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One group read an article that presented only the facts of the case.
Nearly 2,000 participants read a news piece on a shooting in which the shooter is diagnosed as having a mental illness and who used high capacity magazines.
Bob Herbert addressed this in an October 2006 New York Times editorial. Though the perpetrators of school shootings are often said to be almost exclusively white males, this is misleading.
A study of 48 shooters found that though white males constituted 79% of secondary school shooters, white males were actually a minority among college and other adult perpetrators.
Despite the fact that the article exposed the readers to both the mental illness of the shooter, and the fact that the shooter used high-capacity magazines, participants advocated more for gun restrictions on people with mental illness rather than bans on high-capacity magazines.
This suggests that people believe mental illness is the culprit for school shootings in lieu of the accessibility of guns or other environmental factors.
There has been no evidence of a direct correlation between a desire for infamy and school shootings, but, as suggested by Justin Nutt in 2013, those who feel as though they are alone and who feel no one will remember them may seek to be remembered through acts of violence.
Nutt explains through the examination of the way in which news exposure is connected not to the victims, but the perpetrators. in an age of internet news and 24 hour news cycle, to avoid doing so would be seen as poor news reporting, but it also means those who feel nameless and as though no one will care or remember them when they are gone may feel doing something such as a school shooting will make sure they are remembered and listed in the history books." In a 2015 New Republic essay, Columbine author Dave Cullen described a subset of school shooters (and other mass murderers) known as "injustice collectors." The essay described and expanded on the work of retired FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole, who has published a peer-reviewed journal article on the subject.
For another instance, a 2002 report by the US Secret Service and US Department of Education found evidence that a majority of school shooters displayed evidence of mental health symptoms, often undiagnosed or untreated Criminologists Fox and De Lateur note that mental illness is only part of the issue, however, and mass shooters tend to externalize their problems, blaming others and are unlikely to seek psychiatric help, even if available.
However, they note that attempting to "profile" school shooters with such a constellation of traits will likely result in many false positives as many individuals with such a profile do not engage in violent behaviors.
The United States Secret Service published a study regarding 37 school shooting incidents in the United States from 1974 through June 2000, which warned against the belief that a certain "type" of student would be a perpetrator.
According to the study, any profile could apply to any student and might not apply to a potential perpetrator. These children take a long, considered, public path toward violence." Princeton's Katherine Newman has found that, far from being "loners", the perpetrators are "joiners" whose attempts at social integration fail, and that they let their thinking and even their plans be known, sometimes frequently over long periods of time.
That type of bullying is infinitely easier for the perpetrator to commit and just as infinitely hard for the victim to address or escape." There is no direct causal relationship that has been proven between school shootings and psychiatric drugs.