Why Does America Lead the World in School Shootings?

Many people are talking about gun control. But White House spokesman Jay Carney isn’t joining in for now:

I think it’s important on a day like today to view this as I know the president, as a father does and I as a father and others who are parents certainly do, which is to feel enormous sympathy for families that are affected and to do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement and support those who are enduring what appears to be a very tragic event.  There is, I’m sure, will be, rather, a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates but I don’t think today is that day.

It’s horrible to imagine, but there exists a plethora of literature and opinion and debate on school shootings. Here are a few informed thoughts by Dr. Frank Ochberg, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Michigan State University and former Associate Director of the National Institute of Mental Health:

School shootings are far more frequent in America than in other countries, although terrible massacres have occurred in Russia, Israel, and several European nations. In the high-crime neighborhoods of inner cities, school turf is relatively safe. We have learned to harden the target and patrol with vigilance.

And even in those suburbs and small towns where spree killings have occurred, the rates, per capita, are lower now than in previous decades. School is a safe place – until, as in Chardon, Ohio, the unspeakable happens. Then, even though the risks are low, it is fair to ask, why does this still happen? Why here, in America?

Let’s be clear. There is no single, certain answer to these questions. The possible factors include failure by classmates, parents and school officials to see the warning signs; bullying and revenge; serious mental illness; violent role models; drugs; access to guns, and a culture that condones extremism.

America has its share of these factors, but which are significant and which are more prevalent here than across the Atlantic? Read the full piece. 

Sadly, terror at school is not limited to America. In an eerie coincidence, at almost the same time that gunfire broke out at Newton School, 22 children were stabbed in a Chinese elementary school.

As one commentator stated, “Who can understand why someone kills children? There is no answer to the question of why.”

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