School Shootings And Alienation

The peak of the “baby boom”, was 1955. Folks born between 1933-1955 came of age in a situation in which there were consistently more younger people than older people in communities in America as a whole.

By 1977, this changed on college campuses in the US, Canada and Australia. All but a few of those born before the peak of the boom were gone from campuses. In this situation, we saw a new type of crime emerge: the campus killing.


April 5, 1982 Hot Springs, AK, USA Kelvin Love Garland County Community College 1
December 17, 1983 Ithaca, NY,USA Su Yong Kim Cornell University 2 immigrant
December 6, 1989 Montreal, Canada Marc Lépine École Polytechnique 14 son of immigrant
November 1, 1991 Iowa City, IA, USA Gang Lu 6 immigrant
August 24, 1992 Montreal, Quebec, Canada Valery Fabrikant Concordia University 4 immigrant
December 14, 1992 Great Barrington, MA, USA Wayne Lo Simon’s Rock College of Bard 2 immigrant
September 17, 1996 University Park, PA, USA Jillian Robbins Pennsylvania State University 1
October 16, 1996 West Lafayette, IA, USA Allen Eskew Purdue University 1
January 16, 2002 Grundy, Virginia, USA Peter Odighizuwa Appalachian School of Law 3 immigrant
October 21, 2002 Melbourne, Australia Huan Xiang Monash University 2 immigrant
October 28, 2002 Tucson, Arizona, USA Robert J. Flores, Jr., University of Arizona 3
May 9, 2003 Cleveland, Ohio, USA Biswanath Halder Case Western Reserve University 1 immigrant
September 3, 2006 Shepherdstown, WV, USA Douglas W. Pennington Shepherd University 2
September 13, 2006 Montreal, Quebec, Canada Kimveer Gill, The Dawson College,
April 16, 2007 Blacksburg, Virginia, USA Cho Seung-hui Virginia Tech 30 immigrant

8 of these 15 killers were immigrants. One of the exceptions was the son on a Algerian immigrant who spent most of his early childhood outside of Canada. About 6 of these shooters were Asian men-the exceptions were either from Montreal(an unusual city compared to the rest of the English speaking world and an older, African immigrant, another was from Russia).The Wikipedia list included two other killings that were outside the English Speaking world-but it isn’t clear this is a comprehensive list.

This raises the question of what was going on here? The question most likely lies in economics.Specifically the economics that are of directly concern to college students. Few college students have huge levels of discretionary income-many are dependent on families or grants to get through school.However, demographics have a profound difference in what their social opportunities are like. Since 1955, we saw a situation in which social pressures changed.Specifically after 1977. we saw a situation in which there were generally more older students relative to younger students in the campus. Is the rise of campus shootings during that period a coincidence or is it related to that demographic shift?

Why is it that we see immigrants and Asian men so highly represented among campus killers?

In “What makes a Mass Killer” two psychiatrist discuss how isolation and alienation are major contributing factors in triggering
homicides. It is easy to expect that immigrants might be selected from a population of those most unhappy with their original homes. Why are Asians so heavily represented here? On the whole, Asians are a fairly “successful” and law-abiding group by most superficial standards. However, when we look at statistics of inter-racial marriages and births, we tend to see that Asian men are less likely to inter-marry than Asian women. That suggests that we have a population of relatively isolated Asian men in the US.

Now, there are probably reasons why campus killings are different than the killings in other parts of society. On the whole, college campuses are still remarkably safe. Still, tendency of one group to be more likely to be “driven over the edge”suggests that the “politically correct” culture of academe isn’t as racially neutral as its participants would like to represent themselves as being.

I would also suggest that these statistics negatively reflect on the selection process currently being used to screen US immigrants. On the whole,the US needs fewer immigrants and there should be better protections in place to make sure that those immigrants that are admitted are the ones the US needs–and can be provided a decent life once they are here.