More from the "School Shooter" by the FBI
Misinformation About School Shootings
The issue facing educators, law enforcement agencies, and the wider public is not how to
predict school violence. Reliably predicting any type of violence is extremely difficult. Predicting
that an individual who has never acted out violently in the past will do so in the future is still more
difficult. Seeking to predict acts that occur as rarely as school shootings is almost impossible.
Though school shootings are extensively covered in the news media, the information
available in news reports is not necessarily complete, accurate, or balanced. News coverage is
inherently hasty and often relies on sources who themselves have incomplete or inaccurate
information. And journalists ordinarily do not have access to police and other investigative
reports that may contain highly significant but confidential information about a school shooting
incident or about the background, previous activities, and traits of the student or students who
carried out the shooting.
To the extent that academics, researchers, and other specialists writing in professional
publications base their articles on news accounts or other public sources, these too should be
viewed with some reservations since they will also lack critical information available only in
confidential school or law enforcement files.
News coverage magnifies a number of widespread but wrong or unverified impressions of
school shooters. Among them are:
School violence is an epidemic. Unusual or aberrant behaviors, interests, hobbies, etc., are hallmarks of the student
All school shooters are alike.
The school shooter is always a loner.
School shootings are exclusively revenge motivated.
Easy access to weapons is THE most significant risk factor.
destined to become violent.
The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature. ~ James Madison, Father of the Constitution
We do not believe in aggressive or preventive war. Such war is the weapon of dictators, not of free democratic countries like the United States.~ Truman, Sept 1, 1950