What Do School Shootings Say About Society

The fear that surrounds our youths

Nothing and no one is more vital than our society’s children. Because of this, school shootings are an alarming concern in the media and communities around the U.S. People with and without kids feel pain for the victims and their families. Fear of what the future holds maintains an icy grip on people trying to make the best decisions for their kids.

It’s terrifying to think that students can be gunned down on any given day while simply going about their day at school. Everyone is frantic for a solution, but there are so many factors involved that leaders have had a tough time coming up with a consensus that works and is agreeable to everyone.

Various groups show tremendous concern that their basic civil liberties; including gun rights, internet freedoms, and others are at risk.  People of all beliefs are very passionate and devoted to their own value systems.

There is a lack of listening to others and respectful interactions on all sides due to an almost need for self-preservation and validation from each individual party. Fear turns into hostility in these modern times of instant communication.

School shootings have occurred sporadically since the 1800’s. They have come into the forefront of the media with the increased death counts and use of a variety of weapon types. With increased exposure in the media, there is more fear both for those who have experienced the horror, and for those who wonder what school will be next.

The fear increases distrust and the likelihood of opposing political factions to be at each other’s throats. This isn’t conducive to cooperative behavior. It’s discussed on forums, political debates, talk radio and social media. People ask why it’s happening and what can be done about it.

Many people believe they know what needs to be done. 

What are the facts about those who commit these acts?

There are certain facts that are indisputable. These include the type of teenagers committing these acts as well as their experiences and behaviors. The environment which they grew up in is easily documented.

Common factors underlying many of the shooters are family dysfunction, isolation, mental illness, and having been targeted by bullying of some kind. It’s been said they lacked emotional closeness in their sparse relationships and seemed to have little to no empathy.

Lack of acceptance and hostile behavior by peers is often the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Bullying is a behavior that has always existed, but increasingly so in industrialized society. Personal responsibility is not taught as consistently in the home as it once was.

Social media gives a forum for people to verbally attack others more viciously than they might in person. Cyber-bullying happens when teenagers join in on marginalizing those who don’t fit in.

This lack of human kindness leading to alienation can be an explosive combination for a young person who may feel zero commonality with his fellow human being.

People are asking, who is responsible for bullying and what can be done?

The violent acts themselves have been blamed by some firstly on the accessibility to guns, coupled with mental illness, medication, isolation, violent video games, and social media.

One thing for sure is that now, more than ever, these troubled teens have access to whatever internet ideology they believe justifies their actions. Ideologies of hate and violence abound.

Lack of connection with others can be caused by overuse of the internet. The skills necessary for a troubled person to feel positive emotions for others are diminished by spending time communicating solely on social media. Yet the internet can be an incredibly positive thing.

Does the problem of school shootings reflect on troubled individuals and society as a whole, more than any one factor?


This post was written by Christie Davis for The Gravitas Manuscript Blog; a forum for readers to share ideas, comments, concerns, and possible solutions to any questions the post may present. Please contribute by becoming involved in the discussion (You may also acquire the Gravitas Manuscript and begin a journey toward learning problem solving techniques to aid yourself and your environment). We would love to hear what you think!