According to Every town Research for GunSafety, there have been 242 school shootings in America since 2013. Schoolshootings are a type of mass shootings that occurs periodically, yet thesespecific events are the most emotionally impactful in American schools but alsoworldwide. This phenomenon is describedas a “rampage shootings that take place in school settings, that involvesmultiple victims and it involves one or more shooters who are students orformer students”(Newman, 2004,p.50). The Columbine legacies, Virginia Tech arethe pioneers of school shootings. As thegeneral public continues to fabricate general assumptions on thesecircumstances, therefore the problem is still unanswered and as a result mayaggravate these offender`s behaviours .
The purpose of this research is to examine the issue of schoolshootings in the United States of America throughthe use of a multidisciplinary approach. The disciplines of sociology will lookat, gender, peer relationships, and the small communities factors. Thedisciplines of psychology will look at the shooter’s profile, and itsmotivations. The disciplines of politics will look at the gun control policy, the effectiveness of school security measure,and the Virginia Tech Assessment Model At thesociological level, gender is a contributing factor for these perpetrators tocommit school shootings. When examining historical cases of this phenomenon, thereis a common pattern in the population of perpetrators.
White males are solelyresponsible for these school shootings. (Kimmel and Mahler, 2003,p.1443). Theseindividuals are pressured to conform to their genders (p.
1446). Hegemonicmasculinity is a desired minimal standard of behaviour for men. (Donaldson, 1993).It is primarily based on traditional gender roles. This ideology is about men being the authoritarian figures in private and public institutions.Researchers found that the shooters are in engaged in activities that seem todeviate from the ideology that has been prescribed to them.
(p.1447). As aresult they become a target of entertainment to their peers (Kimmel et al,2003,p.1447). Their behaviours are an example of how they encounter severalconsequences when they do not become followers of this masculinity script(Kimmel et al, 2003).
Unfortunately, these victims believe in these feelings ofbeing failures and worthless (Kalish and Kimmel, 2010,p.455). Evidencedemonstrates that violence is a requirement for masculinities (Kalish andKimmel, p. 450).
These offenders reacted by shooting their peers as a processof clearing their names. (Kimmel, et al, 2003 p.1447). In short, masculinitiescan contribute to individual’s behaviours to commits horrendous schoolrampages. Since their peers shame their masculinity, these perpetrators becomevictims of bullying. School shooters commit these acts due to them havingbeen the victims of bullying; the issue is an on-going- case that hinders anindividual educational achievement. According to the National Association ofSchool, Psychologists about 160,000 children miss school everyday due to fearof bullying (Newman, 2004,p.
64). The targets are usually the ones that appearto be physically or psychologically vulnerable. It is important to note thatthe age of the victims should not be neglected (Leary et al, 2003). Bullyingcan negatively impact a student`s self esteem at an early age (Leary et al,2003). These victims are heavily picked on, heartbroken, and betrayed by theirown friends (Leary et al, 2003,p.
207). In the midst of their pain, they might seek support from theirteachers; unfortunately their teachers misguide and favour other students abovethem and as a result, they may feel emotional strain. (Newman, 2004,p.98). Insearch of their identity, they seek approval from others by making falsestories about themselves. (p.131). Their plan deteriorates because their peershave instilled a negative representation of these offenders (Newman,2004,p.
131). The researcher demonstrate how these offender`s happiness ismeasured by their sense of belonging in their schools. The way smallcommunities respond to these offender`s behaviours can also be a factor. Itis important to note that perpetrators can cause trouble even in communitieswere violence is minimal.
In fact, “60 percent of shootings have taken place inrural areas”(Newman, 2004.p.112). The school shootings that have occurred inthese communities have a strong sense of what Robert Putnam defines as socialcapital (p.113). This term means that people are supportive towards one another(p.113). However Newman argues that this theory is not helpful for the safetyof the small communities.
