The images of teenagers running from their school with their hands up – as seen on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School — has become a hauntingly familiar sight at subsequent school shootings. And for many, including eventual school shooters, there was something about the Columbine shooting that drew their interest. John Cohen, a former Department of Homeland Security official who led efforts to combat mass shootings, said that Columbine “absolutely” influenced subsequent shootings. “As law enforcement has studied the individuals who have committed school shootings and other mass casualty attacks, one of the common characteristics they’ve observed is these individuals tend to study past mass shootings,” said Cohen, who is now an ABC News contributor. “As it relates specifically to school shootings, we find that columbine seems to be the one incident hat school shooters look at. It seems to resonate with individuals that have the behavioral characteristics consistent with this type of attacker,” he said.(MORE: 20 years after Columbine, what’s changed — and what hasn’t — for school shootings in America) “The people who conduct school shootings tend to be disaffected mentally unwell individuals searching for a sense of social connection and life meaning. They go online,… Read full this story
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