After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, many schools across the country received a number of threats. According to the Huffington Post, dozens of students have been arrested in weeks following the Stoneman Douglas shooting. In the fear and anger surrounding school shootings, evil begins to ferment. In all reality, the most heated topic in the aftermath of shootings are the shooters themselves. Many mourn the victims, but attention immediately seems to shift onto the perpetrator.
Mass shooters are often people who feel as though they’ve been wronged to the extent where revenge is necessary. However, a lot of these threats are deemed as hoaxes. So why are students making real or fake threats after a high school tragedy? According to Robert Myers, clinical psychologist, it’s a result of poor mental health resources available to teens.
“The kindling is there and the spark will get the fire going,” Myers said.
Additionally, Myers asserted that the hoaxes are products of teenagers’ morbid sense of humor. He equated these threats to the dangerous pranks commonly done by teens, similar to pulling a fire alarm or painting graffiti on public property. Personally, I feel like hoax threats and legitimate threats are of the same fabric. Both arise from a need to capitalize on a tragedy. Both carry the need to achieve infamy. It’s an understatement that being a school shooter carries shock value, but being ballsy enough to draw humor from a tragedy carries the same shock value. At the end of the day, the best way to reduce this ripple effect is to reduce the attention given to those who perpetrate violence. After tragedies, mourn the victims, advocate for gun control or lack thereof. Discuss the shooter only in terms where they’re necessary to prove another point. Don’t immortalize shooters, immortalize those who were lost.