28 Jun 2022


School Shootings in the United States

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It is scary to imagine that the greatest High School massacre in the history of the United States was actually a failure . The scary aspect of this massacre is the realization of what could actually happen if another set of perpetrators actually get it right. The failure by Eric David Harris and Dylan Bennet Klebold was purely premised on their own undoing and not security measures. Indeed, had it not been for this undoing, their attempt would have been a resounding success, resulting in the deaths of almost five hundred students. This scary set of facts enhances the need to carefully study high school attacks and their perpetrators so as to ensure that future attempts are thwarted even before they actually take place. To have a careful understanding of high school attacks, three major components are necessary. The first is the psychology of the attacker and what causes a young child to take up a gun and go out to shoot their friends. The second important aspect is the trigger to the attack, which also includes an analysis of the victims, singularly and severally. The last important aspect is the reason why the attacks are successfully carried out, in spite of a multitude of telltale signs. It is the combination of the psychology of the perpetrator, the circumstances of the victim and the reasons for success that the key to curb future attacks lies. 

The Psychology of the Perpetrators 

According to a research carried out by the CNN, high school attacks are a form of a contagious epidemic that begins at one place and spreads out to other institutions. Indeed, up to 30% of all school attacks fall under this epidemic like circumstances (Smart, 2015) . A careful analysis of both the aforesaid epidemic and even the other singular attacks have shown that almost all attackers seek to either imitate or emulate the Columbine High School massacre. This makes the Columbine a kind of ground zero for high school attacks. Therefore, a careful understanding of what informed the said massacre is key to understanding the nature and form of high school attacks in the US and perhaps an avenue to finding out a solution for the same. The Columbine massacre was carried out by Eric David Harris and Dylan Bennet Klebold, two senior students in the aforementioned school (Smart, 2015) . The two students are among the most researched students in America, as investigators and psychologists seek to understand what could have gone wrong. One major conclusion arrived at from the said research was that the two young men did not just wake up one day and decide to blow up the school (Muschert, 2007) . The process that would eventually result in the massacre began in their minds long before they undertook the very first step in the accomplishment thereof. 

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Harris was born on the 9 th day of April 1981, which means that when the massacre occurred on the 20 th day of April 1999, he had just attained the legal age of majority. He was the son of a pilot father and a homemaker mother. His father’s profession meant that he moved a lot as a child and attended various schools. Finally, the family settled at Littleton, Colorado near the fateful school where he enrolled. Available research shows Harris to have been an ordinary child until the time he met, befriended, and paired with Klebold. On his part, Klebold was born on the 11 th day of September 1981 and was, therefore, slightly younger than Harris. He was born to a very religious Lutheran family that also had a Jewish background (Kellner, 2015) . Indeed, the young man was well tutored on the matter of Christian faith as per the dogma of the Lutheran church. Based on a careful analysis of the psychology of the two boys, it is probable that had they not met, the attack might never have happened. It is the unique combination of their two distinct personalities that eventually led to the aforementioned attacks. Harris can be considered as having been a time bomb that had, however, not been primed. Klebold became the timer and the trigger to this time bomb which eventually exploded, leading to the aforementioned massacre. 

An analysis of the psychology of Harris reflects that he had extreme narcissistic tendencies. Harris believed that he was a superior form of the human species and had stated so severally in his blogs. His belief tended towards Lamarck’s theory of evolution that favored survival for the fittest. He believed in the world where a kind of test should be carried out so that the weak, which according to him entailed almost everyone would be eliminated. This would leave only the strong such as himself and perhaps his friend Klebold (Kellner, 2015) . Harris is also defined as a psychopath. At all material times before and during the attack, Harris was completely in charge of his constitution. Anything and everything that he did was out of choice and at no time did he seemingly lose track of himself. Albeit there was much talk of revenge and anger in his journal, made against the school as well as law enforcement officers, a careful analysis of the character of Harris revealed that all these were just excuses (Kellner, 2015) . The intent to cause harm had been within Harris all along. What he needed was just an excuse that he could abuse as a justification so as to express what he had all along wanted to carry out. A mass attack on other humans whom he both hated and considered inferior. His good friend Klebold, provided the aforementioned excuse. 

