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View Full Version : Why are shootings at educational institutions so common in the US?


wayitis
Apr 21st, 2007, 04:15 PM
This is the take of the BBC:

Why are shootings at educational institutions so common in the US?

This depends on who you ask. For those opposed to the country's liberal gun laws the key problem is easy access to highly powered weapons. They say the school shootings merely throw into sharp relief what is happening across a country where 30,000 people die of gun wounds every year. Others contend that these killings take place within a deep culture of violence, which they say is promoted in the US through music, film and video games.

But there are those who argue these incidents take place not because there are too many guns, but because there are not enough. "All the school shootings that have ended abruptly in the last 10 years were stopped because a law-abiding citizen - a potential victim - had a gun," said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. "The latest school shooting at Virginia Tech demands an immediate end to the gun-free zone law which leaves the nation's schools at the mercy of madmen."

Others argue that schools and colleges are not sufficiently protected, and that the lack of security is tantamount to an open invitation.

How does the US compare with other countries around the world?

Accurate figures on firearms are scarce, but there are an estimated 200 million guns in circulation in the US, a country with a population of about 300 million.

According to a Harris poll conducted in 2001, approximately 39% of all American households own at least one gun.

The risk of being killed by a firearm in the US is higher than in any other Western nation. Of countries outside war zones, the risk is greatest in South Africa, according to a United Nations report.

There are no recent statistics available but UN figures from 2000 showed for every 10,000 Americans, 0.3 were killed by firearms, compared with 0.01 in the UK where handgun ownership was banned in 1997.

In Switzerland where every man of military age is required to keep a gun at home as part of the country's civil defence policy, the number of deaths per 10,000 population was 0.05.

In South Africa it was 7.1 for every 10,000 people.

kiwifan
Apr 21st, 2007, 05:38 PM
That's were there are people you want to kill. :shrug:

Yanks don't faithfully attend Churches or the Pub but we'll go to class and work. :)

And I'm fairly certain that workplace violence is more common than school violence.

IceHock
Apr 21st, 2007, 06:01 PM
my math teacher brought up a good point yesterday, tons of colleges are public, its very easy for someone to just walk in and start shooting, and he said hes surprised that afghanistan or whatever hasnt tried this yet, and i actusally agree

Wigglytuff
Apr 21st, 2007, 06:11 PM
access to guns and a nation wide lack of personal responsibility.

in this last case:
according to federal law the man of of never had a gun legally, but the man who sold him the guns feels no responsibility for a lack luster check that is routine
the man that did the shooting felt he was forced to do he felt no responsibility

in general:
gun nuts KNOW that the number one way criminals access guns through people who are legality allowed to own them but they feel no responsibility to toughen laws or do anything that would make it tough to own a gun.
sickenly the US is the only industrial nation that has no good citizenship laws. here if you see a woman being raped and it causes you no harm to report it, you dont have too. you have no responsibility to report it. and watch whenever talk of suck laws go own people go CRAZY. how dare anyone try to ask them to have responsibility.
parents dont want to be responsible for what their underage children do. and the children cant or wont be held responsible so there is no personal responsibility there.

MyskinaManiac
Apr 21st, 2007, 06:13 PM
OK, it goes down to one simple point. People in the US can legally and easily own guns. In other countries like Australia, New Zealand and Britain for example, firearms are illegal without a license. It's just rediculous that anybody should have a weapon of that sort. That's why you get so many school-yard/ college killings because young people have access to firearms that either belong to their parents or weapons they attained because they were old enough to do so, yet weren't necessarily mature enough to do so.

Want to solve this problem; ban guns completely.

BoucharDRules
Apr 21st, 2007, 06:13 PM
It would have been nice if they had provided data to show that school shootings were more common in U.S., since it is likely that we just get more coverage of American tragedies.

Number19
Apr 21st, 2007, 07:34 PM
It would have been nice if they had provided data to show that school shootings were more common in U.S., since it is likely that we just get more coverage of American tragedies.

In the newspaper a couple of days ago, it had a "History of School Violence in North America" section, listing 42 incidents since 1975. 14 were in Canada. The rest USA. There were two incidents in 1975, one in 1978, then the "Montreal Massacre" in 1989. There was four more in the first half of the '90s. All of these were in Canada. Since then the incidents have unfortunatly become quite regular and mostly in United States.

