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Author(s) Larkin, Ralph W.
Year 2009
Title The Columbine Legacy: Rampage Shootings as Political Acts
Published in American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 52, No. 9
Pages 1309–1326
DOI 10.1177/0002764209332548
Link [1]
Abstract The purpose of this article is to explore how the Columbine shootings on April 20, 1999, influenced subsequent school rampage shootings. First, school rampage shootings are defined to distinguish them from other forms of school violence. Second, post-Columbine shootings and thwarted shootings are examined to determine how they were influenced by Columbine. Unlike prior rampage shooters, Harris and Klebold committed their rampage shooting as an overtly political act in the name of oppressed students victimized by their peers. Numerous post-Columbine rampage shooters referred directly to Columbine as their inspiration; others attempted to supersede the Columbine shootings in body count. In the wake of Columbine, conspiracies to blow up schools and kill their inhabitants by outcast students were uncovered by authorities. School rampage shootings, most of which referred back to Columbine as their inspiration, expanded beyond North America to Europe, Australia, and Argentina; they increased on college campuses and spread to nonschool venues. The Columbine shootings redefined such acts not merely as revenge but as a means of protest of bullying, intimidation, social isolation, and public rituals of humiliation.

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