Prepatotr`s family member are often times unaware of their children`sbehaviours (Newman, 2004,p.117). Since these communities are focused onmaintaining their relationships, when they are aware of the perpetrator’s threats, they do not tell because they do notwant to disrupt their environment (Newman, 2004,p.122). In consequence, sincethere is an absence of security measures in small communities, the enforcer maygrasp they opportunity to commit murderous crimes. Interactional relationshipsand societal norms explains the shooter`s decisions to kill random victims,however when looking at the individual factors, many of them are in conflictwith themselves and are desiring for public attention they see these shootingsas a means to solve their problems.At the psychological level, mental illnessis a common factor when discussing these shooter`s actions.
Even though some rampage shooters are diagnosedwith mental illness, it does not represent the overall population (Metzl and Macleish,2015,p.242). However, in order for one to understand a shooter`s profile it is helpfulto distinguish between the different types of personality disorders. Dr. PeterLangman sorts rampage shooters intro three categories: Psychopaths, Psychoticand traumatized (2009,p.21).
Psychopath shooters are individuals that are selfish,these shooters will never be content with themselves and their communities Theyare unwilling to be concerned about people`s needs (Langman, 2009,p.21). Theyexpress their needs trough the acts of coercion andaggressiveness. These perpetrators master the art of masking their character (p.23).Andrew Golden is an example of a psychopathic shooter. On March 24 1998, Andrewand his friend Mitchell, commited mass murder (p.21).
Their young ages indicatehow they are fascinated by the theme of violence (Langman, 2009,p.21). In fact,psychopaths demonstrate their cruelty by inflicting extreme pain on humans andanimals. (p.23). Further, psychopaths are narcissist individuals (Langman,2009,p.
38). They view themselves as nonconformist meaning that they actaccording to their own rules (p.45). These shooters rather want to be the mainsource of influence (p.45). As a result they when they are pressured to obeyauthority, they express their frustrations by automatically shooting people (Langman,2009, p.
45). Psychotic shooters differ from psychopathsand they are broken down into two categories: Schizotypal and schizophreniapersonality disorder (Langman, 2009,p.49). Schizotypal shooters cognitiveabilities are impaired compared to their peers. Their sense of identify isaltered due to the lack of mutuality among their friends, and they areemotionally distant from their social communities (Langman, 2009,p.
59). In short,these shooters hurt innocent victims because of how they perceive themselves (Langman,2009,p.59). Their pessimistic thoughts hinder schizotypal shooters to find waysto improve their condition (P.
59). The Schizophrenic shooters are in aconstant battle with their inner thoughts, and therefore they are viewed asstrange individuals. (p.75). These shooters randomly kill innocent peoplebecause they believe that it is their moral obligation to defend themselves againsttheir imaginary thoughts. (Langman, 2009,p.77).
Michael Carneal is an exampleof a shooter that has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic. On December 1st1997, he entered the school building with five guns and killed a group ofpeople .(p.77).Schizophrenic become restless because they are deeply rooted in the belief that people aregoing to harm them (Langman, 2009,p.
77). Also, their reason for their killingis prominently caused by strain of others judgment, which can negatively impacttheir consciousness (p.88). Traumatized shooters come from familieswhere members are emotionally and physically disconnected from one another (Langman,2009,p.106). There is a recurring cycle of violence in their families and wherethey are likely to be victims of physical abuse (Langman, 2009, p.
107). JeffreyWeise is an example of a traumatized shooter. On March 21,2005 he killed hisgrandmother and his classmates (p.118-119). Along with this experience, these perpetratorsare left to figure out life on their own because their parents are incompetentto provide them the right guidance.
(p.118-119). These school shooters openfire as way to cope with their distress. (Langman, 2006, p.
126). Theseshooters as a result of their personality disorders feel that they lost themeaning of life and are unable to become resilient from their experiences. Thedesire of public acknowledgment can be another cause for these shootings.School shooters seek fame though killingmultiple victims; they see it as an opportunity where their names become adiscussion in popular culture.
Larkin (2009), explains, “The body count almostalways innocent bystanders, exists primarily as a method of generating media attention”.For these offenders, they are knowledgeable about the media and understand how itcan impact people` lives (Larkin 2009 p, 1322). As a result, through theiractions, the attention that they received justifies their personalgratification. (Larkin, 2009,p.1322). Since any of these shooters are in innerconflict with themselves, they are persuaded by the notion of “going out inblaze of glory (Newman, 2004,p.251). This reflects their values and that theywill do whatever it takes to achieve their desire for fame (Newman, 2004p.