Philip
Apr 21st, 2007, 09:41 PM
I think the handgun law came into place in the UK after the Dunblane tradgedy where a man killed several primary school children before killing himself... You would think the US would take heed and ban guns there too... Or maybe theyre just waiting for some other nutter to go in an masacre 4-11 year old children before they even consider it. :rolleyes:

Wiggly
Apr 21st, 2007, 10:48 PM
Because kids are cruels.

ys
Apr 21st, 2007, 11:25 PM
Because kids are cruels.

Exactly.. And whatever the media are saying right now, Cho sent an extremely powerful message to the world. He has lived all his life isolated and felt like he is against all world and he died being against all world. There will be books , movies about that, and, sure, there will be copycats, wanting to beat his "record" of 32. Because there are a lot of kids being picked on in the school.

One thing that really amazed me.. No resistance at all.. It's students, who are supposed to be young, brave, strong, quick-thinking, some of them probably after army, surely some learnt self-defance.. yet..the guy comes .. not soe professional killer, not trained at all.. not with something like AK-47, capable of shooting 30+ bullets in matter of seconds, but with handguns.. He shots his 7 rounds from one gun, then 8 from another, he reloads, walks from room to room, and in meantime people are waiting .. while being slaughtered... No one tries to ambush him.. No one tries to counteract.. all they can do is .. barricade.. while even slightest resistance could unnerve him and makes things go very different way.. People totally forgot what it is to fight, what it is to defend yourself and your loved ones, what is it to put your life on a line of fire, people are taking their prosperity, thier freedom, their pleasures, their safety for granted.. We are turning into vegetables..

drake3781
Apr 21st, 2007, 11:26 PM
To clarify, these are mass shootings. Single shootings are more common in homes and criminal situations.

Why mass shootings at schools and in the workplace?

Well, first of all these are sources of stress. The people doing the shootings feel victimized by the way they have been treated - justified or not - by other students in the school, or management/co-workers in the workplace.

The psychological construct, simply put, is that these shooters are alienated from the society at large (student body, workforce) and have had their power taken away by the way they percieve they have been treated, and the rage and desire for revenge takes this form. They percieve the mass murders as a way of taking their power back.

Here are some more professional writings on the subject:

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070416/school_shootings_070415/20070416/
Who does this?
Peterson doesn't paint a pretty picture of such killers, calling them self-pitying and narcissistic. "Someone like this is usually profoundly alienated -- and they're arrogant, resentful and obsessive. They're unwilling to take responsibility for their own state of mind. They fantasize about revenge incessantly," he said. That was clear in the Cho case, but also in Columbine, he said.
While everyone suffers serious hurt, loss or rejection at some point in their life, most people find a way to talk through it over otherwise get over it, he said. "Someone like this starts to think about revenge and continues to think about it constantly ... building up a fantasy of revenge in their mind." The Chos of this world are "lost in a world of pathological fantasy" and spiral down in a self-reinforcing loop, he said. "Once you start thinking that way, things can get out of control real quick."
This is understandable, "it's just a terrible thing to understand," Peterson said.
He noted some of the writings of Columbine killer Eric Harris, who was chillingly carefree about his final hours. An example of those writings: "'About 26.5 hours from now, the judgment will begin. Difficult, nerve-wracking but fun. What's life without a little bit of death? It's interesting, when I'm in my human form, to contemplate the fact that I won't be here in two days.'"
Peterson said those who carry out these acts are committing "conscious acts of revenge against the conditions of existence." He thought the English poet John Milton, writing in his epic 1667 work "Paradise Lost," summed up the mindset of these individuals best:
"'The more I see pleasures around me, so much more I feel torment within me as from the hateful siege of contraries. All good to me becomes bane. And in heaven, much worse would be my state. ... Only in destroying do I find ease to my relentless thoughts.'"

http://youthviolence.edschool.virginia.edu/pdf/1999.pdf (http://youthviolence.edschool.virginia.edu/pdf/1999.pdf)
The third group is most puzzling, because they often appear to be normal youngsters whose acts of violence surprise us. However, these youth are emotionally troubled and conflicted -- alienated, angry, and depressed. They may be intelligent and capable, but they are not satisfied with their achievements and often feel unfairly treated by others. Although they may have some friends, they feel lonely and isolated. They are highly sensitive to teasing and bullying, and are deeply resentful, ruminating over perceived injustices. As they become more depressed, their judgement and perspective becomes distorted, like the suicidal person who thinks life isn't worth living and that there is no way to solve their problems other than dying. In this case, however, the conflicted youth decides to kill others rather than himself. These are the youth who are involved in most of the school shootings.

