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Author(s) Ferguson, Christopher J.
Coulson, Mark
Barnett, Jane
Year 2011
Title Psychological Profiles of School Shooters: Positive Directions and One Big Wrong Turn
Published in Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations, Vol. 11, No. 2
Pages 1–17
DOI 10.1080/15332586.2011.581523
Link [1]
Abstract A wave of school shootings in the mid- to late 1990s led to great interest in attempts to “profile” school shooters with an eye both on identifying imminent perpetrators and preventing further incidents. Given that school shootings are generally rare, and many perpetrators are killed during their crimes, the availability of school shooters for research is obviously limited. Not surprisingly, initial profiles of school shooters were arguably of limited value. Although school shooting incidents, particularly by minors, have declined, some evidence has emerged to elucidate the psychological elements of school shooting incidents. School shooting incidents may follow extreme versions of etiological pathways seen for less extreme youth violence, and youthful school shooters appear more similar than different to adult perpetrators of mass shootings. The quest to understanding school shootings has led to several wrong turns, most notably the quixotic desire by politicians, advocates, and some scholars to link both school shootings and less extreme youth violence to playing violent video games, despite considerable and increasing evidence to the contrary.
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