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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Feds push 'threat assessment' to prevent school shootings

The young man who murdered 17 students and staffers at a Parkland, Florida high school he once attended, was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole last week. He began getting in trouble at an early age: It was one red flag after another.

Most school shooters have a history of depression. But very, very few depressed teenagers become violent.

The same is true of the 18-year-old who murdered 19 children and two teachers at an Uvalde, Texas school: There were many, many warning signs, including Instagram photos of semi-automatic rifles and a propensity to kill cats.

School shootings can be prevented by identifying youth with an "affinity for violence," federal law enforcement officials argued at a school safety summit, reports Mark Keierleber on The 74. The National Summit on K-12 School Safety and Security was hosted by the Department of Homeland Security.

We "need to make sure we’re setting a lower threshold for what we want to intervene with — such as being bullied, depression, suicidality — because we’ve also seen those in the background of these students that resorted to violence,” said Lina Alathari, chief of the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center.

If students who are depressed or victims of bullying are seen as potential shooters, that's a whole lot of kids, Keierleber notes. "Given the reality that school shooters often leak their plans to friends or online, summit panelists also endorsed a need to monitor students on the internet — a practice that has raised a separate set of civil rights and digital privacy concerns," he writes.

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Nov 09, 2022

If this was possible it would be easy for parole boards and judges to do their jobs without risk to the public, but social science studies are notorious for results that cannot be reproduced.


Nov 07, 2022

A thought question.

Consider the reverse

Do not compare the number of school shooters with warning signs of violence.

Compare the number of children with warning signs of violence to the number of school shooters. We have a large number of children with the warning signs and a very small number of shooters. Are we going to stain the future of large numbers of innocent unthreatening children with this kind of evaluation? How would this process be reviewed? We cannot involentarily commit the mentally ill to an institution. How can we force this on children? Would a judge allow it? I can imagine this evaluation being used as a weapon against the unpopular and non-comformists. How would…


Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Nov 06, 2022

Compulsory unpaid labor is slavery (definition). Laws in every US State compel attendance at school. Schools give to many normal children to do what schools require. Schools confine children six hours a day, 180 days a year, for 12 years and force them to work, uncompensated, for overseers (aka "teachers") who threaten to permanently blight their lives with a negative transcript if the children do not jump through the hoops that the overseers present. Simultaneously, minimum wage laws and child labor laws bar children from learning salable skills on the job.

It's a testament to the basic decency of human nature that so few children emerge from this system homicidally enraged. It's a testament of the corrupting effects of this…


Nov 06, 2022

I just read an article about Zach Cruz, Nick's younger brother, in the Washington Post. It is heart breaking. In this case, I suspect that the very first government agency that failed the brothers is the local CPS. Their adoptive mother may have needed help after their stepfather died, but definitely after she died.

Let's not add more government, because the greater number of different agencies involved mean more cracks for youngsters like the Cruz brothers to fall into, and get lost.

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