School Shootings
We can learn from these school shootings because they reflect factors not typical of the antisocial offenders. They challenge our stereotypes and force us recognize violent influences we otherwise might overlook. They were committed by white, middle class youth who had many social and economic advantages. Many of them came from good homes where they were loved, not abused, by their parents. Many of their parents were well-respected citizens and good role models for their children. Although it is common to blame the parents in these cases, this cannot explain what their children did. At worst, we can say that these parents failed to recognize what was happening to their children, not that they caused it to happen. A breakdown in parental supervision is a serious problem, but it is not the full explanation. Instead, we have to recognize the role of broader cultural factors affecting children outside the home.

There are may risk factors for violence, and many young people today have one or more risk factors, yet do not engage in violent behavior. In order for violence to occur, there must be a motive for violence, method of committing violence which the child has learned, and a means of carrying out the violence. Let's consider the motive, method, and means of the recent school shootings.

Motive. The motives are not new, they are familiar to anyone who remembers their teenage years. These are young people who are outcasts from their peers. Often they are victims of bullying and teasing. They join rebellious cliques that are attracted to counter-cultural ideas, whether they are beatniks, hippies, or goths. Within these counter-cultural groups some youth are especially vulnerable -- more angry, alienated, and depressed than their peers, and more susceptible to friends who encourage them to act out or take revenge. In case after case I have seen youth who discussed the possibility of murder with their families and were advised to go ahead and do it.

Method. Even more disturbing is the horrific method of these murders. To charge into a building and try to kill as many people as possible is an enactment of video violence. This is the kind of violence you see in the movies and play on video games. Children of today live in a social environment where violence is a primary form of entertainment, and they are exposed to values and ideas which reinforce and glorify violence. In case after case I have observed just how easily the lessons of well-meaning and capable parents are overpowered by the compelling and pervasive messages of violence in our modern video culture. We protect adults from consumer fraud and deceptive advertising better than we protect our children from these salesmen of hate and violence. As a society, we must be more concerned about the daily does of extreme violence administered to our children through television, video games, music, and the internet. Repeated exposure to messages of violence and hatred over time desensitize many young people, distort their perceptions of personal safety, and erode inhibitions against harming others.Scientific studies provide overwhelming evidence that television violence encourages aggressive behavior and has a long-term effect on children (see reviews in Berkowitz, 1993; Donnerstein, Slaby, & Eron, 1995; Hughes & Hasbrouck, 1996). Yet the entertainment industry cannot accept these findings any more than tobacco industry could accept that cigarette smoking results in cancer. Concern over our children is cunningly transformed into a debate over constitutional freedom. We have trouble appreciating causal effects that are subtle, indirect, and cumulative over long periods of time. What's the harm in one video game or one cigarette?
I know you will hear representatives from the entertainment industry who simplistically point out that millions of children exposed to video violence never commit a violent act; in reply, be sure to ask them how it can that when millions are exposed to a flu virus, only a small proportion become ill, and only a handful die. The violence pervasive in our culture is like an environmental toxin; everyone is exposed to it, but only those who are most vulnerable or have the greatest exposure, are affected.

Today we have a lot of children infected with violence, but it's not a virus, it's a learned behavior. Violence is learned (Berkowitz, 1993; Perry, Perry, & Boldizar, 1990). Someone taught the kids in the Trenchcoat Mafia to admire Hitler and how to make pipebombs rather than to tolerate differences and respect others.

Means. Finally, the means to carry out these violent plans is the ready availability of firearms. Without access to guns, none of these school tragedies could have take place. Guns are a critical risk factor. When juvenile homicide tripled in this country in just ten years, all of the increase was in gun-related killing (Cornell, 1993; Snyder & Sickmund, 1995). There was no increase in juveniles stabbing or beating one another to death. Guns are not the cause of the violence, but they provide the means.

*JR*
Apr 21st, 2007, 11:51 PM
Adults have targeted schools too on a fair number of occasions. My theory on this is that they're jealous of those they see as having more opportunities and less problems than themselves.

Monica_Rules
Apr 22nd, 2007, 12:41 AM
I think it could eb down to they are public places with a lot of people gathered in one place and more often than not there is little chance the victims can fight back.

Monica_Rules
Apr 22nd, 2007, 12:42 AM
Exactly.. And whatever the media are saying right now, Cho sent an extremely powerful message to the world. He has lived all his life isolated and felt like he is against all world and he died being against all world. There will be books , movies about that, and, sure, there will be copycats, wanting to beat his "record" of 32. Because there are a lot of kids being picked on in the school.

