Typology of School Shootings
Definition and typology:
Studies of school shootings have been conducted in a variety of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, and media studies. However, to date there is no unified body of knowledge about such events. In an effort to synthesize past studies, and to orient future studies in school shootings, this article offers a typology for understanding the varieties of school shooting incidents, including rampages, mass murders, terrorist attacks, targeted attacks, and government shootings; examines the mass media dynamic of school shootings; and presents a synthesis of the multilevel causes suggested in the research, including those on the individual, community, and social levels. Suggestions for future studies in school shootings are explored.
An initial requirement is to define the phenomenon of school shootings and the subcategories of incidents, teasing out the varying motives and identities of the perpetrators of school shootings. While rampage attacks are the variety of school shooting incidents that have captured the lion’s share of mass media attention in the last decade, a broader historical perspective reveals a variety of school-related shooting incidents. As detailed in Table 1, this article offers a typology, including five varieties of school related shooting incidents: rampage shootings, school-related mass murders, terrorist attacks on schools or school children, school-related targeted shootings, and government shootings taking place at schools. Key operational elements of the typology include the in-group/out-group status of the perpetrator(s), and whether victims were specifically targets or selected for symbolic reasons. For each type, exemplary cases are offered, more because they are well known, than because they necessarily epitomize the type. In most cases, The examples are well known because they were severe. Rampage shootings are among those that have recently attracted the most...
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