Tuesday, January 29, 2013

School Shooting Epidemic -Author Malcolm Gladwell defines cause in his bestseller "The Tipping Point""

From his book, the Tipping Point, Gladwell sets forth the idea that the school shooting scenarios are actually an epidemic with teens based upon isolation, as follows (an excerpt):
Following the trend of school shootings in 2000, beginning with Columbine, Gladwell suggests that “these are epidemics in isolation: they follow a mysterious, internal script that makes sense only in the closed world that teenagers inhabit.” (268) (Cf. Hurt) There is, in this example, a fairly typical “standard form of contagious anxiety.” (270) This is similar to kids getting sick in school. “It’s important to realize that sometimes epidemic behavior among children does not have an identifiable and rational cause: the kids get sick because other kids got sick. The post-Coloumbine outbreak of school shootings is, in this sense, no different.” (270)
My sense is that the way adolescent society has evolved in recent years has increased the potential for this kind of isolation. We have given teens more money, so they can construct their own social and material worlds more easily. We have given them more time to spend among themselves — and less time in the company of adults. We have given them e-mail and beepers and, most of all, cellular phones, so that they can fill in all the dead spots in their day — dead spots that might once have been filled with the voices of adults — with the voices of their peers. That is a world ruled by the logic of word of mouth by the contagious messages that teens pass among themselves. Columbine is now the most prominent epidemic of isolation among teenagers. It will not be the last. (271)

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