Klebold, the aforementioned excuse can be considered as more of a victim than a perpetrator in the set of circumstances. The reaction of his mother Susan Klebold when she heard the news of the attacks is evidence of the kind of a background that Klebold had been brought up in. It is reported that as other parents were praying for the safety of their children, Susan was making the exact opposite prayer. She was praying that her son would kill himself before he had any opportunity to harm any other child. This is indicative of the kind of background that the young man had been nurtured in. However, Klebold was highly depressed. Having been born with a slight deformity in his chest, Klebold was the victim of a lot of abuse and bullying throughout his childhood (Bentley, 2012) . He also had a bit of trouble adjusting to school, a fact that exacerbated the situation. The troubled and bullied Klebold met and befriended the psychopath Harris. Within the combination, Harris found a good excuse for his hatred of the world and Klebold found a friend who supported not judged or bullied him. From that moment on, the countdown to the massacre began. 

Another important element in the psychology of the two perpetrators is their ability to live a double life. The two boys were able to let the general world believe they were harmless and even hapless while at the very same time they were extremely dangerous. Indeed, the two even managed to fool sets of professionals who handled their juvenile case when they broke into a van and stole computers. According to available records, when the two, being juveniles were finally caught, they so impressed their investigating officers that the discretion to avoid formal prosecution was employed. Instead, the boys were placed on a probation program that also included an element of anger management. Harris was also placed on antidepressants which will also form an evaluation point herein below. The young men did not even complete the nine months of probationary superintendence as set by the courts (Smart, 2015) . Instead, the probation officers were so impressed by them that they gave them permission to curtail the program a few months early. The good behavior even extended to Harris writing a moving apology letter to the owner of the van that they had broken into. At the very moment when the boys were showing extreme remorse and good conduct to the law enforcement officers, they were also working in preparation for the referenced attack (Kellner, 2015) . Most importantly, at the very same time when Harris wrote an apology letter to the owner of the van they broke into, he also posted on his blog that the van owner was among the weak in the world who deserved to have his computers taken away and also to be shot. It is clear from the above that the boys were neither remorseful nor willing to change. They were, however, so smart at pretending to be that they even fooled two sets of professionals into believing that they were reformed and exemplary young men. 

It is also clear from the research carried out that the two young men were extremely intelligent, committed in their studies, innovative and hard working. Unfortunately, this defines the kind of a student any teacher would want to have. The boys were adept in information technology and even played a part in the school's IT department (Kellner, 2015) . Further, they were able to prepare and host a successful weblog which was later to be very useful during the investigations into the incident. With regard to commitment to their studies, Brooks Brown, an on and off friend to Harris reports that he was very much committed to his studies. Indeed, just before the attacks, Brown had admonished Harris for missing an important class because erstwhile he had always been known to be a very committed student. Their high level of intelligence and innovative capabilities can also be seen in the way they planned the attack and the improvised explosives they made. As they prepared for the attacks, the boys had made several dry runs, using pipe explosives which actually worked (Smart, 2015) . Yet at no time did the boys get any known serious injuries even when they worked with such dangerous items. Indeed, experts indicated that had their bombs actually exploded, they would have killed everyone in the cafeteria. For such young individuals with no formal training on explosives to make such effective weapons is indicative of a much-enhanced level of intelligence and innovative capabilities. 

Another important element that cannot be ignored about the two youths is the love and ardency for computer games. Reports indicate that the two young individuals, more so Harris, were committed computer game players, more so the ultra-violent kind. Not only were they very ardent at playing them but also quite good at them. Harris was so proficient in violent computer games that he would be able to even create higher levels within a game and set them up as a challenge to other players. A lot of research has gone into the subject of violent computer games and perpetration of actual violence in the real world. Violent computer games encourage a lot of aggressive behavior and create the belief that violence is the solution to real life problems. Further, when killing and maiming human beings becomes a game, the actual value of human life becomes devalued in the eyes of the player, thus making it easier to harm others. It can be said that having tendencies that favor violence may have caused the boys to love violent computer games. However, it is also clear that the ardency in playing the games also exacerbated the love for violence in the boys and made it easier for them to be transformed into actual killers. 

