Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Teaching & Learning
On the tenth anniversary of a series of school rampage shootings in Springfield, Oregon, Littleton, Colorado, and Conyers, Georgia, the purpose of this study was to determine whether there were indications of intellectual, academic, or creative giftedness with emotional/behavioral disorders in the perpetrators. In addition, through historiographical methods, this study was designed to allow for themes to surface from the authentic writings of the adolescent shooters.
Similarities in previous research results are reported in the meta-analysis, and categories derived from my analysis of the writings of Kip Kinkel, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and T.J. Solomon are indicated in the analysis chapter. These categories are: (1) existential thinking, (2) control/power, (3) image, (4) blame, (5) cognitive/affective thinking problems, (6) lacking meaningful connections, (7) meaningful connections, (8) creativity, and (9) intellectualization.
In addition, two themes surfaced in this study. They are: (1) The desires of the boys to improve their image may have been their motivation to take control of the negative circumstances in which they perceived themselves to be; and (2) The perpetrators felt devalued for their natural proclivities for creative and/or intellectual strengths, which may have caused them to question existentially why they were here, and to blame a higher power for their burdens.
Finally, the themes evolved into one assertion. The aforementioned themes may have contributed to self-doubt of their value in the world; hence, contributions toward a diminished level of social-emotional self-efficacy may have deepened, which in turn, may have stimulated their need for gaining power and control to improve their image according to their perceptions and the perceptions of their peers.
The implications of this study are discussed, along with several recommendations for future studies and programming for G/T children and for children with E/BD's. Finally, I share recommendations for those involved with the criminal aspects of these and future cases.
Salyers, Meghan M., "A Meta-analysis of Adolescent Rampage Shootings and the Potential Interconnectivity to Gifted/Talented Children with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders" (2008). Theses and Dissertations. 918.