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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence
FIGURE 9-7 U.S. homicide offenders, ages 12–18, multiple victims.
SOURCE: U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (2001).
driven by gang-related and drug-related violence; there is no reason to believe that a majority of multiple homicides would not share similar circumstances. However, when these types of homicides are parsed from the data, the same pattern is evident.
The analyses reported here suggest a number of broad conclusions. First, school rampage shootings, while extremely serious, account for a very small component of all the lethal violence in the United States. Even if we take the smallest subset of violence—lethal violence in schools—we find that school rampages are a small component of this sort of violence. Although it has been growing, it remains small.
This point can be emphasized still further by showing deaths in school rampages as a component of all traumatic death for young people and the relative risk of dying from different causes that adolescents face. These comparisons are not meant to minimize the pain and suffering and shock that the school rampage shootings generate. But they underscore the other kinds of risks to which children are exposed in addition to school rampages.
Second, the trends in school rampages seem to be somewhat unrelated in time to the other forms of violence. They do not rise and fall together. Nor do they seem to rise and fall in some other relationship to