In past years, school shootings have become common. When people think of shootings, the last thing they think about is a shooting at school. The first school shooting on record in the United States occurred in the 1700s. According to k12academics.com, as many as four Native Americans from the Lenape tribe opened fire on a teacher and students. During this incident, the schoolmaster and ten children were killed. Since this tragedy, many more school shootings have taken place.
6 Factors That Contribute to a School Shooting
There are many different factors that have a helping hand in school shootings. A shooting at school is not news like it once was, but it will always be a tragedy. One question that many people are interested in knowing the answer to is: how could this happen? Who would do such a thing? How can any human being do this to other human beings? There are plenty of contributing factors in this situation that create the perfect storm for an individual and a school shooting.
1. Planting a Violent Seed
Many people believe that kills are not born, but made. There are many things that can cause a human to lose touch with reality and enter a fantasy world, a world that only exists to them, most of which is in their mind. When fantasies are involved, the “wishful thinking” train of thought is triggered. Something as simple as being bored in class can trigger mass memories and thoughts. For some people, dreams and daydreams are not always pleasant. One of the most common causes of violent or “dark” dreams or nightmares is revenge. Some people, especially children, cannot distinguish between right and wrong when revenge is involved, they only know how they feel. Vengeance along with frustration are ingredients for disaster.
2. Evolving Illusions
Many events and situations can cause an adolescent to become disturbed. Many children and teens escape the real world by playing video games and involving themselves in activities that are not positive. A lot of children and teens experience an imbalance and choose to act out as a sign or cry for help. Many people wonder why schools are primary targets for people to release their anger, rage, and frustration. Attacking a school is the most logical for imbalanced people and people who have been hurt because it is the quickest way to hurt as many people as possible and make them hurt the way they do.
Schools are primary targets of such violence because it is the place where a lot of hurt takes place. Instances such as:
- Name calling
- Picking on someone
- Beating someone up
3. Disturbing, Troubled Thoughts
Disturbing, troubled thoughts often derive from misunderstandings. These thoughts can occur in anyone. Many adults have troubling thoughts that begin in their childhood and continue into adulthood. Many people have troubled thoughts because it is difficult to distinguish between right and wrong. Sometimes these thoughts stem from abuse. When abuse is a factor in this situation, some people cannot distinguish between actual events and fictional events. Many people believe that this instance only affects children and adults who are rich, but regardless of a person’s financial status, this situation can happen.
4. Crying for Help
A lot of people notice a person’s cry for help before any other indication that something is wrong. Adults and children have ways of crying out for help. Although the cries for help with a child and adult are different, there are many similarities. A few different cries for help may include:
- Having tantrums
- Acting out in school
- Being disrespectful
- Committing crimes
Many parents miss these warning signs because they mistake them for something else. Cries for help are often mistaken for other things because of the nature of the situation. When a child throws a fit or has a tantrum, a lot of parents will view this as their going through a milestone event, such as terrible two’s or the teenage phase. Individuals often write off a child’s or teen’s cry for help as misbehavior, and tries to correct this issue with punishment. This is where many children and teens tend to “break”, and often lose respect for their parents and other adults, causing them to lash out and cause more trouble.
5. The Respect Factor
The respect factor is not commonly seen in children, but parents of teens are familiar with the respect factor. Teens experience many different things, and they often find themselves in awkward situations. During the teen years, the respect factor is a frustrating time for teens and their parents. This is the time when teens are finding themselves, falling in love or out of love, working, and some teens may pay a bill or two. These are the prime ingredients that make up the respect factor epidemic.
Many teens are coming into their own, and they want, and feel like they deserve the same respect that they give their parents. Many parents do not give in to the respect factor, and place other rules in motion which usually worsens the situation.
Teens often revert to their childhood years when something seems unfair or they do not get their way, and this results in a full-blown tantrum. Instead of kicking and screaming like a child, teenagers slam doors, stomp their feet, roll their eyes, and occasionally throw things. This type of behavior must be stopped before these habits are carried into adulthood and problems escalate on a much larger scale of trouble.
6. Giving In (Spoiling a Child)
Some parents are caught in the moments when their child asks for something and they always give in. Contrary to the belief of many parents, you do not have to shower your child with gifts to show your love for them. When you purchase every single thing a child wants, you are spoiling them! As a parent, you make sure that they have everything they need, but not everything they want. A child who is used to getting their way from their parents will expect the same treatment from others, and this is a situation that may not always have a happy ending once reality sets in.
According to stoptheshootings.org, 387 shootings have taken place at school, many of which have been a middle school shooting. Many of these shootings have one or more fatalities. A lot of people are not aware of the crisis in this situation until they view the statistics on paper. School shootings are at an all-time high and on a steady rise. The current school shooting statistics are unbelievable.
1998 was a year that had a high statistic for school shootings, but the year 2011 skyrocketed with school shootings and exceeded the year of 1998, and all of the year in between.
In previous years, you can see that there has always been a case of violence present in schools, but as time progresses, the number of instances, fatalities, and injuries increase by a significant amount. The year of 2012 takes the lead of all of the school shootings with two school shootings occurring within the same year.
This view of the united States puts many things into perspective for a lot of people. Hearing about these shootings in the news is different than seeing the facts on paper. These images give parents and other individuals a clear aspect of the shootings that have taken place in the United States at school.
Many shootings have occurred in various locations of the United States. To put these statistics in a clearer form, a list of school shootings is required.
Who Are Targets of School Shootings?
There are many different targets of a shooting that occurs at school. These targets are singled out from everyone else in school. Who are the targets of school shootings?
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Sometimes the shooter does not have anything against an individual personally, they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is one of the “perfect storm” moments where things just happen to fall in place at the right second for everything to go terribly wrong. In this situation, keep in mind that many shooters are not waiting to recognize familiar faces because they are opportunistic predators at this time.
Being Good at What You Do
When someone is good at what they do, they often receive recognition. Too much recognition can cause someone to become jealous and they may go to extreme measures to get the recognition another person receives at any cost.
Mr. /Mrs. Popular
In most situations, everyone in school loves the popular people and want to be around them. Popular students are like celebrities and many people would do almost anything to sit close to them or be associated with them. A student who is not as popular may want the spotlight.
The expert is often a student who knows their way around a situation or item, and everyone seeks their advice. One person may know a lot of things, but not too many people notice it, and this can be a primary cause for disaster.
Standing Your Ground
A person who has their goals in order and stands their ground on these goals is admired by many. A lot of students are easily swayed by others and they often take on the goals of another person, but not by choice. A person who can stand their ground in any situation is strong, and there are many people who lack this characteristic.
Teenagers and young adults are at the age when they begin to gain a sense of independence. Someone may not accept help from another person which could be a cause for resentment. Some people are needy, and at times, they need to have a sense of balance, so they need someone to need them so they will feel wanted and important.
Jealousy almost always plays a role in violence, especially in school shootings. Jealousy is something that everyone has experienced at least once, but some people take the situation farther than others.
Excluding a Person
Students in high school and college may decide to shun another student or exclude them in their club or other activities. These acts can send a person over the edge and cause unnecessary violence.
The Undermining Person
Someone who undermines other people are not the favorite of the crowd. Sometimes undermining can go too far and have fatal results.
Degraders are usually bullies who pick on students who they feel are beneath them. Many students who participate in degrading others often feel bad about their flaws. Students who degrade other students may also threaten or humiliate them.
There’s always at least one student in every school who is the victim of everything. Not too many people want to sit and listen to another person complain about petty things on a daily basis.
How Do Shooters Get Their Hands on Such Deadly Weapons?
Weapons are not as difficult to get a hold of as they should be. When school shootings occur, people not only wonder how or why it happened, but they also wonder where the heavy artillery came from. There are many people that can be blamed, but the internet is the source of all evil in this situation.
Children, teens, and young adults in today’s society are more advanced and tech-savvy than the average adult which leaves positive and negative doors of opportunity open. There are many websites online that allow people to purchase guns at their will.
Since there are gun restrictions, a lot of people are left wondering how students get their hands on military weapons. Someone may be selling a gun or a student can purchase a gun online without identification. Most people who are selling these types of guns are only concerned about the money, and does not care what the gun is used for or why it was purchased. Many people purchase guns and other items with their parent’s credit or debit cards.
There are many different warning signs of a school shooting, but many people miss or overlook them because they do not know what to look for in this situation.
1. Threats: A student who makes threats is the primary sign that something is not right and should be looked into. Many times, the shooters will freely let other students know when and where the shooting will occur.
2. Condoning Comments: Condoning comments are less direct threats, but should never be taken lightly. One example of a condoning comment is a class that is discussing violence and tragedy, and a student’s reply being inappropriate, such as “cool” or “awesome”.
3. Schoolwork: A lot of the time, a student’s schoolwork or homework can have indications that there is a problem. In many situations, the content of the homework may be enough to raise a few suspicions, but never enough to alert a parent or the authorities.
