Anger is the root of school, mass shootings


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Self-serving bills on gun control is not the answer

Another horrendous and devastating act of violence befalls on the school in Nashville, Tenn. The agony, grief and emotional devastation could be seen in the live shots of those affected by the tragedy.

Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, I have been writing about the school shootings and ways that we can prevent them. There has been much confusion and opinions about school shooters, most of them inaccurate. As I stated then and I state now, school shooters are not mentally ill. A mentally ill person cannot plan, organize and institute in such a methodical manner of the way these school shootings are carried out. The central feature of a school shooter is some type of anger or they want revenge for the wrong that they believe was committed to them. Anger is an emotion that has 27 forms and produces an urge to attack or avoid as in shun. Anger can blot out adult thinking and produce a desire to eradicate those they blame for causing the anger.

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My recommendations have been over the years, anger regulation training in all our schools from grades kindergarten to 12. Secondly, I stated that we should provide warning signs of the shooters, as the majority of school shooters give off warning signs. Some of the things you may see as a person who withdraws from others.  They often talk about statements like “I hate everybody.” They start focusing only on other school shootings. Again, the central feature is revenge. One sign by itself does not indicate a problem, but when you have a cluster of signs, that is more indicative that someone is planning an attack.

School shootings are preventable, when you focus on the right issues of anger, warning signs and a collaboration among agencies.  There is no known national effort to put together an agency to prevent school shootings in this country.  I have written previously that this needs to be addressed at a political level with congress and not just focusing on self-serving bills to focus on a comprehensive school shooting prevention program.

Hopefully, Nashville can be the impetuous for this undertaking to prevent the next one, which is highly likely to occur in a very short period of time. I also urge, that we do not continue to focus on just simply gun control. Guns are a part of this, but not the major part. It is the anger motivating the use of guns in an inappropriate way. It seems that all that politics does is focus on gun control, as if that is going to solve the problem, Incorrect.

Ronald J. Coughlin, Ed.D.
President, New Jersey Violence Institute

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