Finally, there is the dimension of the antidepressants that had been prescribed to Harris as part of the deal after he was arrested for breaking into a van as aforesaid. As have been indicated above, Harris has always had the potential to be a killer, having been adjudged by forensic psychologists to have been a psychopath. This fact seemed to have been correctly understood by the experts who had handled Harris upon his arrest hence his being placed on Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) antidepressants (Smart, 2015) . Researchers have, however, sought to understand how the use of the SSRIs may have had a contrary impact upon Harris. A careful analysis of the blogs that Harris carefully maintained show that t he inclination to violence was transformed into an actual plan towards violence soon after the aforementioned arrest. Therefore, throughout the plan for the attack, Harris was taking the said antidepressants. This creates a credible hypothesis, supported by experts such as Professor Aubrey Immelman that the drugs may have had an adverse not a positive effect on the young man. The use of antidepressants and other psychiatric pharmacological interventions are also an important subject of evaluation regarding the causation of school attacks by students. 

Another issue that was investigated, more so in popular media was the subject of the kind of music that the young men listened to. In this regard, the interest is twofold and relates to why they would prefer that kind of music as well as the impact the music itself had on the said young men. According to a recovered journal made by Harris, the boys were big fans of the band Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid (KMFDM) (Kellner, 2015) . By lose translation, the German name means “no pity for the majority”. The Band played songs that supported violence such as ‘Wasted’, ‘Son of a Gun’ and others. Further, the boys are also said to love songs by musicians who used violence-laced lyrics such as Marilyn Manson and Eminem. These musicians were the subject of major criticism by the public and media houses for the ultra-violent lyrics about murder, violence and even suicide. The fact that the boys loved these songs clearly pointed to their love for violence (Kellner, 2015) . However, the fact that these great idols got so famous through the propagation of violence must be considered as another element that encouraged the young men to go along with their violent plan and actually carry out an attack. 

The kind of idols that the young men looked up to is also important factors in having an understanding of the typology of a school shooter. The music group KMFDM has been associated with Nazism, a fact that the band denies but is quite evident in their lyrics. Further, close friends of Harris claim that he has a close liking for Nazism and Hitler during the rundown to the actual attack. Indeed, he is continually reported to have made the Nazi salute repeatedly and until it alarmed his friends. According to the recovered journal, when the friends started noticing his love for Nazism, Harris decided to tone it down so as not to raise too much suspicion on his intended plans (Kellner, 2015) . It is, however, very telling that the actual attack took place on the birthday of the most important figurehead for all Nazis, Adolf Hitler. Further, according to the said recovered Journal, Harris, and Klebold were great fans of Timothy McVeigh and ardently studied about his work leading to the Oklahoma Bombing. They also had a major interest in the Waco incident and the gory aspects of the Vietnam War (Smart, 2015) . Association and inclinations towards controversial events and individuals are, therefore, another aspect of the typology of the potential school attacker. 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Harris and Klebold were given a reason, or in the very least, an excuse to hate the world and want to harm other humans. The boys were the subject of extreme bullying at the Columbine High School. The incidents of bullying were so extreme and rampant that there is no way that the school administration, as well as the rest of the school community, would have been aware of it (Ramirez, 2016) . Harris, who considered himself to be god-like as a consequence of his psychopathic nature must have been extremely humiliated to have been the victims of attacks by individuals that he considered as beneath him. This must have enhanced his resolve to carry out the said attack. On the other hand, Klebold never really had the constitution of a killer. However, he was more of a victim of bullying and attacks than even Harris was. As indicated earlier, Klebold had a congenital defect manifested in a depression on his chest. He, therefore, was reluctant to take off his shirt even during gymnastics, a fact that created both speculation and ostracization. Few things can be as depressing as when the victims of bullying have an excuse for self-blame for the said bullying (Bentley, 2012) . This was, however, the predicament that Klebold underwent almost throughout his life. Having a reason to hate the people around them was one of the most impactful reasons for the two boys to finally go through with the said attacks. 