Warning signs may be found or noticed within school projects. Many students and people who have become school shooters have completed a project about school shootings. A lot of instructors would like to get to know their students better, so they assign a project. The project is usually a free-of-choice project which means that they can create a project about anything they desire. When a student presents their project about school shootings, the instructor may find the topic interesting, but think nothing more about it.
4. Warning Signs (indirect): There are many warning signs in this situation that are indirect. These are the most dangerous warning signs because they are difficult to detect. At times, these indirect warning signs may only appear one at a time which is why most people do not pick up on them. A lot of people sense that things are wrong when these indirect warning signs are in abundance and appear together with two or more warning signs simultaneously.
5. Warning Signs in the Home: Many people believe that trouble begins in the home. Many children, teens, and adults may lash out because of the events that have taken place in the past, such as abuse. Children are fragile, especially in their mental state. Things such as verbal and mental abuse are common factors that cause teens and adults to reach their breaking point or “snap” as many experts call it.
Aside from abuse in the home, there may be other problems. In some cases, although it is rare, trouble does not begin in the home. There are other things that may cause a person to change their habits or do things that they may not normally do, such as friends and other influences, such as media which includes music and television.
6. Warning Signs (online): The internet can be a great way to get things done. The internet makes difficult tasks easier than ever. On the downside of things, the internet can be used to manipulate people, purchase guns, target people, and anything else that a person can think of. In today’s society, many parents are more active in their child’s social media life. A lot of the time, the shooter will post videos or statuses about the shooting and other events that they may be planning.
When a school shooting is suspected, the first thing that should be done is notify the school that you believe is a target and notify other schools who you may believe are at risk. This is one good way to keep everyone alert. Most schools will take a person’s word on a suspected shooting and enforce the property amount of security and other security measures to keep students and staff safe. The authorities, such as the police should be notified. When all of the proper authorities are notified, schools can be better protected. Some people involve other parents and adults to ensure the safety of their children and others before things take a turn for the worst.
8 Ways to Prevent a School Shooting
1. Create Stricter Gun Laws
Many people believe that the gun laws in the United States should be stricter. Some people believe that other laws should be in place to make it more difficult for people to purchase and own guns. Other people believe that many different tests should be performed before someone has the privilege of owning a gun. A few of these tests include tests that reveal if a person is mentally stable or suffering from any other mental illness.
2. Allowing Guns in School
When many people hear the phrase “allow guns in school”, they panic. Research shows that many school shootings take place in gun free zones. It is thought by many that having armed forces in the schools will greatly reduce the risk of school shootings.
3. Enhancing School Security
One of the best approaches to take in this situation is to have better security in the schools. Metal detectors is one security measure that will make a difference. They can be set up in various locations of the school to keep students and staff safe.
4. Improvements in Mental Healthcare
Mental healthcare is available in the United States, but it could be better. When improvements are made within the mental healthcare system, individuals who suffer from a mental illness will have the care they need and medications that will help them lead a more successful, fulfilled life that will be as normal as possible.
5. Family Focus
When focus is placed on the family, family values and morals can be implemented. When schools are more family oriented and involve families within the school, students may receive better grades and increase their interactive methods within the classroom.
6. Being the Ultimate Parent
Being the ultimate parent requires a lot. Parents who are more involved in their child’s life have a better chance of their child succeeding. There are many steps that can be taken to ensure you are the ultimate parent, and you can begin by spending quality time with your child and traveling with them.
7. Be There for Each Other
A lot of people have lost touch with themselves and each other. Instead of putting each other down and belittling one another, everyone should try to get along and empower each other. Instead of shunning one another, people should begin to help one another climb the success ladder.
8. Exposure to Violence
Parents, guardians, and other adults should try to reduce a child’s exposure to violence as much as possible. Violence is commonly found in media, such as music, and television. These influences have a major impact on a person’s life. Video games are another form of media that has a major impact on people’s lives when violence is involved.
While there is no way to reduce school shootings to a percent of zero, there are many different ways that the amount of school shootings can be reduced.
The first thing that schools can do is take a close look at student’s behavioral and discipline records. In this situation, academic records are records that you may want to include. All student’s records should be shared with other school who are in the same school district. This is a great way for everyone to be aware of and keep track of the things that are taking place in their community.
Teachers can take charge of their school and make a difference by standing together. Teachers can gather every day or certain days during the week, and discuss concerns they have about their students. With this open line of communication, teachers may be able to intervene before a tragedy occurs and offer help to students who are in need.
To take things a step further, teachers can involve the principal, assistant principal, and resource officers to come together and share their thoughts and concerns.
Schools can have officers on-site at school just in case a situation acts out of hand. This is a great way to prevent terrible situations from happening. Although there will be times when fights and disagreements occur at school, there will be an officer available to handle the situation.
