The Bath School disaster of 1927 remains the deadliest killing spree at a school in America.
James Daggy/Michigan State University
Sometimes it feels like the mass violence of our modern age is something devastatingly new for America. History shows that's not the case.
In 1927, a single man's outbreak of violence in a small Michigan town took the lives of 45 people, including 38 children. The Bath School Disaster became the nation's deadliest killing spree at a school, and it still holds that distinction today.
A few years ago, Chicago author Arnie Bernstein went to Bath Township, Mich., near Lansing, to tell the story of the day that a local farmer and school board member – for reasons that are still unclear – used dynamite to destroy the town's school and kill many of its inhabitants. While the rest of the country promptly forgot about the tragedy – one of the century's biggest news events distracted the nation shortly after it happened – he discovered that the scars remain.
But there was more to find than heartache.
In an interview this week, Bernstein, author of 2009's "Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing," describes a community's strength and the silent generation that finally spoke out when he came calling.