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The purpose of it is to provide the historical context of shootings from the early 20th century to 2011 and to see if there are similarities and differences between specific shootings. As well as reasons that could lead to shooting and to try and get a better understanding of why someone would target a group of people. The topic of school shootings is one that gets people talking and creates fear within humans. It seems that in today’s society we hear about a school shooting every now and then.
According to the article, there have been 60 school shootings that have taken place since 1966. In the 1990s unprecedented numbers of multiple attacks led to more attention, therefore, more media coverage. It is stated that one similarity in shootings is that most shooters tend to be white males that come from middle to lower middle class. One unique case mentioned is a shooting that occurred because of a female named Brenda Spencer. Brenda did not attend the school she targeted as opposed to the majority of school shooters.
The people that shooters target are symbolic because some target specific people that have caused harm while others target anyone in order to make a violent statement.
There are different motives that people believe lead perpetrators to attack. People believe that mental illnesses such as severe depression is linked with school shootings. It seems that a mental illness isn’t noticed before shooting takes place and a perpetrator is diagnosed after the event. Peter Langman developed a typology while analyzing eight school shootings.
He stated that there are 3 different types of school shooters: psychopathic, psychotic, and traumatized shooters. Psychopathic shooters are those who feel no remorse or guilt due to not having any emotional connection to other humans and they find pleasure in inflicting pain on others.
One example is Andrew Golden who found joy in torturing animals especially kittens. Psychotic shooters experience a break from reality meaning that they don’t comprehend exactly what they are doing and that they may hear voices in their heads. One example is Dylan Klebold’s writings that showed he felt different or an alien. Traumatized shooters are ones who have dealt with physical, emotional or sexual abuse. A stressor in their lives could be what leads them to a shooting. One example is Mitchell Johnson who was abused by his father and happened to learn that he may have to move in with him just before he and his friend attacked their school. It is believed that one reason why school shooters attack is for attention that they probably never received. Some shooters kill a group of people before killing themselves as a theatrical way while others don’t kill themselves.
A contributing factor of school shootings is violent media within movies and video games. Especially when this type of media is shown from a young age because it then leads to dangerous fantasies. Studies have shown that violent media can cause an increase in aggression. An example of this is the Columbine killers who played a game called “Doom” regularly and Seung-Hui Cho who played a military-styled game called “Counter-Strike.” Bullying is another factor especially if it’s not a one-time thing and happens repeatedly. Some shooter’s motive are to imitate or copy high-profile school shootings because they are taught that it can lead to receive lots of attention from the media. In conclusion, there are several contributing factors for school shootings and there isn’t just one universal factor.
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