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Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings
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Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  183 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In the last decade, school shootings have decimated communities and terrified parents, teachers, and children in even the most “family friendly” American towns and suburbs. These tragedies appear to be the spontaneous acts of disconnected teens, but this important book argues that the roots of violence are deeply entwined in the communities themselves. Rampage challenges t ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published May 4th 2005 by Basic Books (first published 2004)
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Gregory's Lament
Mar 24, 2008 Gregory's Lament rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Here's something not to admit in public: I'm fascinated by school shootings. Not because I love violence; I detest it. But because it seems such a clear indicator that something is systemically wrong, in the most general sense. Of course, no one ever comes to this conclusion, they always think that it's just a couple of "loser" kids acting up. This book shows that there's more to the story than just the psychological predispositions of the shooters. There's a cultural impetus at work, inside and ...more
Oct 31, 2016 Gina rated it really liked it
"On December 2, 1998, a year and a day after the shooting, the James, the Stegers, and the Hadleys filed civil suits in Paducah against those they held responsible for their daughters' deaths. Among their targets were: Michael Carneal, his parents, the neighbor from whom Michael had stolen the guns, students who had seen Michael with a gun at school before the shooting, students who had heard that something was going to happen on Monday, students who might have been involved as conspirators, tea ...more
Nov 17, 2011 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Over a decade has passed since the Columbine School killings, and yet, it seems, the true story is still emerging. However, discovering *the truth* in amongst the media coverage, the academic research, the official documents and conspiracy theories seems a pretty remote possibility. Theories abound as to the mindset and motives of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and much speculation has surrounded topics such as wether other students were involved, wether the shootings were part of a *bigger* cam ...more
Alisa Kester
Mar 09, 2009 Alisa Kester rated it really liked it
Despite some obvious flaws (including the fact that only two different school shootings were studied, rather than a more conclusive number) the author did a good job of breaking down what happens to these kids to make them feel they have no hope or choice other than violence. It's truly heart-rending to read what some of these kids wrote in their journals, and in their "last letters to society".

Here's an except from Luke Woodham's "manifesto and will":

