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Unexpected Danger in Elementary School: Analytical Essay

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Table of contents

  1. Mass Murder and What Drives Someone to Take Another Person’s Life
  2. Conclusion
  3. References

Mass Murder and What Drives Someone to Take Another Person’s Life

Mass murder is defined as the “anti-social non-state-sponsored killing of multiple victims during a single episode at one or more closely related locations” (Levin, & Madfis, 2009). It is mind-blowing how someone can take another person’s life, how they can just walk into a school or a building and shoot someone to death. Do they care, or do they have remorse for taking the life of another human being? The article I choose to write about dives into three of the most publicized mass murders that have happened in the last ten years. They look into the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, and the Santa Barbara, California university shooting. This article also investigates the social lives of young men who are possibly withdrawn from society (Blum, & Jaworski, 2016). The reason they are looking into the social lives of men is that the three men that committed the crimes in Colorado, Connecticut, and California share similar characteristics (Blum, & Jaworski, 2016).

Aurora, Colorado. The Aurora, Colorado mass shooting happened in July of 2012 (Blum & Jaworski, 2016). Everyone gathered in the theater to watch the new release of the Batman movie. What started out as a fun night sadly ended in a tragedy. A man went into the movie theater wearing a bulletproof vest and a gas mask to protect himself from the gas that he threw into the crowd (Blum & Jaworski, 2016). He was armed with a rifle and a handgun (Blum & Jaworski, 2016). He then opened fire into the crowd, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others (Blum & Jaworski, 2016). The killer was later arrested without resistance and identified as James Holmes, he was 27 years old and well-educated. So, what drove him to commit such a heinous crime? Several social media and news outlets like CNN, BBC, and the Union-Tribune all made speculations that James Holmes had no social life. It was also reported that he made low scores on a comprehensive test and dropped out of school shortly after. They said that he had no real close friends and that he was always quiet playing video games. He was socially alienated and shut off from society. (Blum, & Jaworski, 2016).

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Newtown, Connecticut. The Newtown, Connecticut mass shooting also known as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened in December 2012 (Blum & Jaworski, 2016). The children were all in class and they had the security door locked. No one was supposed to be able to get into the school without being let inside. However, Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old male started his morning out by killing his mother at their home (Blum & Jaworski, 2016). Lanza was armed with an AR-15, two semi-automatic rifles, and a shotgun (Ray, 2019). He then made his way to the Sandy Hook Elementary school where he shot his way into the building through a window by the entrance door. When he gained access to the school the principal and school psychologist tried to stop him and he shot them both to death (Ray, 2019). He was unable to be stopped and that day he killed 20 children and six adults (Blum & Jaworski, 2016). Lanza did something different than James Holmes and that was that he waited for first responders to start arriving and then he shot himself in the head, committing suicide. Similar to Holmes, the media tried to find the reason behind this senseless act, blaming stress, anxiety, and maybe even abuse while attending Sandy Hook school. They wanted to know if he had a mental illness and if so if was this the reasoning behind his crime. Adam Lanza was also described as someone that was shy and did not have any close friends (Blum & Jaworski, 2016). The article even says that it was speculated that he was getting revenge on a place where he has harassed rather than a specific person (Blum & Jaworski, 2016).

Santa Barbara, California. The Santa Barbara killings happened in May of 2012 near the University of California. The killer, Elliot Rodger, was 22 years old at the time of the murders. He was all over the place and did not really have one set way of killing his victims. There were three victims that were stabbed to death and three that were shot and killed. He exchanged gunfire with police and hurt several others in the process of this mass murder. All of this mass destruction ended with him killing himself which is what Adam Lanza did. Elliot was also described as lonely and socially alienated. He was harassed in school as well. One difference that stood out was that Elliot Rodgers was showing red flags. He left things behind for people to see and for some reason, no one ever saw it or if they did, they did not get help. However, his mother did try to get him help after she had seen his YouTube video’s and that just resulted in a good check by the police.


These men created a nightmare for everyone else and then took themselves out. Are they able to wreak havoc on anyone else? No. However, justice was not served. They did not pay for their actions. The main points of this article were that the similarities in these cases are frightening. They were all in their twenties and very well-educated. They were all socially withdrawn with no friends. They spent their time playing video games and role-playing. Social Media places the focus on individual characteristics and not the stressors that might have triggered them. We need to be looking into the homes that they lived in and finding out how they grew up. Were they abused, and bullied? We also need to see if they are socially withdrawn. Every single murderer in these cases was socially withdrawn, lonely, and had major stressors in their life. Social media has a way of twisting what is really going on and bringing the focus where it does not need to be. We need a better understanding of what causes someone to be fine and then decide they want to kill everyone. Social media tends to be a very negative aspect when it comes to tragedies like these.


  1. Blum, D., & Jaworski, C. G. (2016). From Suicide and Strain to Mass Murder. Society, 53(4), 408–413. doi: 10.1007/s12115-016-0035-3
  2. Levin, J., & Madfis, E. (2009). Mass Murder at School and Cumulative Strain. American Behavioral Scientist, 52(9), 1227.
  3. Ray, M. (2019, November 28). Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Retrieved December 4, 2019, from

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Unexpected Danger in Elementary School: Analytical Essay. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from
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