+
Democracy

A 1996 school massacre led the UK to gun reform. They haven't had a school shooting since.

Dunblane, school shooting, Scotland, gun control

Dunblane Primary School was the site of the last school shooting in the U.K. in 1996.

On March 13, 1996, a man walked into Dunblane Primary School in Scotland with four legally purchased handguns and 734 rounds of ammunition, and proceeded to shoot and kill 16 children—5 and 6 years old—as well as their 45-year-old teacher before killing himself. It was Britain's worst school shooting—and its last to date.

Unlike in the United States, where school shootings have become routine with basically no legislation being enacted to try to stop them, the British government took decisive action. After a petition campaign demanding more stringent gun laws, Parliament passed laws banning private ownership of most handguns.

"We had a tragedy that made people think, as a matter of common sense, that this needs fixing," Rebecca Peters, director of International Action Network on Small Arms, told the Washington Post in 2007. "It should never have been possible for someone to buy, legally and easily, guns that could be concealed in his pocket. That is not possible anymore in Britain."


Such a sentiment is practically blasphemy in the U.S., where millions of Americans not only own handguns, but carry them around on their bodies daily. Our Second Amendment being interpreted to mean we can possess any and all the guns our hearts desire means a blanket ban of handguns is unlikely in this country.

But there's no question that the U.K.'s strict gun laws appear to be working. Cause and effect are always tricky to measure, but in the 26 years since Dunblane, there have been no school shootings in the U.K. And there has been just one mass shooting in general since then, in 2010.

Compare that to 27 school shootings and 213 mass shootings in the U.S. so far in 2022, and we're not even halfway through the year.

It appears that making it harder—but not impossible—to get guns could be an effective way to limit not just mass shootings, but gun deaths in general. According to data shared by the BBC, in 2019, 73% of homicides were committed with a firearm in the U.S., whereas in England and Wales it was just 4%.

Considering the fact that guns are now the leading cause of death for children and teens in the U.S., decisive gun legislation might be a smart thing to consider.

“Here in the U.S., we have this broken record cycle of what responses to mass shootings or school shootings look like," Jaclyn Schildkraut, a mass shootings expert at the State University of New York at Oswego told Smithsonian magazine. "Everybody demands action, and then absolutely nothing gets done. Whereas in Great Britain, they actually were able to get stuff done.”

After the Parkland, Florida school shooting in 2018, survivors and families of those killed in the Dunblane massacre wrote a letter of condolence to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the anniversary of their own tragedy. It's a reminder of the horror we've seen far too many times in our own country, as well as a beacon of hope that things actually can change.

"Dear Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas School,

On the most poignant day of the year for us we wanted to reach out and offer our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy to you and your teachers and to all the families and friends of those who died at your school on 14th February. We have watched and listened with tremendous admiration as you have spoken out for what you believe should happen now, a significant change of attitude towards the availability of guns in your country.

Twenty-two years ago today our own lives were devastated when a gunman walked into Dunblane Primary School in Scotland and shot dead sixteen 5- and 6-year-old children and their teacher and injured many more. The children who were killed or badly injured were our daughters and sons, our grandchildren, our sisters and brothers, our nieces and nephews, our cousins. The teacher was our wife, our sister, our mother. Five of us are survivors. The gunman owned his four handguns legally, and we knew it had been too easy for him to arm himself with lethal weapons. Like you we vowed to do something about it. We persuaded British lawmakers not to be swayed by the vested interests of the gun lobby, we asked them to put public safety first and to heed what the majority of the British people wanted. Most politicians listened and acted. Laws were changed, handguns were banned and the level of gun violence in Britain is now one of the lowest in the world. There have been no more school shootings.

We want you to know that change can happen. It won’t be easy, but continue to remind everyone of exactly what happened at your school and of the devastation caused by just one person with one legally-owned gun. Never let anyone forget. There will be attempts to deflect you, to divide you and doubtless to intimidate you, but you’ve already shown great wisdom and strength. We wish you more of that wisdom and strength for this toughest of tasks, one that will be so important in order to spare more of your fellow Americans from having to suffer the way you have. Wherever you march, whenever you protest, however you campaign for a more sensible approach to gun ownership we will be there with you in spirit.

Tonight we will be lighting 17 candles for those who died in Dunblane and will be remembering the 17 who lost their lives in Parkland. Our thoughts will also be with every other victim of gun violence.

We offer you our total support for the March for Our Lives and sincerely hope you achieve success. It can be done. #NeverAgain."

​We don't have to live like this. We can make another choice. We can at least try to do something different so that we don't have to keep offering the same thoughts and prayers for tragedies that never should have happened in the first place.

Education

A school assignment asked for 3 benefits of slavery. This kid gave the only good answer.

The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?

A school assignment asked for 3 "good" reasons for slavery.

