I think that kids need to know that these horrible tragedies really can happen. And so, when they hear hints, threats, they need to be able to come forward to an adult they trust, because they are our best bet for prevention, because they are the early warning system. We will never be able to identify the kind of person who’s going to do something like this. They are rarely like Cho, with all these warning signs being caught by people. Most of the time they’re flying very far under that radar screen. They are not the discipline cases. They are not the people everyone thinks of as a troublemaker. They are the unknown, unexpected and unidentified.
But they do come forward with these threats and hints, and when that happens, the people who hear them need to know this could be serious, and they need to come forward to a trusted adult who will confidentially and privately look into the matter. If they don’t see such an adult in their landscape, young people don’t come forward, and they often don’t feel that there’s a trustworthy adult for them to turn to. And when that happens, we lose the best early warning system we have. And that’s the thing that I emphasize when school districts ask me what they should do.
|—||Katherine Newman on “Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings” Democracy Now! 5/8/07|