In a school, diversity matters more than many people care to realize. Schools should try to employ staff members who are of various age, gender, and ethnicity. This is the best way to ensure that students have at least one person they feel comfortable talking to. When a student can relate to a staff member, they are less likely to feel singled out and they will become more open and trusting about discussing the things that take place in their lives.
Rules for All
Some schools are known for favoring the rich students or students whose parents contribute financially to the school. If all students are treated equal and everyone is upheld to the rules of the school, there will be less cases of jealousy and resentment among students. Star status should not be a determining factor for the rules in any school.
Getting Out and About
Schools may greatly benefit from having regularly scheduled field trips. When students are not confined to a room, they are more likely to be open to different learning methods and new ideas. From Monday to Friday, students go from class to class, spending a minimum amount of 45 minutes to as long as 90 minutes in one class, then it’s class change, and time to go to the next class. Some students excel in this type of learning environment, but there are many students who need more activities and scenery than the walls that a classroom has to offer. A lot of students want to be active and involved instead of planted in a seat for more than 30 minutes. This type of learning environment causes many students to become frustrated.
Privacy limitations become a concern when parents suspect their child is involved in unacceptable behavior, such as obtaining weapons in their room. When someone goes into a school and opens fire on students and staff, the parents will more than likely be blamed. There are not too many parents that teach and coach their children to grow up and engage in school shootings. How much blame can we place on the parents of a school shooter? Parents can take extra steps to intervene when they believe their child is acting suspicious or the parent believes that their child may be in danger or is capable of endangering others. This is when the privacy limitations should be lifted, and room and locker inspections occur.
Keeping Your Word
Many children and teens do not take their parents serious because they do not follow through with punishments or other forms of discipline. This is a major contributing factor to a child’s train of thoughts and their perception in various situations. If you say you are going to do something, you should always keep your word and follow through with the plans or punishments that you have in mind.
On the other hand, if you tell your child that you are taking a vacation or you will purchase something for them, make sure you follow through on your word. A child or teenager who is constantly let down will have issues in the future with trusting others and having faith in the words that a person speaks. This is yet another contributing factor that causes children, teens, and adults to lose touch with reality.
Protecting a Lie
As a parent, you never want any form of harm to come to your child and you want to keep them safe, and for this reason, many parents lie to keep their child out of trouble. Although you may mean well, everyone needs to understand that actions have consequences. If a child is never held accountable for the things they do, they may have difficulty adjusting to the real world, especially when they become an adult.
Pay Close Attention
As a parent, you need to pay close attention to your child and their activities. Although you cannot be everywhere they are and hold their hand everywhere they go, you need to be involved. Many parents of school shooters were invited to parent teacher meetings and similar events, but never showed up. The parents who did show up were in denial about their child and their child’s behavior. If the school finds it reasonable to speak to you about your child and their actions, it will be in your best interest to listen and pay attention.
Don’t Look the Other Way
A lot of people notice bad things taking place and they keep going on their merry way because it doesn’t involve or affect them. Instead of looking the other way, take the time to notify someone if you think something is wrong. This is one way that many lives can be saved and people can be returned and reunited with their families and loved ones.
There are a few laws in place about owning a gun, but still, anyone can get their hands on one. It’s similar to driving without a license. No one will ever know that you do not have a license until someone spills the beans, you tell on yourself, or you are stopped by the authorities. The same applies for a gun. You cannot look at someone and say, “They look like they have a gun”.
Furthermore, parents have guns for whatever reason, which is not against the law, but a child should never know where the gun is stored, and they should not have easy access to it. Many school shootings have taken place and the weapon used was a parent’s or guardian’s gun.
You will not find too many people that joke about shooting a school. Whether someone states they are joking or kidding around, take all threats seriously. Taking threats seriously can save your life and the lives of others if you take immediate action. Even if the person was playing a cruel joke, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Punishment VS Prevention
Many parents are under the impression that punishing their child will prevent bad things from occurring. This is not always the case. Punishing a child can make them angrier and want to lash out in a more noticeable way. In this instance, punishing a child will make the situation worse and lead to bigger problems. As far as discipline in school is concerned, there is not too much the staff at a school can do to punish a student. Suspension is a common form of punishment in schools today, but this form of punishment gives students ample time to devise a plan of what they want to do and how they may want to attack. In this instance, think about punishment and the prevention of mishaps.
Sources: http://www.stoptheshootings.org/, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/deadly-dreams/?page=3, http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/14/us/connecticut-shooting-reader-suggestions/