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5 Reasons Kids Become School Shooters

When you’re talking about what most people think of as “school shootings” as compared to, say, some gangbanger shooting at another gangbanger in the school parking lot, the first thing to keep in mind is that you’re talking about an extraordinarily rare event in a nation of 325 million people. Keep in mind that fewer than 1,100 people have died in all mass shootings in America from 1966 to the present. Mass shootings in the United States on the whole average out to about 21 people a year killed and contrary to what you may hear in the news, kids are more likely to die on their bikes or in a pool than in a school shooting. In fact, from 1764 to the present, there appear to have only been 26 school shootings where four or more people died. However, of those 26 shootings, 17 appear to have happened in the last 20 years. So, it is fair to say that the trend seems to be accelerating.

Here are some of the large cultural forces that have changed over the last few decades that may be leading unhappy, bullied kids at the fringes to try to kill people at their schools.

1. School Shootings Made Cooler to Some Kids by Columbine

Malcolm Gladwell adapted a theory of how riots begin to come up with one of the most frightening ideas about why we’re starting to see more school shootings. Columbine made such an enormous splash on the American consciousness that it has spawned imitators and the publicity given to each imitator makes more imitators more likely. The “Trench Coat Mafia,” the manifesto, the idea that bullied kids would strike back at their tormentors and be forever remembered – to some kids on the fringes, that looks cool and appealing. Every time we have another shooter who leads the news for days and whose name trends on Twitter, the more kids on the fringes notice and wonder what it would be like to try that.