Columbine Defined “Rampage School Shooting”


Columbine High School, where 13 people were gunned down 10 years ago Monday, “represented the violent destruction of a cherished American idea: that schools in the suburbs and the countryside were havens of peace and safety,” says the Associated Press. “It’s the iconic shooting,” said Katherine Newman, professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. “It defined the social category of a rampage school shooting.”

“Unlike some of the shootings that were only covered in the aftermath [] millions of Americans watched as it unfolded, which obviously has a much greater effect on the American psyche than if you watch some footage on the 11 o’clock news,” said Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox. Adds Newman: “Subsequent shooters who have been fueled by a kind of competitive urge cite Columbine first, foremost and always.”

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