One thing that really amazed me.. No resistance at all.. It's students, who are supposed to be young, brave, strong, quick-thinking, some of them probably after army, surely some learnt self-defance.. yet..the guy comes .. not soe professional killer, not trained at all.. not with something like AK-47, capable of shooting 30+ bullets in matter of seconds, but with handguns.. He shots his 7 rounds from one gun, then 8 from another, he reloads, walks from room to room, and in meantime people are waiting .. while being slaughtered... No one tries to ambush him.. No one tries to counteract.. all they can do is .. barricade.. while even slightest resistance could unnerve him and makes things go very different way.. People totally forgot what it is to fight, what it is to defend yourself and your loved ones, what is it to put your life on a line of fire, people are taking their prosperity, thier freedom, their pleasures, their safety for granted.. We are turning into vegetables..

So are you trying to say that the people who died at Virgina Tech were cowards? Because they didn't fight back.

I don't think any of us know how we will react when a gun is pointed at us. Untill that day i don't think we can judge.

ys
Apr 22nd, 2007, 01:45 AM
So are you trying to say that the people who died at Virgina Tech were cowards? Because they didn't fight back.

Not cowards.. Just unprepared. Like most of us are. Which we should not be.

Marshmallow
Apr 22nd, 2007, 01:48 AM
Are most of these perpatrators students?

Tennis Fool
Apr 22nd, 2007, 05:18 AM
(http://news.yahoo.com/;_ylt=Am.qcaaQvXKNjdRY5L2N6OdH2ocA)


Mass shootings more common since 1960s

By MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer1 hour, 30 minutes ago


Mass public shootings have become such a part of American life in recent decades that the most dramatic of them can be evoked from the nation's collective memory in a word or two: Luby's. Jonesboro. Columbine.


And now, Virginia Tech.


Since Aug. 1, 1966, when Charles Whitman climbed a 27-story tower on the University of Texas campus and started picking people off, at least 100 Americans have gone on shooting sprees.

And all through those years, the same questions have been asked: What is it about modern-day America that provokes such random violence? Is it the decline of traditional morals? The depiction of violence in entertainment? The ready availability of lethal firepower?

Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox blames guns, at least in part. He notes that seven of the eight deadliest mass public shootings have occurred in the past 25 years.

"I know that there were high-powered guns before," he said. "But this weaponry is just so much more pervasive than it was."

Australia had a spate of mass public shooting in the 1980s and '90s, culminating in 1996, when Martin Bryant opened fire at the Port Arthur Historical Site in Tasmania with an AR-15 assault rifle, killing 35 people.

Within two weeks the government had enacted strict gun control laws that included a ban on semiautomatic rifles. There has not been a mass shooting in Australia since.


Yet Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota State Department of Corrections, said the availability of guns was not a factor in his exhaustive statistical study of mass murder during the 20th century.

Duwe found that the prevalence of mass murders, defined as the killing of four or more people in a 24-hour period, tends to mirror that of homicide generally. The increase in mass killings during the 1960s was accompanied by a doubling in the overall murder rate after the relatively peaceful 1940s and '50s.

In fact, Duwe found that mass murder was just as common during the 1920s and early 1930s as it is today. The difference is that then, mass murderers tended to be failed farmers who killed their families because they could no longer provide for them, then killed themselves. Their crimes embodied the despair and hopelessness of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, the sense that they and their families would be better off in the hereafter than in the here and now.[Aside: look at my thread on the Bath bombings].


On Dec. 29, 1929, a 56-year-old tenant farmer from Vernon, Texas, named J.H. Haggard shot his five children, aged 6 to 18, in their beds as they slept. Then he killed himself. He left a note that said only, "All died. I had ruther be ded. Look in zellar."


Despondent men still kill their families today. But public shooters like Virginia Tech's Seung-Hui Cho are different. They are angrier and tend to blame society for their failures, sometimes singling out members of particular ethnic or socio-economic groups.


"It's society's fault ... Society disgusts me," Kimveer Gill wrote in his blog the day before he shot six people to death and injured 19 in Montreal last year.

In the videos and essays he left behind, Cho ranted about privileged students and their debauched behavior.


He also mentioned the Columbine killings, referring to Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris as "martyrs." Imitation undoubtedly plays a role in mass shootings as well, said Daniel A. Cohen, a historian at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.


"Certain types of crimes gain cultural resonance in certain periods," Cohen said.
So many post office employees gunned down their co-workers during the 1980s and early '90s that they spawned a neologism. To "go postal," according to the Webster's New World College Dictionary, is "to become deranged or go berserk."


