Columbine and Newtown Shootings

January 16, 2013 at 12:59 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Adult school shooters are learning from children – that is the idea I begin with in discussing the Newtown and Columbine shootings for a USA Today Op-Ed.

In my book Columbine: A True Crime Story, I discuss how traditionally school shootings undertaken by juveniles occurred in suburbs and small towns “because in those locales, high school is the only game in town. A loser there feels like a loser through and through and takes revenge on the source of their angst and the most immediate symbol of society: the schoolyard and its social hierarchies.”

Also, school shootings overwhelmingly occurred in the South and West of the United States. A so-called “culture of honor infused people in these regions – namely males – with the idea that if their honor had been violated, it was appropriate to respond with violence. Student outcasts translated this into a school shooting when they felt their mates had not given them proper recognition.

“Now adults everywhere have taken up the mantle of the mass shooting.”

As we explore the motivations of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter in Newtown, Connecticut, we should also keep in mind that violent threats, writings, and extreme changes in behavior are all warning signs we should look out for.

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