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Webinar: What We Know About School Shooters and Lessons for Prevention
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Webinar: What We Know About School Shooters and Lessons for Prevention


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Dr. Poland has been a responder to 13 different school shootings, including two in California. He is very dedicated to prevention and identifying the lessons that have been learned from school …

Dr. Poland has been a responder to 13 different school shootings, including two in California. He is very dedicated to prevention and identifying the lessons that have been learned from school shootings. This webinar provides invaluable insight on these topics:

◦Prior concerning behaviors of the shooters and their mental health
◦Prior knowledge that some peers had of the attacks
◦A look at thought processes and motivations of school shooters
◦Identify the warning signs that were missed by parents, school and community personnel in previous school shootings
◦Understand the types of school shooters and learn strategies to prevent future shootings

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  • Eric’s plan had 3 phases: 1. bombs in the cafeteria that were set to go off at the peak of lunch time. 2. Shoot people as they fled the building or enter the school and shoot any survivors. 3. Bombs in the car that were suppose to go off as parents, the media, law enforcement, and rescue workers arrived on the scene.
  • Sadistic personality: the key is experiencing excitement and satisfaction through making others suffer. It’s about having power over others.1. After his arrest Eric embraced murder.
  • 2. Kein mitleid is German for no mercy.3. The quote continues with how he wasn’t to kill a weak little freshman, but it may be too gruesome for some During the school attack, it has been noted that Eric mocked people as he killed them. He derived pleasure form killing.At one point he said “peekaboo” to a girl hiding under a table in the library and then shot her.
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Minds of School Shooters: Implications for Prevention Thank you for joining us. We have a great many participants in today’s call. Your phone is currently muted so that the noise level can be kept to a minimum. If you have not yet joined the audio portion of this webinar, please click on Communicate at the top of your screen, and then Join Teleconference. The dial-in information will appear. If you have any questions, you can send them to the host using the Chat feature in the bottom right corner during the webinar. The webinar will start at 10:00 AM. © 2013 Keenan & Associates License No. 045127
    • 2. The Minds of School Shooters: Implications for Prevention Presented by: Dr. Scott Poland Co-Director of the Suicide and Violence Prevention Office Nova Southeastern University License No. 045127
    • 3. USA Today Cover Story 3/1/12 He Was Just an Average 17 Year Old Kid • Chardon High School in Ohio 3 killed and 2 wounded • What do we know about school shooters and are they average kids? • Is it appropriate to place a picture of a school shooter on the cover of a national publication? • What have we learned for prevention of future tragedies? License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 4. Why Kids Kill by Peter Langman Palgrave Macmillan (2009) • Based on his study of 10 school shooters that killed 74 and wounded 92 • Rampage acts best understood as a result of their personalities and life history • Hypothesized there are three types of shooters License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 5. Types of Shooters • Psychopathic—narcissistic without a conscience—aspiring to be godlike—paranoid, sadistic with antisocial personality traits • Psychotic—avoidant, schizotypal and dependent personality traits—paranoid delusions, auditory hallucinations—depressed and full of rage License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 6. Columbine Thirteen Murdered and Twenty-four Injured License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 7. Eric Harris: Psychopath • “I will rig up explosives all over town and detonate each one of them at will after I mow down a whole f*ing area full of you snotty as* rich mother f*ing high strung godlike attitude having worthless pieces of sh* whores.” • “I don’t care if I live or die in the shootout, all I want to do is kill and injure as many of you pricks as I can!” License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 8. Eric Harris • “If we have figured out the art of time bombs before hand, we will set hundreds of them around houses, roads, bridges, buildings and gas stations.” • “it’ll be like the LA riots, the oklahoma bombing, WWII, vietnam, duke and doom all mixed together. Maybe we will even start a little rebellion or revolution to f* things up as much as we can. I want to leave a lasting impression on the world.” License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 9. Eric Harris • “God I cant wait till they die. I can taste the blood now.” • “If it moves kill it, if it doesn’t burn it. kein mitleid!!!” • “Kill them all. Well in case you haven’t figured it out yet I say, ‘KILL MANKIND.’” License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 10. Eric Harris • Accomplished liar • Knew how to say what adults wanted to hear and his Juvenile Diversion program was ended early • School projects and violent comments should have prompted extreme concern License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 11. Heath High School • Student opened fire on prayer group killing 3 and wounding 5 License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 12. Michael Carneal: Perpetrator • Example of psychotic type • Many examples of paranoid behavior , delusions and hallucinations • Pleaded guilty in adult court but later asked for a new trial based on his mental illness • He cited that he saw, smelled and tasted things that were not there. His lawyers argued that it took years for medication to reduce his psychotic symptoms • Had talked for over a year about shooting up the school, showed students a gun prior to the shooting and warned students not to be at school License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 13. Third Type • Traumatized Shooters—suffered emotional and physical abuse at home—were sexually abused— lived with ongoing stress and losses—parents had substance abuse problems--frequent moves—lost parent to separation, jail and death—trauma history resulted in suicidal thoughts License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 14. Red Lake High School: Student kills 9 then himself Red Lake Net News, 2005 License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 15. Family/Trauma History of Jeff Weise Red Lake Perpetrator • • • • Parents separated when young Lived with mom and her boyfriend Severely disciplined (locked in closet) Father died by suicide when Jeff was 8 (standoff with tribal police) • Mother in car accident suffered brain injury and in nursing home • Moved frequently License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 16. Weise History • • • • • • • Bullied and harassed at school Black-garbed loner Described as “floating alone” Introvert at school Outspoken on internet Posted often on neo-Nazi web-site Created violent animated story on internet about school shootings