Summary of Typology of a School Shooter 

Many good and perhaps even exemplary students may have at one time or another considered taking a gun and shooting a teacher or fellow students. This is similar so suicide ideation where many individuals have thought about taking their lives (Muschert, 2007) . However, just as with suicide ideation, it is one thing to think about it and another to actually go ahead with it. Another good euphemism for the typology of a school shooter is an air traffic accident. Air travel is among the safest means of transport because it is almost impossible for a singular error, the problem of mishap to bring down a plane. Instead, it is a conjunction between several factors that eventually lead to planes falling out of the sky and therein lies the safety. This is because singular errors, problems, and mishaps can be detected and corrected before they degenerate into an accident causing conjunction (Muschert, 2007) . Similarly, the typology of a school shooter entails a combination of several attributes which by both accident and design combine to create a school shooter. Based on an analysis of the above analyses, it is now possible to develop a credible profile of a school shooter. 

For a start, the school shooter will be of above average intelligence, most probably an exemplary student. This intelligence will also need to be tempered with an element of cunning. The intelligence combined with the cunning will be necessary to effectively plan the actual attacks. Just as Harris and Klebold, most school shooters have been found to be extremely intelligent and have a high potential in school. However, in many cases, this potential may not be realized due to secondary issues. Having a sharp brain that has not been fully utilized academically for a certain reason can be a recipe for the same brain to be used for adverse issues (Muschert, 2007) . For example, Harris was moved from school to school thus denying him the opportunity to excel in spite of his potential. Klebold was continually bullied and attacked thus limiting his capacity to excel in school. Another example, Jeffrey James Weise, who was more deadly than both Harris and Klebold were dogged by so much misfortune that he stood no chance of excelling in life (De, 2005) . An excellent student who is denied an opportunity to excel can be considered as the first sign. 

The second sign is the said student having brushes with the law or school administration. This means that when the student is denied a chance to excel, they have elected to utilize their genius in negative ways. Harris and Klebold had had brushes with the law while Weise was always having an issue with school administration because of indiscipline (De, 2005) . This aspect paints the picture of a troubled intelligent individual. The third component can be considered as having the wrong role model. It takes a lot to move from ideating about murder or suicide to actually undertaking it. Looking up to someone who actually carried out an act of violence against the self or others carries a high capability of motivating an individual to end towards crime. Harris and Klebold looked up to Hitler and McVeigh. Many of the subsequent school shooters have been known to look up to Harry and Klebold. Weise on his part looked up to his father who shot himself in the head during a standoff with law enforcement officers. 

The fifth important factor in the typology of a school shooter is the existence of an active or passive psychological problem. Harris was a diagnosed psychopath who had already been put on medication. Weise had been diagnosed with extreme depression and placed on medication for the same. Klebold was also known to be undergoing an acute depression, mores so due to the bullying, he had undergone. Crossing the bridge from ideation to actually carrying out actual violence, more so for a juvenile will definitely require an element of psychological problems which makes the same a crucial prerequisite in the typology. The sixth typology prerequisite, which is a subject if the extreme debate is the individual being placed on pharmacological psychiatric intervention (Muschert, 2007) . Both Harris and Weise were taking psychiatric drugs. An argument has been made that these drugs had a major contribution to the eventual carrying out of the crimes. It is, however, worthy of notice that this pharmacological intervention factor is not definitive as it is the subject of expert debate. 

