Gun culture and frequency of school shootings


Currently listening to “Why Kids Kill, inside the minds of school shooters” by Peter Langman. Here’s an interesting quote that, once I heard it, was completely obvious, but it’s very different than the way this is usually presented. This might be a useful reference for anyone in conversation with friends or family about the impact of the availability of guns and the gun culture on the incidence of school shootings.

“…we need to go beyond the soundbite to get a more nuanced look at the factors that are often cited as contributing to school shootings. … Some of the explanations that have been offered are based on faulty information … For example, an oft-cited example in school shootings is the availability of guns, or what is sometimes referred to as the American Gun Culture. Numerous writers have looked at the geography of where school shootings have occurred and attempted to connect the extent of gun ownership, or the attitudes towards gun control in a region, and the occurrence of school shootings. … The availability of guns, however, does not explain school shootings. In fact, when shootings occur in areas where gun ownership is common, the misuse of firearms should be seen as particularly unusual. If every teenager owns or has easy access to guns and virtually none of them commits murder, school shooters are clearly aberrations. Their acts cannot be blamed on the culture because the acts themselves are contrary to the prevalent social norm of law-abiding use of firearms.”

If you have an interest in learning about or preventing school shootings (since prevention is the first and best goal of CC) you may find the debunking of several other popular soundbite myths quite eye-opening - myths about cause including “loner” personalities and side-effects of mood-altering medications. It’s hard to fix, or prevent, a thing if you misunderstand the cause. Lots of unexpected information in this book.


It’s sad that the media is leading society to blame guns as the root cause of mass shootings. It really is blaming a tool in place of a problem. Unfortunately, guns are easy to blame, especially when a reporter and network have to come up with a compelling story very quickly in order to hold their viewers and get the best ratings. Investigating the root cause of the problem in any particular case would take a lot of time and would vary from case to case and wouldn’t give that one answer that allows them to vilify guns. To get to the root cause of a mass shooting, or any malicious shooting, would mean acknowledging that there are a lot of very real societal problems that are also very unpopular to confront publicly because our society accepts them. The same media that is blaming guns is the same media that is making a lot of money promoting some of the societal problems that may actually be the root cause of the shootings. I’m trying not to be too political with this. My main point is that guns are the scapegoat, not the problem.


Absolutely. The media, and anti-gun people are hung up in the tool that was used, when it’s a gun. What caused T McVeigh to fill a truck with fertilizer and diesel fuel, and blow up a federal building? What caused a muslim man to throw a small child over a rail at a shopping mall? What causes all of these evil deeds. It’s not problem with objects. It’s a problem of the heart and mind.


I agree, @Trmptr64. It’s easier to lay blame than to address the real issue - which is not easily defined or remedied.