1. Official records pertaining to the incident or the offender:

    • court records (criminal and civil)

    • police records

    • school records

  1. Governmental statistics

  2. Interviews:

    • the offender

    • the offender family

    • friends/acquaintances of offenders

    • the victims

    • the victims’ families

    • witnesses to shootings

    • responders to the incident

    • those involved in handling legal cases

    • school officials

    • teens in the community

    • adults in the community

    • political leaders in the community

    • civic leaders in the community

  1. Direct/participant observation

  2. Surveys


All of the case authors submitted their study designs, including multiple consent forms, to their university’s or organization’s institutional review board (IRB) for the protection of human subjects, and in one case directly to the National Research Council’s (NRC) institutional review board. The NRC’s IRB provided a second layer of human subjects review for five of the six case studies once they had been approved by university or organizational IRBs. The NRC then sought and obtained a certificate of confidentiality from the Department of Health and Human Services for the entire project—that is, all six case studies. All subjects interviewed in these cases, no matter what their occupation or public role, signed a consent form that cautioned that every effort would be made to keep responses confidential and anonymous. However, those already in the public eye and/or very close to the events who would be readily identifiable could not be promised such protections. Finally, only the individual case authors have access to the interview data on which these cases are based.1

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