America's First School Massacre Still Its Deadliest

Andrew Kehoe's bombs killed 45 in 1927
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2012 1:18 PM CST
Updated Dec 23, 2012 7:00 PM CST

(Newser) – You can blame Hollywood's obsession with violence or questionable gun regulation, but America's history of school massacres predates all that. Slate takes a look at the first mass killing of schoolchildren in the US, which took place in the small town of Bath, Michigan, in 1927, and left 45 people dead, including 38 children. An eccentric farmer named Andrew Kehoe, upset about an increase in property taxes meant to pay for the new Bath Consolidated School, spent months packing the school with dynamite. He set it off on the morning of May 18 with a timed detonator.

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After the blast, Kehoe packed his truck with more explosives and drove to the site, blowing up himself and taking the lives of several others already on the scene. He had killed his wife previously. One difference with modern cases: "There wasn't a media frenzy like today," says one author. "The media came in and left. Three days after it happened, Lindbergh took off and flew to Paris, and that part of it was over.” Read the full story here. (Read more school shootings stories.)

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