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Author(s) Muschert, Glenn W.
Year 2007
Title The Columbine Victims and the Myth of the Juvenile Superpredator
Published in Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, Vol. 5, No. 4
Pages 351–366
DOI 10.1177/1541204006296173
Link [1]
Abstract This study examines the news media coverage of the 1999 Columbine school shootings, as a component of a noted crime myth of the juvenile superpredator. Thematic content analysis was conducted on 683 articles selected from print and broadcast media, revealing four themes of coverage, including the identification and description of the victims, details of victims' deaths, coverage of memorial services, and other special social issues such as race, religion, and gun control. Chronological analysis of article distribution revealed four spikes in volume of coverage, which is associated with media reframing of the victims coverage to maintain the salience of the story. The Columbine victim coverage reaffirms the crime myth of the juvenile superpredator and reifies the punitive juvenile justice solutions suggested in alarmist responses to erroneous fears about growing rates and severity of youth violence. The impact of the superpredator myth on public discourse about Columbine and similar cases is explored.

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