Opinion 4342136720_6e278757d9

Published on December 17th, 2012


The School Massacre in Newtown Connecticut

The Editors,

It has happened again. The facts are unbearable. One person, Adam Lanza, killed twenty-six people and twenty of the victims were children from the age of six to seven. The United States is once again in a mixed state of shock and grief. There have been several shooting massacres in the US lately, and the question naturally comes up: how do we explain the unexplainable?

This time most of the victims were children, something that has left the Americans with a strong collective trauma. So close in time to the incident it may seem cold and emotionless to try to explain such a tragedy with rationality and “cold” science. Even so, when such tragic incidents take place we as human beings have a natural need to seek for explanations.

Is it possible that people who are considered normal can perform such acts? A lot of the research indicate that there are psychiatric reasons behind such atrocities. It seems to be a psychological pattern that emerges in other school shootings, which also have a lot in common with the massacre in Connecticut. A common factor behind such acts is that the perpetrator has a breach of reality. The person often has a view of the reality, that makes him or her act according to these erroneous beliefs.

It is important to point out that these beliefs are much stronger than what one may spot in others with a psychiatric diagnose. They are often hallmarked by strong anxiety and self-doubt, both in themselves, and concerning others evaluations. Even if it is a little early to draw strong conclusions, several of these patterns seem to be attributable to this latest perpetrator. The tragedy of such incidents is that that they are difficult to predict, and therefore difficult to avoid.

Following school massacres it is often stated that events like these are unpredictable, and that they may be compared to natural events such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Such statements indicate that they may be understood as natural forces which we have no control over whatsoever. But there is still a difference between natural events out of human control, and social events. Such an attitude is therefore all too fatalistic, and does not invite for a deeper understanding of the phenomena. Since school shootings are so complex, they become even more important to understand across differing social and cultural contexts. For example, there is a need for comparative research across nations and across historical periods.

We in Popular Social Science conclude by expressing our deepest condolences to the families of the Victims in Connecticut.



Joachim and Tor Georg


Cover photo by Nancy Pelosi.

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One Response to The School Massacre in Newtown Connecticut

  1. Ben Flores says:

    My greatest sympathy goes out for all those who lost their lives at newtown,and their famaiies. It appeared that god was mentioned every time during this tragady, however where is got in our class rooms. It appeared that Adam Lanza was not getting enough attention at home, and that is why he killed his mother first. He also wanted to make sure that the kids in school did not get the attention he didn’t get. The kids are looking for attention, because there is not enough attention for the kids nowadays. Then we have the media, they dwell on an incident for days, and the kids that are unstable capatalize on this. It is what I call lock latch kids with nothing to do, all alone at home, with no attention given them. Mothers and Fathers to busy working, trying to have a better home, more money, etc. As the Bible says, what good is it to inherit the world today, however you loose you life tomorrow. We as faailies are to much in love with money and making money and not enough love where it is supposed to be. THE FAMILY!

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