Trigger Effect: On America’s First Mass School Killing, 25 Years Later


This Friday, Jan. 17, is the 25th anniversary of the Cleveland Elementary School shooting in Stockton, Calif.–the first mass shooting and killing of schoolkids in American history. The massacre’s legacy can be seen not only in countless other incidents of gun violence in schools since 1989, but also in the national laws and debates that ensued from the event. And while the tragedy is largely forgotten today, its impact and influence cannot be understated: From the rise of Wayne LaPierre to the echoes of Newtown, modern American gun culture began on the schoolyard in Stockton. I investigated the shooting and its aftermath for Sactown Magazine’s Dec./Jan. issue. It’s a looonnng read, but I’m really proud of this work and deeply grateful to everyone who took the time to speak with me about their experiences 25 years ago. I hope you’ll check it out.

[Above: Khorn Ing with a portrait of her daughter Sokhim An, who was slain on Jan. 17, 1989 at Cleveland Elementary School. Photo by Max Whittaker/Sactown Magazine]

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