The Bad Guy Doesn't Have a Gun

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 6 pm to 8 pm

The Department of Criminal Justice Invited Speaker Series welcomes Dr. Nadine Connell, Associate Professor, Deputy Head of School from Griffith University in Australia for her presentation "The Bad Guy Doesn't Have a Gun: Moving Beyond Weapons in Understanding Targeted School Violence Attacks."

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Much of the conversation around school violence, specifically school shootings, centers around the role of guns and gun policy. However, while school shootings may be an American phenomenon, targeted school violence attacks are not. This calls for reframing our arguments around weapons and moving to a more ful-ly realized framework for understanding perpetrator motivation and early detection, especially if we are to have an impact on global prevention. Using a database of over 200 targeted international school attacks over twenty years and an open source data collection protocol, we examine the patterns of motivation and pre-attack behaviors for non-gun targeted school violence attacks. Using similar frameworks established in research on US-based school shootings, we step away from the role of the weapon and focus on primary motivations for attack. In an international context, where weapons of most sort are more difficult to ob-tain, these findings have the potential to help inform our knowledge of the most motivated attackers and identify key areas for early identification and prevention. This is particularly useful in a school context, where false positives can have serious negative long-term ramifications. We discuss how these data can better inform both school communities and law enforcement.

221 Centennial Dr, Grand Forks, ND 58202

  • Tracy Backstrom
  • Aliyah Osborn

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