Dunblane: Never Forget

Today marks the 25th anniversary of a mass shooting that occurred in the quiet town of Dunblane, Scotland on Wednesday the 13th of March, 1996.

A man named Thomas Hamilton walked into a junior school at 9:30 that morning carrying two Browning 9mm pistols and two Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum revolvers. He also had around 740 rounds of spare ammunition.

The guns and ammunition were held by him legally, under UK gun laws that existed at the time.

In the school gymnasium, 28 very young schoolchildren were assembled for a gym class, being supervised by three adult teachers. Hamilton walked in, and began firing immediately.

Less than five minutes later, Hamilton had shot 32 children and staff, killing 17 of them. He then killed himself, by firing a gun into his mouth.

Here are the names and ages of those he killed.

Victoria Elizabeth Clydesdale (age 5)
Emma Elizabeth Crozier (age 5)
Melissa Helen Currie (age 5)
Charlotte Louise Dunn (age 5)
Kevin Allan Hasell (age 5)
Ross William Irvine (age 5)
David Charles Kerr (age 5)
Mhairi Isabel MacBeath (age 5)
Gwen Mayor (age 45) (teacher)
Brett McKinnon (age 6)
Abigail Joanne McLennan (age 5)
Emily Morton (age 5)
Sophie Jane Lockwood North (age 5)
John Petrie (age 5)
Joanna Caroline Ross (age 5)
Hannah Louise Scott (age 5)
Megan Turner (age 5)

Britain was stunned by this mass shooting. The shock extended far from Dunblane, affecting every corner of this country.

As a result, the laws on legally held firearms were changed.

In response to this public debate, the Conservative government of Prime Minister John Major introduced the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, which banned all cartridge ammunition handguns with the exception of .22 calibre single-shot weapons in England, Scotland and Wales. Following the 1997 general election, the Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair introduced the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997, banning the remaining .22 cartridge handguns as well. This left only muzzle-loading and historic handguns legal, as well as certain sporting handguns (e.g. “Long-Arms”) that fall outside the Home Office definition of a “handgun” because of their dimensions.

Never forget why that happened.

53 thoughts on “Dunblane: Never Forget

    1. He had been accused of sexually molesting young boys, and some of his accusers lived in Dunblane. But why he chose to murder such young children that day is a secret that died with him.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. That’s just so terrible it’s my first time hearing about this. Those children were too young they didn’t deserve any of that. I really wish guns had never been invented, they’ve brought pain and sorrow to innocent families.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they can always get guns illegally. But they usually use them on other gangsters, so another Dunblane would be unlikely, if not impossible. Most murders using knives or firearms in British towns and cities are gang-related crimes.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yet tragedy after tragedy happens here, and somehow government finds a way to look the other way. The NRA is one of the most powerful lobbies in America.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete, thank you for sharing such an important post – it is still a shock to read this. We have had so many mass shootings here in the US, and each one is equally shocking – reminding me that we have evil in our world, and with freedom comes the ability of those sick minds to act out…even more sickening to me are the “deniers” here in the US who perpetuate the fraud that some of these mass shootings never happened…shameful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only positive in such an awful situation is that it got our gun laws changed forever. Nothing like it has ever happened since, outside of an Islamic Terrorist attack. And that did not involve guns.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sort-of. He had been a youth club leader, and involved with the Scouts too. He had been accused of interfering with young boys by some prominent people in Dunblane. Revenge was suspected, but none of the children killed were relative to those complaints. The police had investigated him numerous times, and had been previously concerned about how many guns he owned. But under the laws at the time, they could not revoke his gun licences, as he had no relevant criminal convictions.
      It was partly that ‘scandal’ that led to the huge changes in gun laws here.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. U.K.statistic: “In the year ending March 2019 there were 259 homicides (currently recorded) using a sharp instrument, including knives and broken bottles, accounting for 39% of all homicides.” Whether as a result of revenge, hatred or mental illness, killers are going to kill. All we can do is limit the number of victims by regulating the availability of weapons (where possible).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People using knives can be stopped, perhaps by wrestling them to the ground, or attacking them with a heavy object. Most could not kill or injure that many people before someone intervened, even perhaps a group of female teachers prepared to die in the process,. Guns are a very different matter. They can kill at considerable distances, make a noise that terrifies people, and can be reloaded quickly.
      This is a headline from America, in 2020.
      ‘America’s other epidemic killed 41,000 people this year.’
      Source: https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/12/18/gun-violence-deaths-americans-2020/3906428001/
      That refers to shooting deaths in the USA in 2020. That’s considerably more than 259, even allowing for the population differences, David.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The statistics are terrifying, to be sure! I think people in modern society have grown disconnected (regardless of the internet), angry with their governments, financially distraught, and morally bankrupt due to family disintegration and the “entertainment” media. The world is sick, and there are people who strike back at it by resorting to violence.

        Not that long ago, at a part-time job I quit soon thereafter, my supervisor and I were held up at gunpoint. Having grown up with guns in the house, and having hunted birds and small animals, guns do not frighten me. Though I remained surprisingly calm, there was a certainty intensity to the situation, as I didn’t know if the robber wearing a Skeletor mask would pull the trigger.

        People need guns to protect themselves from criminals, and, at least in the States, it’s virtually impossible to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. If the U.S. Government confiscated the guns from lawful gun owners, law abiding citizens would be defenseless. If we could put an end to the appeal of drugs, enable people to earn a livable wage, rebuild the family unit, stamp out racism, force governments to enforce the laws on the books, renew a sense of morality in people’s hearts, provide mental health services, etc., maybe the crime rate would drop significantly. But then, maybe it’s just in human nature to be violent, and though the majority of us resist that urge, some do not.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The public reaction was unprecedented, Theo. I doubt any government here could have failed to ban guns after that. Sadly, your country has an equally passionate movement to retain that ‘right to bear arms’.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. It was one of the worst things imaginable for those parents, Jon. We have to always remember those poor children and teachers, as well as their families, and why our gun laws were changed.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

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