Ceremonial Violence: A Psychological Explanation of School Shootings
Author(s) Johnathan Fast
Alternate title(s) Ceremonial Violence: Understanding Columbine and Other School Rampage Shootings
Published 2008
Publisher The Overlook Press
Pages 336
ISBN 9781590200476

Ceremonial Violence: A Psychological Explanation of School Shootings is a book by Johnathan Fast, published by The Overlook Press in 2008.


Ceremonial Violence analyzes the Columbine high school shooting and four other cases and explains for the first time why teenagers commit school rampage shootings. These cases include: Brenda Spencer, 16, who after shooting at elementary school children for no apparent reason explained to a reporter: "I hate Mondays." Wayne Lo, 18, a brilliant Taiwanese student and violin prodigy who embraced white supremacist rhetoric. One night he stalked the campus of Simon's Rock College with a semi-automatic rifle picking victims at random. Evan Ramsey, 16, who went on a shooting rampage in Anchorage, alerting some twenty-five friends beforehand so they could observe the mayhem. Luke Woodham, 17, who claimed to have been controlled by demons when he killed his classmates.

In addition to these cases, Fast provides a detailed, clear narrative of the Columbine shootings. With his grasp of the elements of abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, sociology, and neurology that contribute to the homicidal mindset, Fast offers us a means of understanding and coming to terms with these tragedies.


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