School Shootings: Offenders Mind

Topics: Violence, Columbine High School massacre, School shooting Pages: 7 (2630 words) Published: May 5, 2013
School Shootings
A number of cases have been examined with hopes of uncovering features that school shooters have in common in regards to family life, personalities, histories, and behaviors. Not only are they examined for that reason, but to also shed light on how they are different. Statistically speaking school shootings have been a very rare occurrence, but they are societal issues nonetheless. However, the reasons in which a person chooses to commit these horrific crimes is still very bleak, and mysterious in many ways. Video games, music, and movies are often chosen as scapegoats in regards to contributing factors, but many times what is forgotten is the family structure, role models, and peer influences of these individuals that leads to them being traumatized, psychotic, or psychopathic, three categories that many of these shooters fall into. Within this paper I will be discussing my findings on the factors that lead to the shaping, and molding of these offenders minds, and what is being done in order to decrease the number of occurrences in our society. Although there are traits that all shooters share, we have to be cautious when it comes to associating students to those of a school shooter. Authors Brandi Booth, Vincent Van Hasselt and Gregory Vecchi stated , “It is important to caution against the use of a profile because many apparent warning signs may be irrelevant and restrictive and even could unfairly categorize a student who may not pose danger.” (Booth, Hasselt, and Vecchi, 2011). History and Statistics in Regards to Violence in Schools

School shootings in the United States of America dates back to the mid 1700's but the first recorded occurrence of the student as the perpetrator, was in 1853. Matthew F. Ward (1853), a writer for the New York times had written a news report about a school shooting in which a teacher was killed by a students brother because he disagreed with the harsh punishment that had been given to his younger brother the day before. A noticeable difference between this shooting was that in comparison to the school shootings that we are used to this one had just one target. The first recorded instance in which a student walked in and shot students at random was in 1971, in Spokane, Washington. Jim Spoerhase (1971), a writer for the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported that Former MIT student Larry J. Harmon, 21, entered St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church on the Gonzaga University campus armed with a .22 caliber rifle. Harmon killed the caretaker, 68-year-old Hilary Kunz, and upon merging from the church, wounded four more people before police officers shot and killed him. According to ABC news reports (2013), there has been thirty school shootings since Columbine took place in 1999, and only 14 in economically similar countries around the world. Although school shootings that lead to the perpetrator committing suicide seems magnified, one statistic that is much higher is public display of suicide on school property. Joseph Alan Lieberman (2008), The author of, “School Shootings: What Every Parent and Educator Needs to Know to Protect Our Children”, states, “In fact, statistics that list all types of school violence show that for every combined school shooting-suicide, there are easily as many 'classic' suicide at schools in which a young person makes a public display of taking him or herself out, but does no harm to others--at least physically.” One very promising statistic is the decline to 40-year lows as declared by by the National Center for Education Statistics. They take into consideration shootings that take place in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and universities. Most recently we have all been glued to the television as a horrific event involving elementary students unfolded. Adam Lanza, killed 26 children in a baffling event that left the country in a state of shock. The gunman was fascinated by violent video games, and was autistic....
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