This article originally appeared on 01.12.18


It's not uncommon for parents to puzzle over their kids' homework.

Sometimes, it's just been too long since they've done long division for them to be of any help. Or teaching methods have just changed too dramatically since they were in school.

And other times, kids bring home something truly inexplicable.
Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Connecticut family gets a furry surprise when they find a hibernating bear under their deck

When Vincent Dashukewich took a peek under the deck, a sleepy black bear was staring back at him.

Photo by Chris Tellez on Unsplash

Family finds hibernating bear under their deck.

Bears are cute, even the giant grizzly bears that would probably eat you if given the chance. There's something about them being chubby and fluffy that makes you want to snuggle them. But most people, wisely, wouldn't dare to get close to one because humans have pretty keen survival skills that override the cuteness factor.

But as humans continue to encroach on natural animal habitats, there are more and more reports of interactions with bears. Mostly bears getting into trash cans or opening car doors while everyone is tucked in their beds, sound asleep. Recently, a Connecticut family found themselves unexpectedly face to face with a hibernating bear.

When Vincent Dashukewich took his dog out, she started acting strangely and growling at something under the pool deck. Surprisingly, when Dashukewich took a peek under the deck, a sleepy black bear was staring back at him. That's certainly a sight that will get your heart pumping.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Michelle Yeoh gave a perfect response to being rushed through her Golden Globes speech

Her reaction to the music cue was immediate, authoritative and hilarious.

Michelle Yeoh has been acting in films for 40 years.

Michelle Yeoh won the award for Best Actress in a Comedy at the 2023 Golden Globes for her leading role as Evelyn Wang in the acclaimed film "Everything Everywhere All at Once." It was a moment the actress had been waiting 40 years to have, and she wasn't about to let anyone rush her through it.

Yeoh, 60, has been acting in action films in Hong Kong since the 1980s and in the U.S. since the late '90s, kicking martial arts butt alongside the likes of Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan's 007. With major roles in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Crazy Rich Asians," among other films, she's become a well-recognized face to any regular filmgoer. But until "Everything Everywhere All at Once," she had never played the lead role in a Hollywood film.

Winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy was Yeoh's moment to revel in her success after decades of uphill battles as an Asian actress in an industry filled with underrepresentation and misrepresentation. So when the music cue indicated she needed to wrap up her acceptance speech at the two-minute mark, she simply wasn't having it.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Mom hilariously thinks a church event is a birthday party for a child named Jésus

'It’s so weird. There was nowhere on there for me to RSVP.'

Mom hilariously thinks a charity event is a birthday party.

Kids get a lot of birthday party invitations. Many daycares and schools have a rule that if you invite a few kids in the classroom, you have to invite all kids in the classroom so no one feels excluded. Parents get used to grabbing invites out of cubbies throughout the school year without much thought.

You see the invitation, ask your kid if they're friends with the person the party is for and if they answer in the affirmative, you RSVP for a tiny human's birthday bash. It becomes like a reflex. But for mom Tasha Salyer on TikTok, that reflex got her into a confusing, yet hilarious situation.

Salyer uploaded a video of herself explaining to a table full of people how she ended up at the charity event instead of a child's birthday party. People at the table couldn't contain their laughter as the story went on. Apparently, Salyer picked up the invitation out of her daughter's cubby at daycare and confirmed with her daughter that she actually knew the child, Jésus.

Keep ReadingShow less

11-year-old Nathan belts out "Naughty" from "Matilda."

As a parent, you want your kid to find their space in the world, discover what they're passionate about and build the skills needed to be successful in whatever path they choose.

You also want them to do their dang homework. Even the stuff they aren't particularly thrilled about.

Balancing those things isn't always easy, especially when you have a kid who has very specific interests and very specific non-interests. And that familiar struggle is hilariously depicted in a delightful, viral family car ride.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

How one woman rallied other refugees to help African students fleeing the war in Ukraine

No one understands the process of forced migration better than people who have been through it.

Photo courtesy of Meta

Asmara's World helps BIPOC refugees through the resettlement process.

When news came of African students facing discrimination and abuse while fleeing Ukraine after the Russian invasion last February, community organizer Asmara knew her Germany-based charity dedicated to helping refugees could help.

With the experience Asmara’s World has gained since 2016, they were able to quickly mobilize volunteers, funds, and buses—and a wave of online support via social media—to help 120 students evacuate to Germany.

“Facebook, but especially Instagram, was a great platform where subscribers were made aware of the problem in a very short time and donated over €20,000 within 48 hours, which made the evacuation possible in the first place,” Asmara tells Upworthy. The group also used WhatsApp to communicate directly with the students fleeing. In the months since, Asmara’s World has helped hundreds more young Africans fleeing Ukraine with basics such as housing clothing and hygiene items as they start to rebuild their lives.

Keep ReadingShow less