School and other mass shootings are too frequent in the America. We discuss the main reasons for school shootings and the potential ways to stop them. Choose the one you think we should prioritize when we craft policy to stop school shootings.
US school shootings
A school shooting is a type of mass mass shooting that deliberately targets an education institution such as a daycare centre, primary school, highshool, or university. School shootings have become increasingly common, in particular in America. Recent school shootings (and other mass shootings) have contributed to an rise public concern over gun violence and socialization of children and young adults. School shooting statistics show a growing trend in this problem. However, this is not a new phenomenon. The Pontiac's Rebellion school massacre in 1764, is the first recorded case of school shooting in the US. Three men entered a schoolhouse in, Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster and ten children. During the nineteenth century at least 36 school shootings took place in the US. The worst of them took the lives of 5 people in Charles Town in West Virginia in 1898. The problem of school shootings in the US grew during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries:
- 1900s: 12 school shootings, 11 deaths
- 1910s: 17 school shootings, 12 deaths
- 1920s: 9 school shootings, 5 deaths
- 1930s: 6 school shootings, 6 deaths
- 1940s: 6 school shootings, 4 deaths
- 1950s: 16 school shootings, 12 deaths
- 1960s: 16 school shootings, 39 deaths
- 1970s: 20 school shootings, 26 deaths
- 1980s: 23 school shootings, 28 deaths
- 1990s: 40 school shootings, 76 deaths
- 2000s: 49 school shootings, 91 deaths
- 2010-2015: 100 school shootings, 101 deaths
Worst school shootings
Not all school shootings have the same consequences. Shooters have sometimes been intercepted quickly or failed to harm many people. On the other hand some school shootings have ended with many people dead or injured. These are some of the worst school shootings, some of which took place outside of the US:
- University of Texas massacre in 1966 (Austin, Texas): 17 deaths
- Ma'alot massacre in 1974 (Ma'alot, Israel): 25 deaths
- École Polytechnique massacre in 1989 (Montreal, Canada): 15 deaths
- Dunblane massacre in 1996 (Dunblane, UK): 18 deaths
- Columbine High School massacre in 1999 (Littleton, Colorado): 15 deaths
- Erfurt massacre in 2002 (Erfurt, Germany): 17 deaths
- Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 (Blacksburg, Virginia): 33 deaths
- Winnenden school shooting in 2009 (Winnenden, Germany): 16 deaths
- Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 (Newtown, Connecticut): 28 deaths
- Yobe State school shooting in 2013 (Yobe, Nigeria): 42 deaths
- Peshawar Taliban school attack in 2014 (Peshawar, Pakistan): 145 deaths
- Garissa University College terrorist attack in 2015 (Garissa, Kenya): 147 deaths
Reasons for school shootings
Experts have pointed at several different causes of school shootings. As Malcom Gladwell argues, the profile and motivation of school shooters varies widely. In order to stop shootings it is necessary to understand what are the main reasons underpining such cruel crimes and focus our policy efforts into tackling them.
- School bullying and "injustice collectors": many of the killers had been victims of bullying in school which made them turn their frustration and wrath against their classmates and teachers. "Injustice collector" is a term that refers to the people that believe they have been insulted, harmed or treated unfairly. Many school shooters "collected" a set of real or imaginary grievances inflicted to them by others. They sometimes kept lists with people that had done bad to them. Attacking the school can be seen as an act of revenge.
- Copycat and the search for notoriety are other potential reasons for school shootings. The perpetrators are aware that an attack on a school gets much media attention. Often several school shootings occur in relatively short periods of time. This seems to support the hypothesis that many of these shooters are imitating the actions of previous killers and hoping to get high level of media exposure.
- Mental health problems has been often suggested as a major cause. Most school shooters were mentally ill or showed symptoms of mental health problems. Timely psychiatric support could help prevent some of these shootings. However, in most cases these illnesses were not always properly diagnosed or treated.
- Culture of violence in entertainment and media. The explicit violence in movies, video-games, music, comic-books and other forms of entertainment may contribute to or glorify some violent behaviors. It is commonly argued that the exposure of children and young people to violent content may make them more prone to commit these crimes.
- Gun control: in the US it is relatively easy to gain access to a firearm. Building the arsenal that many of these school shooters use in their crimes would be hardly possible in other countries with tougher gun regulation. However, in the US there are more than 15,000 gun shops and many families have one or several weapons. Children and teenagers have been trained on how to use a gun. Many experts claim that the easy access to guns in the US is one of the main factors explaining why mass shootings are becoming increasingly common.
Out of these factors, which one do you think is the most important one?
If you change your mind, you can change your vote simply by clicking on another option.
Reasons for school shootings: why are they so frequent?
New to netivist?
Join with confidence, netivist is completely advertisement free. You will not receive any promotional materials from third parties.