As a sociologist, James thought it was important that we examine how society was affecting trends in mass violence. Was the rise in the number
First read the book, “The Violence Project; How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic” by Jillian Peterson and James Densley.
Then, consider the following “idea clusters” around which the book is organized. Pick one of these clusters and use it as an organizing structure for your 750-800 word essay entitled: “Understanding Violence and Mass Shootings in the U.S.”
Idea Cluster A.
As a psychologist, Jill was driven to understand the pathway that leads a person to the point of mass violence. What separates someone who kills four or forty people from someone who just kills one? What was their childhood and adolescence like? What was going on in their mind and what did they hope to accomplish? Are there fundamental psychological and behavioral differences between offenders who kill family members, partners, or friends first but then go on to kill victims at random, versus perpetrators who target people they have no personal connection to or motive against? What about perpetrators who target their schools or workplaces compared to those who kill at random in other public spaces?
Idea Cluster B.
As a sociologist, James thought it was important that we examine how society was affecting trends in mass violence. Was the rise in the number of mass shootings in recent years related to our current economic and political climate? What role did the internet and social media play? Just how allegiant were mass shooters to the ideologies they tapped into? When we focused our policy conversations solely on guns and mental health, were we missing the larger social factors at play that made mass shootings a problem unique to the United States?
Idea Cluster C.
There are basic demographic variables: age, education, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, military service, immigrant status, and any criminal, gang, or terrorist affiliation. And not so basic: whether they grew up with a single parent; whether any parent had died by suicide; if they’d gone through a recent breakup or employment trouble; whether they had told others about their plans to kill ahead of time (known as “ leakage ”). A significant proportion of the variables deal with mental health: whether the perpetrator had been hospitalized for mental illness or prescribed antipsychotics; whether there was any evidence of suicidal tendencies or substance abuse. There’s also a component on the firearms used: whether they were purchased legally, illegally, or stolen, and the method of purchase, such as private sale, gun show, or store.
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