In academic spaces over the past three decades, 90 percent of active shooters have been white and male, and the majority of their victims are female.
There is an ideology of law enforcement officials in higher ed that active campus shooters shouldn’t be racially profiled which is the result of an institutional belief that white American men can’t be stereotyped in this country. However, the racial profile of the active school shooter is no longer a stereotype, but an archetype. Fiction films about campus shooters cast white men as shooters. It’s an archetype that begins with Columbine, an event that today’s traditional university students don’t remember.
The frequency of the active shooter prototype on university and public school grounds is an opportunity to discuss race, healing, and reconciliation. White people, like all other races and ethnicities are defined by images and stereotypes. The idea that all white men are rich, financially successfully fathers is a stereotype that adversely affects white men, particularly during the holidays when many white males are unable to cope with financial expectations.
What reconciliation theorists know is that white men who are unable to compete economically and educationally have the potential to become embittered, just like everyone else who falls through the cracks of capitalism. To ignore that hurt and pain is to empower a shooter, and unfortunately that’s what a lot of campuses are doing with the propaganda that the campus shooter doesn’t fit a particular racial profile,
Any college campus law enforcement team that refuses to address the truth—that there is no super white male heroic father figure, that white men and boys also traumatically suffer from depression, alienation and marginalization–evidences the shallow logic of police officers and higher ed administrators who don’t understand the necessity of racial identity discussion and debate on the college campus. Such conversations require self-examination and are conduits toward change.
Active campus shooter training sessions teach people to mobilize and, if necessary, defend and fight a campus shooter. The University of Arkansas presents a scenario where faculty and staff successfully thwart an active shooter. The idea of being cornered by a shooter is grim as ever and the response to an active shooter only intelligently merits retaliation via gun.
Consequently, faculty and staff should be allowed to carry weapons on campus. Campuses today consist of a number of average Joes who fit the initial profiles of active shooters when Janet Reno and Louis Freeh’s FBI first began studying campus shootings. Alienation, false sense of entitlement and privilege, affiliation with hate groups, were all defined as characteristic of school shooters during the Clinton years.
Despite the numbers of mass killings in the US in the last three decades, it’s clear the nation has to work toward a resolution on gun violence in the country. Utah is one of the few states that allow its faculty and staff to conceal and carry on school grounds. College and university campuses in Arkansas have widely banned guns from campus grounds which is unfortunate because colleges and universities could be the testing ground for refining and improving the relationship between mental health, anger, and the trigger.
If higher education is truly a place where reasonable and civic minded people exist, faculty Senates and Boards of Trustees all over will begin dialogue and policy on conceal carrry and mental health counseling as it relates to weapons and campus safety.
Reasonable gun owners, in academic spaces and the general population shouldn’t mind sitting down with psychologists to discuss the stress in their lives that could potentially result in a desire to pull the trigger as often as possible in the effort to keep themselves and others safe.