23 years ago today Thomas Hamilton killed 16 five / six year old children and their teacher with handguns. Those children would now be in their late twenties, many of them with families of their own and the teacher would be enjoying her retirement.
Strict gun control in the United Kingdom seems to have worked in preventing similar massacres. Since Dunblane there have been no incidents of shootings on school premises in United Kingdom, although there have been around a dozen incidents of attacks with knives or other weapons.
The reason I mention this today is that I've read - on one of my LGBT sites - that a regular poster on that forum, who was in a newsagent's close to the school at the time of the shooting has passed away. Apparently, she passed in the early hours of this morning, in her sleep. Rest in peace, my friend. x
A couple of years ago, on the 21st anniversary of the shooting, she wrote on the forum (I remember vividly her words) about that day and her story was heart rending. She told how everybody in the shop was, at first, mystified as police cars and ambulances went flying past, sirens howling. How, moments later, a police woman ran down the street telling everybody to stay indoors. At that point nobody knew that Thomas Hamilton had shot himself.
She was still in the shop as news began to spread that there had been shooting in the school gymnasium and some children had been wounded. She watched from the shop as mothers appeared, running down the road towards the school, frantic with worry about the safety of their little ones.
I don't know how I would have coped with being Margaret on that day, unable to do anything to help or go anywhere, and then seeing the ambulances pull away, rushing to carry the wounded to hospital. One 5 year old boy didn't make it, succumbing to his wounds in the ambulance.
I can't begin to imagine what must have been going through the minds of those mothers who ran down the street, terrified for the lives of their children.... and the shock and horror of those who soon found out the awful.... unthinkable...
16 children and 1 teacher, who tried to protect her class died at Thomas Hamilton's hand. 15 more children were wounded in the attack that lasted barely 5 minutes before he committed suicide.
Those who died at Dunblane
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)
Strict control of handguns became UK law in the aftermath of Dunblane.
There have been no instances of school shootings in United Kingdom since.
I am glad we have gun laws in place to protect people.
I don't like guns.