The seventh prerequisite in the typology lies in the existence of a warning sign, mainly written either online on in a journal that would clearly warn about the intended shooting. There is an instinct in humans that makes then to detest hurting others. In many cases, these individuals who intend to harm others will leave tell-tale signs of their intended actions which if discovered can lead to the thwarting of the attacks (Muschert, 2007) . Police records will show serial killers who would never have been apprehended had they not left this tell-tale signs. This seemingly self-reporting action may be active or passive but is almost always in existence. Harris, the mastermind of the Columbine High School massacre left behind a journal that reported on the exact manner in which he intended to attack the school. He also left enough information on his journal to create an indication that he envisaged mass violence. Weise on the other part left a lot of warnings on Twitter that he was going to attack his school. Had this warning been found and taken seriously, then the two deadly attacks would have been thwarted. Therefore a little vigilance can make the difference between school shooting ideation and an actual incidence (Muschert, 2007) . 

Computer games are another important commonality amongst school attackers. In this regard, both Harris and Weise were found to have been ardent and excellent players of computer games. It may correctly be argued that many youngsters today are ardent players of violent computer games. However, if this prerequisite is considered alongside the other aforementioned ones, it can form an important pointer. Together with computer games, another important pointer is music with violent lyrics or even a fanatic following for super-violent TV or film characters. This can be a sign of preferences which when considered alongside the other signs can correctly indicate a high potential of a school shooter. Finally, school shooters have a reason for hating the schools that they attack. Harris, Klebold, and Weise, as well as myriad other attackers, have either a genuine or imagined grievance against the school (De, 2005) . 

It must be noted that there can never be a fair justification for appearing in a school with a gun and shooting down fellow students or teachers. The reason for hating the school or even holding a grudge against operates as an excuse for committing the atrocity. These excuses may include bullying, having been penalized for disciplinary issues and others. Thomas Michael "T. J." Lane III for example shot at students at the Chardon High School whom he felt was more privileged than him. Lane had been relegated to Lake Academy, a nearby alternative school which took the semblance of an approved school (Caniglia, 2014) . This nine factors will appear in different variations and versions amongst students who have a high potential for becoming school shooters. Understanding and investigating them can enable the thwarting of school shootings, the saving of countless lives and the avoidance of serious physical and psychological trauma. The detection of these signs is, however, an onerous task and will take the combined efforts of experts, teachers, parents as well as fellow students. 

Typology of the Victims 

This may perhaps be a difficult but important aspect of the analysis as it is neither easy, nor politic to vilify those who are suffering. It would, however, be important to point out that from the perspective of the perpetrators, the victims are not necessarily the few individuals who die or get maimed in the actual attacks. In a way, even the intended targets who escape are also victims of the attack. For example, in the Columbine High School massacre, there were 15 fatalities and 24 injuries (Miller, 2016) . However, all these fatalities came from a contingency that Harris and Klebold undertook after the main attack failed. Had the main attack succeeded the casualties would have been over five hundred in number. These are the actual victims being factored in this analysis, not just those who died. As impolitic as it may sound, in a majority of school shootings, the victims of a section thereof share some element of blame for the said shootings. In the event where the victims share no blame, such as in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the perpetrator will have an excuse, justifiable or not for blaming the victims for something (Miller, 2016) . This is the reason why attackers will bypass very many potential victims on their way to orchestrate school shootings. Similarly, Harris, as aforesaid warned his friend Brown to leave the school compound before setting the bombs. In his mind, Harris was sending the seemingly innocent Brown away, before moving to punish the rest of the school community, whom he considered as guilty. 

As aforesaid, there was an element of guilt within the Columbine High School which albeit does not justify what took place is essentially important to create an ability to thwart future attempts. It is worthy of notice that the plan by Harris and Klebold was geared towards indiscriminate killing through bombs meaning they blamed the entire school fraternity including students and teachers. A careful analysis of the reports kindred to the Columbine attack will reflect a reason why the two attackers would consider the school as universally guilty. Harris and Klebold had been the victims of several bullying attacks. There is, however, one example that clearly shows that each and every person in the school compound as well as any other stakeholder must have known about the bullying but elected to turn a blind eye (Bentley, 2012) . Harris and Klebold were confronted by several students and sprayed with ketchup as other students and teachers watched. 

