School Shootings: A Perspective

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15111438

    "Here are 10 myths about school shootings, compiled by MSNBC.com from a 2002 study by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education. The researchers studied case files and other primary sources for 37 attacks by current or former students, and also interviewed 10 of the perpetrators.

    Myth No. 1. “He didn’t fit the profile.”

    In fact, there is no profile. “There is no accurate or useful ‘profile’ of students who engaged in targeted school violence,” the researchers found.

    The stereotypes of teens in Goth makeup or other types of dress are not useful in preventing attacks. Just as in other areas of security -- workplace violence, airplane hijacking, even presidential assassination -- too many innocent students will fit any profile you can come up with, and too many attackers will not.

    “The demographic, personality, school history, and social characteristics of the attackers varied substantially,” the report said. Attackers were of all races and family situations, with academic achievement ranging from failing to excellent.

    Most, but not all, have been male, though that fact alone doesn't help an adult rule in or out someone as dangerous.

    Myth No. 2. “He just snapped.”

    Rarely were incidents of school violence sudden, impulsive acts. Attackers do not “just snap,” but progress from forming an idea, to planning an attack, to gathering weapons. This process can happen quickly, but sometimes the planning or gathering weapons are discoverable.

    Myth No. 3. “No one knew.”

    Before most of the attacks, someone else knew about the idea or the plan. "In most cases, those who knew were other kids: friends, schoolmates, siblings and others. However, this information rarely made its way to an adult." Most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused concern or indicated a need for help.

    Myth No. 4. “He hadn’t threatened anyone.”

    Too much emphasis is placed on threats. Most attackers did not threaten, and most threateners did not attack. A child who talks of bringing a gun to school, or seeking revenge on teachers or classmates, poses a threat, whether or not a threat is made.

    Myth No. 5. “He was a loner.”

    In many cases, students were considered in the mainstream of the student population and were active in sports, school clubs or other activities.

    Only one-quarter of the students hung out with a group of students considered to be part of a “fringe group.”

    Myth No. 6. “He was crazy.”

    Only one-third of the attackers had ever been seen by a mental health professional, and only one-fifth had been diagnosed with a mental disorder. Substance abuse problems were also not prevalent. “However, most attackers showed some history of suicidal attempts or thoughts, or a history of feeling extreme depression or desperation.” Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures.

    Myth No. 7. “If only we’d had a SWAT team or metal detectors.”

    Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were over well before a SWAT team could have arrived. Metal detectors have not deterred students who were committed to killing themselves and others.

    Myth No. 8. “He’d never touched a gun.”

    Most attackers had access to weapons, and had used them prior to the attack. Most of the attackers acquired their guns from home.

    Myth No. 9. “We did everything we could to help him.”

    "Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others prior to the attack," and said they had tried without success to get someone to intervene. Administrators and teachers were targeted in more than half the incidents.

    Myth No. 10. “School violence is rampant.”

    It may seem so, with media attention focused on a spate of school shootings. In fact, school shootings are extremely rare. Even including the more common violence that is gang-related or dispute-related, only 12 to 20 homicides a year occur in the 100,000 schools in the U.S. In general, school assaults and other violence have dropped by nearly half in the past decade.

    © 2006 MSNBC Interactive"

    Take note of Myth #8 about the most common source, insofar as laws...

    'Rat
     
  2. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #2
    Lots of "most", "many", "some" qualifiers. I'm not outright doubting the conclusions but I'm really leary when people don't use numbers. Is most 90% or 50%?

    Aren't the most tragic accidents usually the result of a child having access to guns?
     
  3. thedude110 macrumors 68020

    thedude110

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    #3
    Number 6 is spot on in its contradictions. We need more school psychologists or smaller classes. Or, if we're being idealists, both.

    Number 9 pisses me off. There are a lot of teachers who don't care. There are a lot of teachers who do care. And there are plenty of teachers in every school doing everything they can to help each kid. Sometimes it's not enough -- but there's no lack of trying. The phrase "we could" is the limiting factor -- there's not enough time in any teacher's day to give each kid the attention they deserve.
     
  4. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #4
    Rat, does this mean that you now concur that easy access to gun is part of the problem and guns should be more regulated?
     
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #5
    Don't count on it. Knowing 'Rat, he means that laws restricting sales to law-abiding adults would do nothing to stop school shootings.

    Laws requiring safe storage of weapons would seem like a good idea to me, but how do you enforce that other than after the fact?
     
  6. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #6
    well, for starters it would eliminate one-third of them (assuming that all others family weapons were legally owned by law-abiding adults).

    still the problem appears to be that guns are too easily accessed and these kids where too 'familiar' with them, reinforcing the 'less guns->less shooting" position.
    And having the owners of the gun used legally responsible for their use by others, especially minors, would go a long way in reducing their numbers or assuring proper storage.
     