251).As a matter of evidence, Harris stated: :Isn’t fun to get the respect weregoing to deserve”? (). Furthermore, the foreshadowing themes of violence intheir writings are common for these shooters and it is overlooked by many individuals(Newman, 2009,page 256). Also, future perpetrators that relate with these shooters,see their actions as a way a of preserving these traditions.
(Larkin,2009,p.1312). In short, these shooters are intrigued by how their shootingstriggers emotional sensitivity to human beings. Looking at the damagaed causedby school perpetrators it is important to explain how lawmakers and schoolsystems can implement policies in response to this phenomenon.The debate about gun control is essential for policymakersand law enforcement. Kopel (2015) criticizes guns supporters for overlookingthe failures of this policy.
He highlights that individuals, specificallycriminals are knowledgeable about universal background checks laws. As a result,these individuals may find alternatives to access firearms (Koppel, 2015,p.3).A shit from background checks to tightening economical policies will achieve desiredresults in terms of firearms regulations (Lafollette, 2011,p.276). Gun controlssupporters believe that the availability of guns negatively destabilizes acommunity (Lafollette, 2011,p.
273). On the contrary, gun control advocates generalizeevery firearm, for this reason the argument of guns being dangerous is wrong(Kopel, 2015,p.10). There are some guns that are dangerous in terms of theircapacity in comparison to others ( p.
10). However, magazine guns are effectivefor individuals that find themselves vulnerable in a particular situation (p.10).
In sum, as school shootings and firearms continue to be a research of interest,the debate about restricting guns will be unending. For this reason, it isimportant to focus on one of the security measures implemented in schools.School resources officers is a common security measure inresponse to school shootings.Governments value the importance of school resources as way to regulate school crime(Addignton, 2009,1431). Government financially invest in this security measure,that is why there is an increase of school officers in elementary and in highschools. However, school security may hinder students learning environment, andthey may be disconnected from the school resource officers (Addignton,2009,p.
1437). Further, there is a need for in depth research about the long-termimpacts of school resource officers in terms of reducing crime (Addignton,2009,1435). Researchers focus on the relationship between school resources officersand crime rates (Na et Gottfredson, 2011,p.7-8). Results demonstrate that thelikelihood of school resources reducing crimes is scarce (Na et al, 2011,p.24).In short, although school resource officers is a desired security measure,researcher recommend that there is need of development of school resources interms of their contributions to reduce crime.
The Virginia Tech assessment modelis an effecting program in responding to school shootings.A threat assessment model is a guide thatdetermines the degree of seriousness of a person`s intentions (Cornell, n.d,p.4). Trough the use of a decision tree process, school administrators developsolutions to resolve the conflicts that influence a student`s threat (Cornell,n.d, p.5).
Their primary purpose is to acquire a student`s background in orderto identify the right threat (p.5). After their evaluation, they categorize thethreat in two categories: Substantive and transient (Langman, 2009 p. 207).Substantive are more alarming because of its violent nature (Cornell, n.d, p.6).
Therefore, the administrators conduct a safety evaluation that includes a lawenforcement investigation and a mental health evaluation of the student (p.6).Despite its effectiveness, threat Assements can also be complicated (p, 208).Perpetrators sometimes make threats for the sake of making others afraid of them(Langman, 2009,p.208).
A second reason is because some perpetrators are intriguedof being mysterious; therefore they will not make a threat (p.208). There is aneed for students to be alert when they know that their peers has revealedtheir intentions because it is significant for the well-being of the schoolenvironment (P.208).
Threats Assements can be used as form of rehabilitationprocedure .In sum, threat Assements help schools to make rational decisions forstudent`s misbehaviour.Despite the sensitivity of school shootings,these events occur infrequently. It is impossible to generalize these offendersbecause their intentions may vary.
Their reasons may be a combination offactors that that leads them to commit shootings. Marginalization and stigmacan negatively impact a perpetrator’s well being and as result it influencestheir actions. Many of the prerepatratrs believe committing rampages is a wayto cope with their mental illness.
This research can challenge people to revaluatetheir perceptions of school shooters and be more awakened by the shooter`sintentions.