Thursday, December 06, 2007

Shootings Monthly Cycle

In the book, The Copycat Effect, a clear anniversary cycle is noted in well-publicized shootings, which can serve a predictive function. Often these patterns follow a monthly cycle. Currently, there is a strong indication the shootings are following that specific model.

The Omaha mall shooting came exactly one calendar month after the school shooting in Finland, which was exactly one calendar month after the school shooting in Cleveland, Ohio. The last three months, remarkably, therefore, have had precisely four weeks to the day between each of these dangerous Wednesdays.

The SuccessTech Academy shooting took place on Wednesday, October 10, 2007, at SuccessTech high school in Cleveland, Ohio. The shooter, Asa H. Coon, 14, wounded at least four people, including two teachers and two students; another student was injured fleeing from the school. He killed himself at the end of his shooting spree. He was attempting a copycat of Columbine.

The Jokela school shooting occurred on November 7, 2007, at Jokela High School (Finnish: Jokelan koulukeskus), a public secondary school in the town of Jokela, Tuusula municipality, Finland. The gunman was 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen, and the end result was nine people were dead. Auvinen was a known Columbine copycatter.

Then on Wednesday, December 5, 2007, at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, Robert A. Hawkins, 19, killed nine (counting himself). He used a hooded black sweatshirt to sneak in the AK-47 he used. It is too early to know how much inspiration he got from Columbine.

The desire to seek media attention was high in all three of these teen shooters, and they all left behind various "media packages" to be remembered.

"Now I'll be famous," wrote Robert Hawkins in the note he left behind before he went off to shoot people to death at the Omaha mall.

This, of course, sounds all too familiar, especially as the unfolding media melodrama of Virginia Tech was planned out by the shooter himself. The Columbine killers, I was not surprised to hear, were noted in the VA Tech shooter's materials. Cho Seung-hui called Columbine's Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold "martyrs."

I thought perhaps North America could have a quiet winter, but it appears that the hot zone of the Columbine-VA Tech week of April 2007 will be carried, at least with this monthly cycle, through the winter of 2007-2008.

I think the next two weeks could be a vulnerable time for those that wish to copycat the routine pre-Christmas pattern of shootings that is beginning to develop at malls and other group settings in this country. These events are rare, true indeed, but everyone should walk into group situations with their eyes wide open.

Also, look to the spring of 2008 to be dangerous, with some attention and awareness to large gathering spots like school/university cafes and mall food courts, from late March into April, until early May 2008.

Contact the authorities if you know of anyone talking about such attacks, even jokingly, and heighten your own level of alertness.

1 comment:

richelle said...

Interesting analysis of the dates & timeframes. I wonder if there could be some kind of extensive, detailed 'timewave' type thing applied with this. I'm wondering too, if you've considered any other patterns--larger social dynamics and so forth. Perhaps that has already been established generally--the boys' grim rebellions having taken place seemingly in places very representative of their perceived oppresors--but I keep thinking there is more of a pattern involved somehow. I live literally just a few blocks away from Trolley Square, so the idea of 'place' in these situations has struck me quite profoundly. That idea put forth (perhaps not originally) by Howard Bloom, that there are elegant patterns at work in even our seemingly mundane, 'unconscious' movements. Perhaps on a large scale of movement like this, with (sadly) enough similar events to establish patterns...
But, I don't know how or if that could really be preventative.