Parkland Shooting One Year Later: Researchers Seek Causes and Cures


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Riley Hazel, Lead Staff Writer

It has been one year since the devastating and tragic news hit the country. At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on February 14th, 17 lives were lost and 17 more were injured. Parkland endured the eighth most fatal mass shooting in the United States.

“Never again” were the familiar words voiced by thousands to reiterate the consistent message of gun control. 350 mass shootings have occurred since Parkland, the most recent being in Aurora, Illinois. According to the Since Parkland project, 1,200 American kids have been fatally shot by a gun.

Political action committees and demonstrations like Never Again MSD and March for Our Lives were founded by student activists after the incident based on the principles of stronger gun control. This has led to an extended conversation about gun control in today’s society. Many newsgroups consider the mass shooting at MSD a turning point for gun control legislation.

As stated by the South Sun Florida Sentinel, since the Parkland massacre, “16 states have changed their laws, while 6 major actions have been undertaken by cities and counties. Meanwhile, 10 companies tweaked their policies related to guns and 19 businesses have cut ties with gun lobbying groups.”

With mass shootings becoming more mainstream, people are beginning to reasonably question the leading causes of these catastrophic events and possible ways to prevent them from happening.

“None of these extreme acts, like a school shooting, occurs because of only one risk factor; there are many factors, including feeling socially isolated, being bullied, and so on. But if you look at the literature, I think it’s clear that violent media is one factor,” Craig Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State University, told the New York Times.

Others passionately feel that mental illness is the most vital factor in increasing mass homicide rates. In 2018, the FBI released a report on A Study of the Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the United States between 2008 and 2013. The authors selected 63 cases on which records were more complete among the 160 total active shooter cases. The authors restricted their comprehensive study to verified information in the FBI records; thus, there was much missing mental health information. They reported that 16 of the 40 on which such information was present had received a psychiatric diagnosis; 44 of the 63 had “mental health stressors” and/or “mental health concerning behaviors” prior to the attack; and 30 of the 35 on which such information was obtainable harbored suicidal thoughts or had made suicide attempts prior to the attack.

The key factor that most are failing to mention is that in America, per 100 residents, 88.8 guns are owned. That makes America the leading nation in gun ownership. Just the presence of a gun makes it more likely for someone to be a victim of gun violence. With a gun in the hands of someone with a mental illness and a victim of bullying is a recipe for disaster.

Until US government officials come to a mutual agreement on these causes and set definitive and unified restrictions throughout the country, mass shootings will undoubtedly continue to plague America.