and suicide License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 17. Weise History Continued • Posted entries against racial mixing • 2003-2004 told other Red Lake students he was going to shoot up school and was questioned and released by police • 2004-2005 – – – – – – stopped attending school twice due to depression and harassment Expelled for unspecified reasons Suicide attempt summer-2004 Under psychiatrist’s care Prozac doubled 2/05 Viewed film “Elephant” frequently in days before shooting License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 18. Posting from the shooter “Most people have never dealt with people who have faced the kind of pain that makes you physically sick at times, makes you so depressed you can’t function, makes you so sad and overwhelmed with grief that eating a bullet or sticking your head in a noose seems welcoming.” Jeff Weise License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 19. Federal Report on Red Lake Shooting Found: • 39 students knew of his violent plans • 5 students communicated via internet with the perpetrator about the planned violence daily • 8 teens were part of the Elephant Group that watched the movie repeatedly License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 20. Prior Knowledge of School Violence Study • 81% of time at least one person had prior knowledge of planned attack and 59% of time more than one person had knowledge • Only 4% with prior knowledge tried to dissuade the attacker • Many with prior knowledge did not believe it could happen • School connections effected whether or not adults were told (examples) License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 21. Classroom Avengers • J. McGee and C. DeBernado reviewed 16 school shootings no profile but there are common factors: All were male • Most shootings were in small towns and suburbs in the south and west • Family relationships were often dysfunctional • Perpetrators were proficient with guns and most guns came from their own homes • Many were immature, introverted loners who lacked empathy for others • Many had rigid all or nothing thinking with depressed mood that was not evident to others as they rarely complained of sadness License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 22. Classroom Avengers • Primary motives were vengeance and notoriety • Prior to shootings there were precipating events such as loss, arguments, rejection, humiliation or discipline incidents • Presented as secluded, sullen, angry and irritable • Attacks were planned and calculated • Menninger Triad elements were all present: wish to die, wish to kill and wish to be killed • Prolific journal writing, computer postings or videotapes spelled out their violent plans • Frequently threatened or boasted to others about the planned violence License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 23. Violence Key Points • Increase in violent incidents around the world intended to kill 2 or more people • Warning signs in violent fantasies, mental illness, distorted sense of what is just and severe interpersonal conflicts • Signs of trouble include aggression, interest in obtaining guns, collecting posters of school shooters and being a social loner • Mass murderers are almost always suicidal • 11th commandment for gun owners: Lock guns away from disturbed and mentally ill individuals License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 24. Suggestions to Prevent School Shootings • • • • Limit adolescent privacy Don’t lie to protect your child Follow through with due process Pay attention to what the schools says and seek help • Eliminate easy access to guns • Take threats seriously License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 25. More Suggestions • • • • Recognize anyone can stop a school shooting Recognize rehearsal and planning of attacks Physical security alone is not the answer Implement suicide and bullying prevention programs • Good communication and positive culture important at school • Implement anonymous tip lines License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 26. More Suggestions • Limit media violence exposure • Arm teachers not with guns but with mental health support services and smaller classes • Limit access to school buildings and implement meet and greet procedures • Increase student participation in school safety and utilize pledges and surveys License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 27. More Suggestions • Increase mental health services at school and in the community • Physical security alone is not the answer • The 4th R is relationships and it is important to know all students well and to have all students connected to their school • The school should be place that students like and do not want to blow up! License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 28. Question…. “My child is fascinated by violent video games and plays them for hours….should I be worried?” License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 29. Safe School Initiative • Report on the Prevention of Targeted Violence in Schools • U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center • Departments of Education and Justice License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 30. Secret Service Report: Preliminary Findings • Incidents of targeted violence at school are rarely impulsive and are typically the end result of an understandable and discernible process. • Prior to most incidents, the attacker told someone about his idea or plan but did not threaten the target directly. • There is no accurate or useful profile for “the school shooter.” • Positive connections at school are preventative License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 31. Secret Service Report: Preliminary Findings • Most attackers had previously used guns and had access to them. • Most shooting incidents were not resolved by law enforcement intervention. • In many cases, other students were involved in some capacity. • One half the attackers had more than one target License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 32. Secret Service Report: Preliminary Findings • In majority of cases, having been bullied played a key role in the attack. • Most attackers engaged in some behavior, prior to the incident, that caused others concern or indicated a need for help. • The majority of perpetrators were suicidal License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 33. “We must reach out to the unreachable!” Craig Scott Columbine Survivor Keys to prevention are getting disillusioned youth involved in activities, finding a job and establishing social ties! License No. 045127 ‹#›
    • 34. Questions? Disclaimer– Keenan & Associates is an insurance brokerage and consulting firm. It is not a law firm or an accounting firm. We do not give legal advice or tax advice and neither this presentation, the answers provided during the Question and Answer period, nor the documents accompanying this presentation constitutes or should be construed as legal or tax advice. You are advised to follow up with your own legal counsel and/or tax advisor to discuss how this information affects you. License No. 045127
    • 35. More Questions? Contact Information: Dr. Scott Poland Email Websites Articles Posted License No. 045127
    • 36. Thank you for your participation! Innovative Solutions. Enduring Principles. License No. 045127 ‹#›