This article presents factors that appear to contribute to school shootings across the three domains of biological, psychological, and social influences. The article first appeared in The Journal of Campus Behavioral Intervention, 2017, Vol. 5, pp. 27-34. It is used here with permission.
This article is by Dr. Brian Van Brunt and was originially published in the Journal of Campus Behavioral Intervention, (2013), 111–151. It is reprinted with permission of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA). The article compares three potential perpetrators of violence across four assessment tools: the Workplace Assessment of Violence Risk (WAVR-21), the Structured Interview of Violence Risk Assessment (SIVRA-35), the NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool, and History, Clinical, Risk (HCR-20) version 3.
This article presents evidence of influence from one perpetrator to another. It also highlights the desire for fame as a motivation for some shooters. The article first appeared in American Behavioral Scientist and is used here with permission. For more information on the issue of influence among school shooters, see the document “Role Models, Contagions, and Copycats: An Exploration of the Influence of Prior Killers on Subsequent Attacks.”
This is an article by Adam Lankford and Eric Madfis containing recommendations for media coverage of mass shootings. The article first appeared in American Behavioral Scientist. It is posted here with the authors’ permission.
This article explores the motivations of ideological killers by investigating their justifications for violence. These justifications are divided into three categories: those that are grounded in actual social/political realities that are present in the lives of the perpetrators; those that utilize geographically and/or temporally distant vicarious victimizations; and those that are fictional, i.e., they have no basis in reality. These concepts are illustrated through discussions of a range of perpetrators of ideological violence. The implications of vicarious and fictional motivations are discussed in terms of our understanding of the psychology of perpetrators, the process of radicalization, and counterterrorism efforts.
This study examined 64 school shooters who committed multi-victim attacks in the United States during the years 1966 through 2015. Results include demographic analysis of age, venues of attack, racial/ethnic identity, magnitude of attacks, and frequency of perpetrator suicide. Data is provided for the sample as a whole, as well as for different time periods to highlight trends over time. Notable results include numerous changes in post-Columbine attacks, including greater age range of perpetrators, more perpetrators who are not white males, increased fatalities, and increased suicide rates. The article was published in the Journal of Campus Behavioral Intervention (J-BIT) 4 (2016) 5–17, and was awarded the Innovation in Research and Publication Award from the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association. It is reprinted here with permission of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA).
This document presents data on how 48 school shootings ended, whether with police intervention, civilian intervention, or perpetrator suicide. It also looks at other aspects of school shootings that can inform first responders on what they might encounter when they arrive at the scene.
This article explores the idea that prescription drugs, in particular antidepressants (SSRIs, such as Prozac) and stimulants (such as Ritalin), cause school shootings. See also the companion document “Tally of Shooters’ Use of Psychiatric Medications and Substance Abuse.”
School shooters sometimes quote previous shooters in their online posts and homework assignments. This article, originally published in Campus Safety magazine, presents examples of such insider references, which may point to the intention to commit a shooting. For a glossary of insider references, see the companion document “A Guide to Insider References Used by School Shooters and Other Attackers.”
This article was originally published in the Journal of Campus Behavioral Intervention, 1 (2013), 6-39. It is reprinted here with permission of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA).
This article was published in the winter–spring 2012 edition of Forensic Digest, and is reprinted with permission.
This article originally appeared in the Journal of Health Service Psychology, 2017 (spring), vol. 43, pp. 32–40. It is posted here with permission.
This article examines how frequently school shooters were bullied, as well as how frequently they bullied others. It presents data on how often shooters targeted bullies compared to targeting rivals, family members, girls/women, and school personnel. It also examines bullying across the three psychological types of perpetrators and the three populations of shooters.
This is an excerpt from Chapter 8, “What Can Be Done to Prevent School Shootings,” in Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters.
The VRAW2 is a newly created instrument by Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D., used to assess e-mails, letters, or creative writing that contain direct threats or violent themes of concern. The article reviews the five factors and corresponding sub-factors used to assess the potential for threat. Scoring considerations and case examples are provided to illustrate how to score each of the sub-factors informing the overall factors. The VRAW2 is then discussed in context of the NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool and the Structured Interview for Violence Risk Assessment (SIVRA-35). This article originally appeared in the Journal of Campus Behavioral Intervention, 3 (2015), 12-25. It is reprinted with permission from the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA).