Tragedy strikes close

Schools shootings, how does social media play a role


Sarah Richter

In response to the tragedy at Oxford, many students at Roosevelt gathered together for a walk-through. Those same students also had a four-minute moment of silence for the four victims who lost their lives.

When students enter their school building each morning they come to learn, and normally these students feel safe in their environment, until the unthinkable happens.
Just over twenty-two years ago students at Columbine High School were struck with the terrifying reality of two active shooters, their classmates, opening fire on their campus. Almost 22 years later, and striking closer to home, Oxford High School in Oakland county had a shooting on November 30, 2021.
While there is no way to compare both disasters, lives were lost in both – four shot dead at Oxford; fifteen (including the two shooters committing suicide) at Columbine.
According to, Columbine was the worst U.S. school shooting at the time, which spiraled into a nation-wide debate on gun control and school safety.
Strangely, the massacre was strategically planned out by the two students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They included ninety-five homemade explosive devices that contained enough firepower to wipe out their school, which was their ultimate plan.
“The two walked into the school cafeteria, where they placed two duffel bags each containing a 20-pound propane bomb set to explode at 11:17 a.m.,” wrote.
Within an hour of the massacre, the two had used explosives and firearms to kill 12 students and one teacher including 20 others wounded. Shortly after all was done, the two shot themselves, commiting suicide.
In more recent events, Oxford High School, just sixty-seven minutes from Wyandotte, was affected with their own devastation.
According to Click On Detroit, November 30, at 12:51pm sophomore Ethan Crumbley headed into a school bathroom with a backpack. Crumbley walked back out with his new 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022 pistol proceeding to fire shots as his fellow classmates.
Although the number of injured victims at Oxford was lower, the distress and trauma each student faced is irreversible.
As stated by “most survivors show resilience. But others—particularly those who believed their lives or those of their loved ones were in danger or who lack social support—experience ongoing mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and substance abuse.”
Social media played a role in both events, just in slightly different ways. With technology being more advanced now than it was 22 years ago.
Ethan Crumbley, the suspect of the Oxford shooting, posted a photo on Instagram holding a semi-automatic handgun his father had bought for him a few days before. He captioned it “Just got my new beauty today. Any questions I will answer” and included an emoji with a smiling face and heart eyes, according to AP (Associated Press) News.
Ethan was not the only one to post alarming things on Instagram, his mother Jennifer posted about them texting a “new present” the following day.
According to CNN news, on November 16 multiple concerned parents provided communication with concerns about threats to students made on social media.
Not only was Ethan posting on social media, teachers and other classmates noticed other things that caught their attention.
In an article written for Fox 2 News, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald pointed out two disturbances a teacher of Ethans mentioned.
“A teacher at Oxford High School observed Crumbley searching for ammunition on his cell phone during class and reported the same to school officials,” McDonald said in an interview.
Where most parents would be extremely concerned for their child, Crumbleys ignored the situation as a whole. The school notified them twice but no further actions were made.
That same week, a note made by Ethan that drew the attention of many teachers and parents of fellow students.
According to the same teacher, “The note contained the following: a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun pointing at the words, ‘The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.’ In another section of the note, was a drawing of a bullet with the following words above that bullet: ‘Blood everywhere.’”
Similar enough, Harris and Klebold – the Columbine shooters – would post various videos and pictures online of them with guns, shooting things and making jokingly threats about shooting up their own school. A very vivid and detailed diary was even found in one of the gunmen’s home mapping out their plan.
While speaking with reporters not long after the incident, Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone stated, “They wanted to do as much damage as they could possibly do, and destroy the school, and destroy as many children as they could and go out in flames.”
Media coverage of both events was widespread across the nation. Within minutes students could hear about the trauma others were facing.
Since Columbine, many survivors have gone on to write books, speak on television shows and even create movies. Oxford is on their own track to recovery and growth as well.
Tom Mauser, father of a Columbine victim said, “Make the world remember the victims not the killers.”
The Oxford shooting took the lives of Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre, and Justin Shilling.