Title: Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters.
Author: Peter Langman, PhD..
Genre: Non-fiction, psychology, school shooting, mental health.
Publication Date: January 1, 2009.
Summary: In the horrific aftermath of school shootings, distraught communities struggle to make sense of these seemingly senseless acts. Despite massive media coverage, we know little about what drives young perpetrators or how they rationalize their acts. In this breakthrough analysis, Dr. Peter Langman presents the psychological causes of school shootings and offers unprecedented insight into why certain teens exhibit the potential to kill. He shows how to identify early signs of possible violence and offers preventative measures that parents and educators can take to protect their communities.
My rating: 8/10.
♥ Hypothetically, however, even if shooters were innocent victims of bullying, this could not explain why they committed their attacks. To say the shooters went on rampages because they were bullied ignores the fact that millions of students are bullied every day without committing murder. The experience of being bullied does not distinguish the child who becomes a killer from the millions of bullied children who do not. It has been said that bullying was so rampant at Columbine High School that the school had a toxic culture. Even if it did, that does not tell us why, out of the thousands of students who passed through that toxic culture, it was Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who went on a murderous rampage.
♥ Finally, the depression and self-loathing of many of the shooters made them highly vulnerable to teasing and rejection. A confident, secure person has an easier time ignoring an insult than a person who knows (or suspects) that the insult is true. If you already feel like a reject and a failure, any experiences that support those feelings will be magnified in your mind. Thus, the issue is not simply that the shooters were sometimes teased or rejected, but that they were highly vulnerable, and therefore highly reactive, to these experiences.
♥ In the wake of shootings, schools often increase their physical security measures by giving students identification badges, adding surveillance cameras, and installing metal detectors, among other measures. These measures, however, do not prevent school shootings.
When students commit school shootings, they typically do so at their own schools. Identification badges might help prevent strangers from entering a school, but that is not a relevant factor in the kind of acts discussed in this book. Identification badges might help prevent strangers from entering a school, but that is not a relevant factor in the kind of acts discussed in this book. identification badges and other forms of physical security might help prevent mass murder by strangers that takes place at schools, but that is a different issue.
Similarly, surveillance cameras can have a deterrent effect on people who might try to commit a crime secretly, but they do not stop school shootings. Unlike most killers, school shooters are not concerned with hiding their identities. They commit public acts with no attempt at secrecy. The presence of a camera does not stop an attack. There were cameras at Columbine and at Red Lake, Minnesota, but they were not a deterrent.
Finally, metal detectors can prevent students from sneaking guns or knives into school. They will not, however, prevent school shootings. There was a metal detector and security guards at Red Lake. Jeffrey Weise shot one of the guards and walked into the building. The presence of a metal detector meant nothing. If you expect to die in the attack, it does not matter if you set off an alarm at the metal detector. it does not matter if people see you with a gun, because you are there to kill and to die.
So what can be done? The best defense is early detection. By the time shooters are approaching the school with a gun, it is too late. Even if they can be kept from entering the building, they still can go on a rampage. They can shoot people in the morning as they arrive at school, or wait until school lets out. If a door is locked, they may be able to shoot their way through. Shooters have to be stopped before they can get to the school with weapons. This means a different style of prevention than physical security.