The two boys, perhaps in a show of defiance or cry for help did not get a change of clothes but spent the rest of their school day drenched in the red substance. Anyone in the school must either have seen the same or at the very least heard about it. It is for this reason that the two boys considered the entire school guilty and wanted to kill them indiscriminately using bombs. Weise, on the other hand, had both friends and foes at his school. He carried a set of guns, not explosives during his attack. This creates an indication that he intended to be selective in his attack. Investigation reports reveal that Weise had been the victim of a lot of bullying at his school (De, 2005) . However, he also had a few friends, more so members of the opposite sex with whom he was quite close. Thomas Michael "T. J." Lane III, when he attacked Lane Academy shot at a hall full of students and members of staff but seemed to be targeting a specific table. 

It is important to restate that it is really unfair to be seemed to blame victims of a heinous attack for its having taken place. However, when seeking for a solution, it is vital to look at all the angles. For examp1le, there is no doubt that had the decision by the Columbine High School community to ignore brazen and reprehensible acts of bullying almost cost the death of hundred and students and contributed to the actual deaths of 15 students (Bentley, 2012) . Similarly, ignoring acts of bullying caused the deaths of a teacher and several students at the Red Lake Senior High School. A very unkind epithet can justifiably be used against the perpetrators. Further, had they been alive, they would deserve the harshest sentences available to the law. However, the dead students and teachers would still remain dead. As has been said before the dead are not interested in political correctness as they only know one thing, that it is better to be alive. Avoidance of situations and scenarios where a school shooting ideates may feel justified or even be given an excuse to carry out such attacks must be avoided at all cost. This includes ensuring strict discipline in schools, complete with the avoidance of any form of bullying (Ramirez, 2016) . Fairness should also be done and seemed to be done to all students and at all times. This will avoid the painful scenario where an analysis of a school shooting will reflect an element of justification or excuse based on the character or conduct of a section of the victims. 

Situational Circumstances 

The instant subject may seem misleading since the aforementioned parts seem also to cover myriad situations and circumstances that allow for school shootings. This segment, however, covers aspects that are secondary to both the perpetrators and the victims of the school attacks who have been canvassed herein above. Three important aspects shall be canvassed herein due to their nature which is critical to the subject. These are the availability of weapons, the right to privacy and the security state of the schools. 

Availability of Weapons 

It has been said that it is people, not weapons that kill people. However, it can be argued that in one of the biggest attacks ever perpetrated in an American school, guns did literally kill people (Kellner, 2015;Christensen, 2016) . On the 14 th day of December 2012 Adam Lanza, a twenty-year-old mentally unstable man entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School carrying inter alia a Bushmaster XM-15assault riffle. Within a very short time, 20 little children and six adults lay dead (Vogel et al, 2012) . Soon thereafter, Lanza shot himself in the head thus taking his life. It was later revealed that the first victim of the massacre was Lanza’s mother Nancy Lanza who is the epitome of focus for this segment. Like most Americans, Nancy was a believer in the second amendment and jealously defended the right of every American to bear arms. She, therefore, kept several assault rifles and handguns in her house (Vogel et al, 2012) . Her children, including Adam, were well trained in the handling of guns and she would regularly take them to a shooting yard to enable them to hone their skills. 

