Killer Education: School Shootings in Canada

By Cassy Nicholls

Story contains sensitive material regarding school shootings.

What is the price of education? Although Canada may not be known for the number of school shootings that have taken place over the last century, 43 people have been killed. Canada hasn’t had a mass shooting with four or more casualties since 2016.

Due to the significantly smaller number of shootings in Canada than the United States, there isn’t enough data to compare the two countries. A recent study by the Columbia Mass Murder Database examined 82 mass shootings in schools and post-secondary institutions in the United States. According to the study, 100% of school shooters were men, 66% of them were Caucasian, 80% of the perpetrators used firearms, and over 45% of them ended in suicide.

In Canada, 100% of the perpetrators were also male.

According to experts, including Dr. Lawrence Palinkas of the University of Southern California, this can be explained by the male cultural identity, where they may be reluctant to express their feelings outwards unless it is expressed violently. Dr. Palinkas believes that addressing these feelings, would bring a substantial reduction in school shootings.

Even though major mental illness may not be a factor in the reasoning behind school shootings, the data also showed that 17% of the shooters had mental health disorders, 78% had previous suicidal ideations or attempts, and 98% of them experienced a personal loss before the attack.

The other contributing factor to less shootings in Canada is the regulation of guns. According to Dr. Lawrence Palinkas the types of guns Canadians have access to is much different than those in the United States. The types of guns that are available in Canada are limited, primarily to hunting rifles, and there are additional regulations for carrying guns and  as of October 2022, there is a freeze on the handgun market in Canada. Dr. Palinkas believes that if the United States had strict gun laws, like Canada, there would be a decline in school shootings.