  7. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #7
    And the childish handling of them, also. This one just last Saturday involved a deputy sherrif. Accidentally shot and killed himself while guests at his birthday part looked on in horror.
     
  8. dsnort macrumors 68000

    dsnort

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    #8
    Which just goes to show that too many people don't recognise that a gun is not a toy, or a plaything. It is a remote drill that will make a hole in whatever object is in front of it when the trigger is pulled. And it lacks any capacity for making judgements on the relative value of that object.

    It seems we have become a nation of people who cannot be trusted with dangerous implements.
     
  9. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Don't panic, the point is that no law can prevent such tragedies.

    Once a kid reaches the "age of hacksaw", none of these ideas about gun locks or key-locked cabinets/safes can do much good. Kids will always find the key to whatever is of interest. "That's what kids do!"

    I don't have any kids around the house, nowadays; my son is 43. But all my firearms are locked in an 800-pound steel closet as protection against theft. The cost of the safe is less than the cost of a decent firearm.

    Ugg, I've always figured "most" is over half. :) And, after all, the deal is people, and there's no such thing as one size fits all. The point of the list is that a lot of what "everybody knows" isn't so. Myth #10 shows that...

    'Rat
     
  10. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #10
    Today I heard that the Amish leaders were doing all they could to help the families
    of the victims, but they were also trying to figure out what they could do
    to help the wife and children of the shooter because in their eyes,
    they are victims too.

    It's rare to hear of this manner of kindness from a community shattered by such a horrible tragedy.
     
  11. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #11
    Agreed.

    FOX News was also reporting this morning that the Westboro Baptist Church is planning on protesting at the funerals. No, I'm not kidding. My first thought was, "Where's a crazed gunman when you need one?"
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    You're telling me you can access your safe with a hacksaw???

    Short of an oxy-acetylene torch, very little should be able to penetrate a decent quality safe in anything under several hours while still rendering the contents usable. (You think you used enough dynamite there, Butch? :) ) At least by anyone short of a professional safecracker.
     
  13. Queso macrumors G4

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    #13
    Any society that advocates the widespread ownership of firearms has to accept that these events will inevitably happen. Every child that dies due to one of these attacks is a murder that could have been prevented.
     
  14. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    Denver
    #14
    That's not true, Canada has just as many firearms per capita as the US, but a much lower rate of violence involving those firearms as well. I think Austria mandates that every house have a gun in it for defense purposes. Again, not nearly as many firearms deaths.

    The difference is in having a culture that engenders respect of your fellow people and respect of firearms and their potential damage. I'm sure 'Rat impressed upon his son that he should not screw around with the guns in the house, and everythig turned out fine. In other households, with less vigilent or caring parents, sometimes things turns out poorly.

    Sorry, off my soapbox now.
     
  15. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    mac, have you ever visited anybody who had one of these "decorator" gun cabinets? Of wood, and commonly with glass in the doors so you could see all the pretties? I cringe every time I see one of these "burglar's delight" deals.

    You've maybe seen thes trigger-lock deals that sorta clamp around the trigger guard, with a keylock? Some kid takes one, chucks it into a vice, grabs a hacksaw. Next: Cut the front of the trigger guard, bend with pliers, remove lock, trim off or bend back the guard and he's ready for "Bangity, bangity."

    If there is any upside at all, it derives from Myth #10. 300 million people; 100,000 schools, and only 12 to 20 such events per year. Parents aren't doing as lousy a job as a lot of folks think. We lose a helluva lot more of this young age group to car wrecks...

    'Rat
     
  16. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #16
    Sure, I've seen 'em. I thought we were talking about gun safes. A decent gun safe will keep kids and guns seperate. If you leave the keys laying around, it's the same as leaving the guns laying around in my book.

    Trigger locks are only minimally effective, and as for showcasing the goodies -- that's just asking for trouble. Only non-operable weapons should be displayed IMHO. Only problem is, how do you make a sword non-operable? :p
     
  17. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Ever seen a Filipino short sword called a "Barong"? I bought one in Manila in 1950. The blade is about twenty inches long and about three inches at its widest. Sorta palm-leaf shaped. Maybe 1/4" thick along the back until the taper toward the point.

    The briar-root grip has just enough curve for stabbing; a full swing would probably take a head off. Halfway-off, anyhow.

    The only for-real kris I ever saw for sale was beyond the reach of a kid's billfold...

    Up in northern Luzon in the Igorot country around Baguio, the natives were forbidden to carry spears. So, not being eat up with the stupids, they merely carry short, two-edged bolos whose handles are like the haft of a garden hoe or rake. And, a walking stick that just happens to have a tapered end. :D Insert Tab A into Slot B and have fun.

    'Rat
     

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