Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters [NOOK Book]

Overview

Ten years after the school massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, school shootings are a new and alarming epidemic. While sociologists have attributed the trigger of violence to peer pressure, such as bullying and social isolation, prominent psychologist Peter Langman, argues here that psychological causes are responsible.

Drawing on 20 years of clinical experience, Langman offers surprising reasons for why some teens become violent. Langman divides shooters into three ...

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Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters

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Overview

Ten years after the school massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, school shootings are a new and alarming epidemic. While sociologists have attributed the trigger of violence to peer pressure, such as bullying and social isolation, prominent psychologist Peter Langman, argues here that psychological causes are responsible.

Drawing on 20 years of clinical experience, Langman offers surprising reasons for why some teens become violent. Langman divides shooters into three categories, and he discusses the role of personality, trauma, and psychosis among school shooters.

From examining the material evidence of notorious school shooters at Columbine and Virginia Tech to addressing the mental states of the violent youths he treats, Langman shows how to identify early signs of homicide-prone youth and what preventive measures educators, parents and communities can take to protect themselves from the tragedy.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A very strong resource for school counselors and parents. The author meets his task of truly getting into the minds of school shooters.”—BNET

"Langman offers a paradigm of three specific categories of youth offenders—psychopathic, psychotic, or traumatized. . . Langman fully discusses long-term exposure to violence, genetic predisposition to violence, recurrent alienation from mainstream society, depression, narcissism, and lack of empathy, as well as improperly challenged and constrained rage in the context of these three categories . . . He also looks at cases of youth who are not as notorious and whose intent to kill others was thwarted, and ends with lessons that can be learned from these and other cases. In addition, Langman presents research that informs current practice with disconnected, enraged youth. Langman believes that school shootings can be prevented, and his analysis offers reflections on how prevention can occur. A vital, phenomenal, extremely valuable work. Summing up: Essential. all levels / libraries." — D.E. Kelly, Adelphi University, CHOICE (Sept. 2009)

“Peter Langman’s book Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters is a highly readable, engaging text that analyzes 10 school shooters, outlines a typology that classifies school shooters into three distinct categories, uses the author’s personal experience in assessing potential school shooters, and outlines practical lessons from foiled and actual attacks…The author’s extensive review of law enforcement records, clinical insight from his own professional work, and ability to clearly organize all of the information have resulted in a well-written book that is long overdue.”—Brandon Robbins, Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books

“The result of his decade-long inquiry…plumbs the interior lives of 10 notorious school shooters—including Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho—to draw conclusions about what set them off.”—Michael Rubinkam, The New York Times

“A thorough analysis of recent school shootings and a helpful prescription for prevention geared to readers outside the psychiatric profession.”—Library Journal

“Mr. Langman, who is the clinical director of KidsPeace, an Orefield, Pa.-based charity that provides mental-health services for children and teenagers in 11 states, draws 10 lessons for parents and educators from his studies of school shootings across the United States.”— Debra Viadero, Education Week

"Dr. Langman’s professional expertise and exhaustive research combine to produce a remarkably comprehensive psychological analysis of school shooters that will revolutionize our understanding of this phenomenon. This book provides an in-depth psychological analysis of school shooters that easily can be understood by non-professionals.  The outstanding balance between psychological insight and plain language makes this book invaluable to anyone who works with children."—Mary Ann Swiatek, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist and member of the Association for Psychological Science

Dr. Langman …clearly identifies the enormity of the feelings of isolation and meaninglessness that plagued these children.  Shows what we can do to make schools safe and  homes friendly and child focused.  Perhaps his greatest contribution is to point out that hyper reactive child exist in a social context that if it is not empathic and helpful can perhaps trigger the calamites he describes. — Stuart Twemblow, author of Why School Anti Bullying Programs Don’t Work   

"We desperately need this book.  It provides an interior view of the mind of rampage school shooters that helps us understand the origins of the narcissism, paranoia, sadism, and thwarted rage that appears to motivate them.  Through the learned hands of Peter Langman, we come to understand the differences between shooters who are pyschopaths and those who are schizophrenics, and why these distinctions matter.   A dispassionate, but clinically powerful analysis, Why Kids Kill, will be of great interest to teachers, parents, school administrators, and law enforcement officials who are responsible for prevention and treatment."—Katherine S. Newman is the senior author of Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings and the Forbes '41 Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University

"Why Kids Kill should be required reading for school counselors and administrators....This work is a seminal contribution to child as well as adolescent psychology."—Counseling Today, American Counseling Association

"Why Kids Kill is a breakthrough analysis of the psychological causes of school shootings....a major contribution to the field of child psychology and a look into how unprocessed human pain can end in tragedy."—Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Peter Langman

Peter Langman is the Clinical Director of psychology at KidsPeace (kidspeace.org), an organization that helps kids overcome emotional crises. Winner of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association's 2008 Psychology in the Media Award, he has over 20 years of experience treating at-risk youth, specializing in kids with homicidal tendencies. He has appeared on CBS, BBC, and CBC. He is the author of a number of works on mental health. Please visit schoolshooters.info.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 28, 2009

    The most comprehensive analysis of the psychology of school shooters yet published

    Dr. Langman's clear and logical analysis of the minds of school shooters peels off layer after layer of information about these young men until he exposes the complex psychological torture with which they lived. He meticulously analyzes the lives of almost dozen school shooters. We learn that the shooters were all severely mentally ill, and not just the products of bullying or peer isolation - which were just the tip of the iceberg. We learn in depth how these young people fit into different categories of mental illness and their common symptoms. The advice that Dr. Langman gives us all on identifying symptoms of dysfunction in our young people is invaluable. His book does not just pertain to the Columbine tragedy; it delves into the minds of the school shooters up until the present time. His website www.schoolshooters.info is also excellent, with additional research material and analysis.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    why kids kill explanations

    The author described different school shooters, their backgrounds and incidents that eventually had lead towards the shooting. They had both similarities and differences in their family backgrounds.
    The author classified different shooters based on their psychological profile.
    The book was easy to read and gives a through explanations and suggestions of why some kids end up being school shooters. It also highlights the similarities and differences of the chosen shooters in this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2009

    A must-read for educators!

    This book was really fascinating and easy to read! I couldn't put it down.
    I work in the special education field, and we see more and more students being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This book helped me recognize some red flags in the students we evaluate. This should be a must-read for educators!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Captivating from the start

    I usually research about books before I buy them, but I stumbled upon this one without ever seeing it before and decided to get it. I didn't know what to expect, but I was surprised in a very good way. Although I don't agree with everything in the book, the book in general was very captivating from the start and very well written. The author is very descriptive and is really good at getting inside the minds of these kids. I have always been very interested in this topic. I think this is a book anyone can enjoy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

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