels have shown reports from survivors and relatives of those who died. The invisible scars are still visible]
On this Day in History
The following pages carry notable dates for each month of the year while this blog will carry features for some of those dates:
Running a news based website is fun, time consuming and can be costly. If you would like to help the site keep afloat please use the donate button