"I killed because kids like me are mistrea
Apr 20, 2010 J'mai rated it really liked it
School shootings are a rare phenomenon despite the press they receive. However, they impact our psyches' in immeasurable ways. We can all identify with the victims, and the location is one we deem to be sacred, second only to our own homes. This study looks at the shootings from every possible angle, including the biographies of the shooters, the sociological units of their homes, their schools, their communities. The authors fairly assess the contributions that all of these factors in setting t ...more
Sarah Maddaford
May 18, 2010 Sarah Maddaford rated it really liked it
I read this book because the idea that small communities, who knew everything about everyone, were potential hotspots for rampage shootings was intriguing. Most of the shootings discussed occured while I was in elementary school, but their impact on our society effected school policy in both my middle school and high school despite both being in a fairly large community. We never had the sense of overall security to which the communities who experienced shootings laid claim. In fact, the idea of ...more
Dec 08, 2013 Jooyoung rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. I recently used it in a Gun Violence course that I taught. Newman and her colleagues develop a theory of school shootings that is based on two school shootings that rocked small towns in the US. This book was very popular amongst my students, who learned quite a bit about the sociological causes of school shootings. The book also includes an interesting policy chapter, where Newman and her colleagues offer non-specialist readers some policy ideas on how to avoid future shoot ...more
Dec 18, 2012 Alison rated it really liked it
A good read, something people should pay more attention to. Offers great analysis and suggestions outside of those that people often provide, outside of more gun control. That's the easy answer - that legislation will fix all - but these writers provide harder options to hard questions. People might not want to hear them, they involve schools spending more time and money, people taking better care of the firearms they own, but I think implementing many of these options would make schools overall ...more
Mar 19, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
"Rampage" demonstrates they are ways to intervene as these plots/school shootings gather force. Newman explains how we can help potentially violent individuals and break down the barriers of communication between students and adults... along the way, asking all the right questions...(Why are shooters almost always white male? Why do most school shootings occur in rural areas?) Working together, families, schools and communities to prevent the tragedy of school violence. This book was insighful a ...more
Stacey Allen
Nov 15, 2016 Stacey Allen rated it it was ok
I found the number of media resources on the rampage shooting disappointing. Considering that it is quite well known that the media has taken a small detail and run with it until it is turned into something completely unrelated to the shooting, or untrue altogether. For example, Columbine's "Trench Coat Mafia" which was never an actual fact, but in this book is mentioned a few times, and cited by press coverage. Makes you wonder what other details of the book are untrue.
However, the actual rese
Katie Purcell
Jan 06, 2015 Katie Purcell rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
While some of the data is now outdated, Newman's study provides an in-depth and interesting analysis of two very different students. Her work has further been used by others that have continued dispelling myths surround what the stereotypical school shooter is. Further, the emphasis on the impact of social norms of masculinity that she discusses has been further expanded upon by other researchers and is worth reading.
Jill Crosby
Mar 21, 2011 Jill Crosby rated it really liked it
By comparing two school shootings boasting perpetrators from differing backgronds, Newman turns to the community and society as a whole to identify what mkes a for a "school shooter profile." This is the more valuable work in peeling away the layers which constitute SR events and gives parents, educators and commuity leaders as a whole a blueprint to work from in keeping their community a "shooting safe" zone.
Sep 29, 2015 Crystal rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2015
I believe some aspects of this book are a little dated- most notably that these rampage shootings are rare. In fact, they are more frequent and have graduated to colleges and universities. Still, the rest of what Newman et al have to say make this worth reading. I wish it were required reading for anyone in education.
Aug 20, 2014 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf
This is a very academic book. Well-researched and well-written, but dense for casual reading. The tables are awesome for a data dork like me. If I taught a class on the subject I would def use this as a textbook.
Mandy Weinman
Oct 29, 2015 Mandy Weinman rated it really liked it
This was a tough read - not the writing, but the subject matter. The writing was well done and kept me engaged - it was not dry. I loved that options for possible solutions are given at the end. This is a tough subject, but a necessary one to discuss.
Jessica Scott
Mar 31, 2013 Jessica Scott rated it it was amazing
Fascinating look at systemic failure to identify those prone to this kind of violence. Very relevant to company commanders, oddly enough, to identify the problems in seeing their own soldiers accurately.
Apr 13, 2014 Cathy rated it liked it
Though their research was limited to two main schools with reference to others, I found the information to be helpful, particularly around social power systems in a community.
Dec 27, 2012 Ruth marked it as to-read
Don't necessarily 'want' to read this one so much as feel I need to. Maybe there's some sort of answer there.
Jami Dutcher
Apr 01, 2013 Jami Dutcher rated it really liked it
I think this book may have been more helpful if it included more of the schools and communities. This only covered 2 of the school shootings.
May 10, 2014 Megan rated it really liked it
I read this for my Fulbright research, and though it was a bleak read, I am glad to have gotten the writers' insights on the social milieu for school violence.
Raffaele rated it really liked it
May 12, 2008
Maya rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2008
Mariah Kelley
Mariah Kelley rated it really liked it
Nov 09, 2011
Sara rated it liked it
Jun 12, 2014
Constance McKean
Constance McKean rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2016
Luther Siler
Luther Siler rated it really liked it
Jul 11, 2014
Rickee1368 rated it liked it
Mar 02, 2016
Ashley Gay
Ashley Gay rated it it was amazing
Nov 10, 2014
jennifer rated it really liked it
Mar 29, 2015
Lindsey rated it really liked it
Dec 13, 2016
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Katherine Newman is Professor of Sociology and James Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Author of several books on middle class economic instability, urban poverty, and the sociology of inequality, she previously taught at the University of California (Berkeley), Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton.
More about Katherine S. Newman...

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