Even before the Newtown school killings, children have always been caught in the crossfire of mass murder, says USA Today. Hundreds have been killed, and hundreds more have been forced to witness what some say is the most violent type of crime. It has devastated families and left permanent scars. A USA Today analysis of mass killings since 2006 shows that nearly one-third of all victims were younger than age 18 — 363 children dead in the past eight years. Their average age was 8.
Adam Lanza may have been unknown to the first graders he killed, but that isn’t the typical threat: Most child victims of mass killers died at the hands of someone they knew. More than a third of the children who died in a mass murder were killed by their blood parent. Still more fell victim to stepparents, their parents’ ex-lovers and other family members. Only about a quarter were killed by someone they didn’t know. “There is sort of this myth that our children aren’t exposed to these types of things, that it’s rare,” said John Fairbank of the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. “But it’s not rare. Children are exposed at high rates.”