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Are School Shootings Becoming The New Norm

Updated on December 19, 2014
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The Rise In An Epidemic

It seems that in the recent years that school shootings are becoming more frequent and thereby more deadly. Killings occurring in schools have taken place since the beginning of time, though, with assault rifles and deadlier types of weapons the shooting have increased in intensity. There are many theories out there in regard to the cause and what can be done to reduce this paradigm shift in a remarkably unsafe world.

In the past parents and children alike dreamt of the day in which their college career is on the horizon. Now, still desired, yet simultaneously feared. This is not the military where families are cognizant that their child may be killed but instead they hope to have a successful son or daughter and not one they have memories of after death.

Columbine marked a turning point in shootings. Yet this is not the first shooting by far it is one that will go down in history. Two teenage students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher while wounding 20 others before turning their guns on themselves. Other shootings such as the one at Virginia Tech where the shooter killed 32 and injured many more, and more recently the shootings at Sandy Hook where the shooter targeted children under the age of ten and then the shooting at UC Santa Barbara, these horrific acts have called for national attention.

What is bullying?

Bullying is when one person seeks out to ridicule or undermine another person’s difference. Bullying can be overt or discreet. Even discreet bullying is harmful. Bullying can be done by one person or can lead to multiple people picking on one person. Examples of bullying include but are not limited to:

  • Weight – overweight or underweight
  • Look such as wearing glasses
  • Ethnicity
  • Not being good at sports or being smart
  • Being poor or not having stylish clothes

Shooter Profile

As research has been gathered over the years, psychologists and law enforcement alike have worked to describe what to look for in a shooter. So far there are several consistencies in what have been found in the profile of a shooter. Yet this description is not to create fear in society and to erroneously point out those that fit the bill. However, it is important to recognize one key part in the profiled outcome. These are some similarities to shooters to date:

  • Caucasian (except for the Virginia Tech shooter)
  • Middle Class Family
  • Loner
  • Anger Issues
  • Good Student
  • Bullied


Should the mentally ill loose their right to bear arms

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Why is this Happening

There are several hypotheses about the origin of the shooter profile and a lot of blame is projected and misplaced. Some of what has been said after the fact focuses on the family of the shooter, the shooter themselves, their therapists and others. Though, can something be done whereas a society we are not losing innocent people, to include the shooter, and intervene before an act occurs and where there is no turning back.

On important hypothesis and fits well with the shooter profile is: bullying. All of the gunmen reported either to parents, therapists, or in a suicide letter that they were bullied and fed up. The shooting in many ways became their only recourse to the torture they experienced in their lives. Despite the anger that emerges when a school shooting occurs and it is difficult to have compassion for a killer, though, these individuals were troubled in so many ways.

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Who is to Blame

As opposed to seeking blame of an individual is it more appropriate to take responsibility for such acts as a society. Going back to the common thread of bullying, if as a society we seek to eradicate bullying in all its forms will we also be able to reduce the possible occurrences of school shootings and return to a safe society where our children can prosper.

How many people understand the trauma and pain that results from bullying? Despite the anguish that one experiences and schools attempt to have a no tolerance policy, is enough being done? The answer must be “NO” since bullying continues in and out of school. Ironically enough most people seek for individuality, but still as a whole people face not being accepted due to individuality.

When as a whole can we say that enough has been accomplished. It almost appears to be that one last bullying moment when the shooter is blamed for their ultimate action, when nothing prior to that over-the-top moment has attracted enough attention to end their unfortunateness as a target.

What to do if you see someone being bullied

As an adult we have a responsibility to the young, whether it is as their parent, educator or mentor. Most schools do have a no bullying policy, though even as good as educators are they are human and may not pick up on the most discreet forms of bullying. However, if your child reports to you that they are being bullied take it serious and report it to their school, if it happened there. Do not take any excuse from the school and demand results such as contacting the other child’s parents and even to include classroom education for other children.

If you are the educator then hold yourself to the highest standard of no tolerance. This includes voluntarily teaching your classroom about bullying and the damage that is done as a result. If you need to bring in a professional then do so.


As a final thought, school shootings are becoming the new epidemic and causing fear around the US. However, if we work together as a society is it possible to return to a time where our children can go to school without fear of injury or being bullied? At this point can we teach our children to respect and care for others and the differences as well as their commonalities.


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    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hi Jean thanks for the comment. I will not agree with the title "sociopath" since that is a clinical diagnosis, however, I do agree with you that for one reason or another bullying is not completely handled. Just campaigning against bullying in schools does not mean that it does not occur still.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Many of us have been bullied in school, and I think schools need to take more responsibility for the bullying that goes on in the classroom. Parents aren't in the class. Bullying usually happens at lunch, in the hallways, at recess, or times when children are on line and the teacher has their back turned. Until schools stop catering to sociopathic students who are often the captain of the football team and head cheerleader, and we have stricter gun laws in the U.S., this trend will not change. Often the most popular ones are the worst ones, they have learned to charm their way out of the punishments or get the teachers to think it was all in fun. This is why they are sociopaths.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks mbuggieh for the comment. I knew this would be a controversial subject with many opinions, mine included. The profile of mass shooters have been published, however, that is not enough. There is no profile even thought about for the "bully" who contributes at least to these situations. Also, remember though many of the mass shooters were found to have some sort of mental health concern, not many of them sought out treatment. Most of what is recognized from the shooter is a "hindsight" thought of who they were.

    • profile image

      mbuggieh 3 years ago

      Stop the coverage. Stop enabling the twisted celebrity of killers. Rethink the mental health treatments to include revival of the institutionalization of some mentally ill people---including young people who exhibit anti-social tendencies. Start profiling: The profile of the mass murderer (school-related or not) is obvious.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hi Kathleen,

      You have a point there. I also think that we have to stop producing bullies that damage people.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      A step in the right direction would be to take the approach to school shootings that we took to airplane hijackings: stop covering them. No spotlight. Rob the shooter of his audience.