The most recent postal shooting was in January 2006 when Jennifer San Marco, a former employee who had been fired a few years earlier because of her worsening mental state, walked into a letter sorting facility in Goleta, Calif., and killed six people with a handgun.


Criminologist Fox speculates that the increasing popularity of workplace killings, and public shootings generally, may be partly due to decreasing economic security and increasing inequality. America increasingly rewards its winners with a disproportionate share of wealth and adoration, while treating its losers to a heaping helping of public shame.


"We ridicule them. We vote them off the island. We laugh at them on `American Idol,'" Fox said.
But there has also been an erosion of community in America over the past half-century, and many scholars believe it has contributed to the rise in mass shootings.


"One would think that there's some new component to alienation or isolation," said Jeffrey S. Adler, a
professor of history and criminology at the University of Florida.

People used to live in closer proximity to their families and be more involved with civic and religious institutions. They were less likely to move from one part of the country to another, finding themselves strangers in an unfamiliar environment.

Even so, the small-town America of yesteryear wasn't completely immune. On March 6, 1915, businessman Monroe Phillips, who had lived in Brunswick, Ga., for 12 years, killed six people and wounded 32 before being shot dead by a local attorney. Phillips' weapon: an automatic shotgun.

Remarkably, violence in today's media seems to have little to do with mass public shootings. Only a handful of them have ever cited violent video games or movies as inspiration for their crimes. Often they are so isolated and socially awkward that they are indifferent to popular culture.

Ultimately, it is impossible to attribute the rise in mass shootings to any single cause. The crimes only account for a tiny fraction of homicides.

And a significant fraction of those who commit them, including Cho, either kill themselves or are killed by police before they can be questioned by investigators.


Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.




(http://us.bc.yahoo.com/b?P=fnnSZESOwhXng5a0RMVUWgk0GNfYQEYq4a4AC4eZ&T=1ck0ghrp4%2fX%3d1177215406%2fE%3d8903239%2fR%3dn ews%2fK%3d5%2fV%3d3.1%2fW%3dJ%2fY%3dYAHOO%2fF%3d25 38399228%2fH%3dY2FjaGVoaW50PSJuZXdzIiBjb250ZW50PSJ BbWVyaWNhbjtpdDtBbWVyaWNhO2dvdmVybm1lbnQ7Y2hpbGRyZ W47SXQ7U2FuO3NlY3VyaXR5O0Zsb3JpZGE7ZW52aXJvbm1lbnQ 7dmlkZW87bW92aWVzO3BvbGljZTtyZWZ1cmxfbmV3c195YWhvb 19jb20iIHJlZnVybD0icmVmdXJsX25ld3NfeWFob29fY29tIiB 0b3BpY3M9InJlZnVybF9uZXdzX3lhaG9vX2NvbSI-%2fQ%3d-1%2fS%3d1%2fJ%3d49C28E44)

samsung101
Apr 23rd, 2007, 04:34 PM
Do you know how many schools we have in the USA?

Hundreds of thousands. It's a big country.

LA County school violence is tremendous - daily. Every
single day they fear gun violence in a county with
nearly zero legal gun ownership laws. Philly, NYC,
Miami, Boston, violent schools. That's not given worldwide
attention for the most part.



Considering that, our school violence on the whole is
not more serious than other nations with our population
size and diversity, and our open society.

But, when it happens, it is horrendous.

Especially, when it happens in a relatively quiet, rural
location, i.e., Oregon, Colorado, Virginia countryside.


This man was an adult. He was not a child. He was not
removed from the campus for odd behavior because no one
pressed charges, and he never went beyond the 'scary'
point. Never physically harmed anyone, or threatened anyone,
or did anything - he looked like he would, seemed like he could,
and nothing else.

In Virginia, the courts did not take him out when they had a chance -
in our ever growing need to be understanding and sympathetic, and
to give 2nd and 3rd chances.

The gun system in Virgina did not take into account people who
voluntarily entered mental health clinics for evaluation - it should
have, and may in the future.

I think that's the #1 thing that may come out of this - a national
database regarding mental health.

As well as the sale of gun items on the internet - the shell cases.

I think there should be a waiting period - 2 or 3 days. As well as
a more thorough background check, and an incentive of some kind
to make people take a mandatory class - like for driver's license.

The other thing that should be considered more is how can a school
remove a troubled minor or adult from campus. How they can do more
to prevent problems with difficult students by taking them out of the
system sooner. Do we always have to wait until they do something?

It's very hard for a school to remove a kid right now. We're so tolerant
and forgiving, a kid gets one chance after another.