Making Sense of School Shootings

Friday, May 18, 2018
Today, May 18, the mass school shooting hit close to Houston. It’s too early for us to understand the shooter’s motive or mental health. It is important to remember that less than 5% of persons with mental illness are violent and that people with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violence than the perpetrators.
Sadly, school shootings and mass shootings are becoming more common, and they affect an entire community.  
No matter the reasoning behind the Sante Fe, Texas, H.S. shooting, we as a community can be vigilant about potential copycat behavior. With summer school breaks approaching, there could be additional threats.
Research by Raitanen and Okasnen* (2018) found those expressing deep interest in school shootings form a global online subculture, which may be influenced by media accounts of school shootings. They often research on the Internet, may have been bullied or relate their own life circumstances to other school shooters.
Adults and students who may know of a student or school at risk should contact law enforcement.
*Source: Jenni Raitanen and Atte Oksanen, “Global Online Subculture Surrounding School Shootings,” American Behavioral Scientist (2018) 1-15.