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How Does Someone Become A School Shooter?

Photo: Bourgeoisbee/ FLIKR

Just hours be­fore Pres­id­ent Obama met with fam­il­ies of the vic­tims of the Umpqua Com­munity Col­lege mas­sacre in Ore­gon, a North­ern Ari­zona Uni­versity stu­dent shot class­mates fol­low­ing an al­ter­ca­tion in a park­ing lot. There would be more fatal gun vi­ol­ence at a school in Texas that same day.

In the wake of such tra­gedies, the re­ac­tion has be­come routine: a flurry of “thoughts and pray­ers,” calls for in­creased gun con­trol on the Left, re­but­tals on the Right, and then si­lence, un­til the next shoot­ing ig­nites the same cycle.

Noth­ing really changes, and the whole pro­cess is in­furi­at­ing in its re­act­ive­ness. Little at­ten­tion is paid to the time be­fore a shoot­ing oc­curs, be­fore these (mostly) young men feel com­pelled to reach for a gun.

What’s hap­pen­ing—or not hap­pen­ing—in the months and years that lead to such tra­gedies?

While crim­in­al vi­ol­ence is down from 30 years ago, the num­ber of tar­geted mass shoot­ings has in­creased, par­tic­u­larly in the last dec­ade. Between 2000-06 and 2007-13, act­ive pub­lic shoot­ings have in­creased about 150 per­cent in the U.S., ac­cord­ing to a 2014 FBI study.

So what’s dif­fer­ent? These young people, these angry, some­times-loner-type-but-not-al­ways teens and young adults, have ex­is­ted in every gen­er­a­tion be­fore, when mass shoot­ings wer­en’t splashed across front pages every few weeks. Fig­ur­ing out what has changed re­quires ask­ing some un­com­fort­able ques­tions.

How does someone be­come a school shoot­er?

Source: Emily DeRuy. National Journal. October 23, 2015

Photo: Bourgeoisbee/ FLIKR

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