Unfortunately, Adam had been struggling with several psychiatric conditions and had been placed on several pharmacological treatment regimens to no avail. On a fateful day , Adam picked the aforementioned assault rifle and a handgun, shot his mother, 20 children and six of their handlers as well as himself. No motive has ever been established for the said shootings at all (Vogel et al, 2012) . Yet, 20 little innocent children, remain dead. 7 other productive members of the society also died and a mental patient succumbed to his ailment through the taking of his life. In this and several similar instances, the availability of a gun to a person who was not in any way qualified to have one clearly killed people (Christensen, 2016) . In all fairness, Nancy no longer knows that every American has a right to own a gun. All that she knows today, just as the 27 other victims it that it is better to be alive. In America, it is considered as unpatriotic to even venture into the subject of gun control (Elsass et al, 2016) . In some instances, this would be justified. For example, Weise took his grandfather’s government issues guns to attack his school with. However, in a majority of case, it is the right to hold assault rifles that make the difference between life and death in school shootings (Sheth, 2016) . Klebold, for example, had an Intratec TEC-9 semi-automatic pistol, a weapon that should never have been available for a juvenile to use. As aforesaid, Adam had a Bushmaster XM-15assault, which is a very powerful and lethal weapon. This high caliber weapons and the access to any guns and ammunition should and must be regulated. The right to life, more so for little children supersedes the right to bear arms (Kellner, 2015 ; Sheth, 2016) 

The Right to Privacy 

This is another very controversial subject in America where citizens hold the belief that the right to privacy is a near absolute fundamental right. In recent times, these rights have been extended to the use of electronic gadgets such as phones and computers. Further, the right has also been extended to juveniles of an increasingly reducing age. Susan Klebold is reported to have prayed for the death of her own son through suicide if only to stop him from hurting other children (Palermo, 2014) . That painful move is evidence that with some hindsight, a parent would be willing to do anything to stop their children from harming other children through a school shooting attack. However, barriers have been placed in the paths of parents at every turn through informal policy and customary beliefs about the privacy of children, more so teenagers (Elsass et al, 2016) . This should not be misconstrued as an advocacy for the complete alienation of the right to privacy for all children. However, even the adults do not have an absolute right to privacy. Whenever there is a probable cause, the law will allow the privacy of an individual to be violated. Similarly, the rules of probable cause must be applied to juveniles too (Palermo, 2014) . As long as a juvenile is seemed to be following the proverbial straight and narrow path, their privacy can be respected. However, as indicated above, there is a long journey from shooting ideation to actually carrying out the act. Whenever a parent detects one or two indicators, the right to privacy must be alienated, even if it means searching a child’s room in their absence and leaving no trails of the same. The parents of Harris and Klebold lost their sons and spent all their savings in lawsuits in the aftermath of their shooting (Palermo, 2014) . This is over and above the deaths of fifteen children and the maiming of scores of others. If a little indiscretion and breach of privacy could have avoided all that, so be it. 

School Security 

This is also a controversial and important subject, more so from the perspective of cost. There are over thirty-five thousand high schools in the US and tens of thousands of elementary schools. Establishing proper security measures for these institutions can, therefore, be a harrowing task (Etehad, 2017) . However, based on the increased number of school attacks in recent years, enhancement of security in schools is paramount. A good start would be to ensure that no one is allowed to bring a gun into the school compound. Then each and every school should select members of the teaching and non-teaching staff to be vetted and trained on defense and weaponry. After their training, weapons should be made readily available to these individuals for use as and when the need arises. This can be achieved by having a safe or armory within the school compound to be accessible as and when the need arises. This step will discourage aspiring attackers and at the same time enable extenuation of circumstances in the event an attack actually happens. Finally, an investment in gun detection technology can be made at the entrance of every school compound (Sheth, 2016) . This will ensure that guns are not smuggled into schools. Further, in the case a forceful entry with a gun is made, the system will trigger the aforementioned internal defense mechanism in good time. 


The main focus in the instant essay has been the important subject of the typology of school shooters based on the criteria of what causes them to attack. The topic was mainly focused on what moves a potential school shooter from ideation about a school attack to actually attacking. It is clear from the analysis that the shift involves a complex psychological journey that leaves tell-tale signs which are followed can enable the thwarting on an attack. Among these signs include psychological issues, the leaving of trails on social media and having a troubled lifestyle that involves a problem with authorities. Secondary factors have also be canvassed and found to be pertinent. This includes the victim’s proviso to the attacker of an excuse to attack. The availability of assault weapons, overemphasis on privacy and lax security in schools was also seen as part of the problem. 


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