Among the many crimes existent in society, one of the most observed crimes are incidents of school shootings. Eric Madfis, a doctoral candidate in Northeastern University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, was interviewed and asked about his observations in examining school shootings. He discussed the latest tragedy in Ohio and suggested a few ideas which could help to prevent these crimes.
A teenager was accused of killing three high school students after he opened fire at high school in Ohio. Madfis worked with Jack Levin (crime expert and professor) to complete his research on school shootings.
When Madfis was asked if any observable pattern existed across school shootings, he said that the majority of homicides occurred in the urban areas with the minority as victims and offenders. However, shootings where multiple victims were killed mostly occurred in suburban or rural areas with white offenders and victims. These shooters dwell from various social situations like familial circumstances, experiences of bullying, frustration, etc.
Madfis states many possible reasons behind such crimes. Firstly, they can be on a personal level, where depression, various personality disorders, and mental concerns would play major roles in committing crimes. At the micro-social level, negative and frustrating relationships with peers and family members, romantic interest, and authority figures would compel the person to think of revenge. And one also cannot ignore the widespread use and easy access to guns and ammunition which reinforce violent situations.
The way to prevent these crimes is not by enhancing security measures but by keeping the system alert by having prior information about the crimes planned. It is more important for the students and the faculty members to speak up about the threats made by their peers. Anti-bullying programs can help students to cope with the trials instead of making and indirectly forcing them to react violently.