Ceremonial Violence: Understanding Columbine and Other School Rampage Shootings

Ceremonial Violence: Understanding Columbine and Other School Rampage Shootings


By (author) Jonathan Fast

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  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 136mm x 204mm x 20mm | 281g
  • Publication date: 29 October 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0715638033
  • ISBN 13: 9780715638033
  • Sales rank: 520,417

Product description

"Ceremonial Violence" analyses thirteen school 'rampage' shootings - including the Columbine High School massacre - and explains, for the first time, why teenagers commit these tragic atrocities. These cases include: Brenda Spencer, 16, who, in 1979, after shooting at elementary school children for no apparent reason explained to a reporter, 'I hate Mondays'; Wayne Lo, 18, a brilliant Taiwanese student and violin prodigy who embraced white supremacist rhetoric. In 1992, he stalked the campus of Simon's Rock College with a semi-automatic rifle picking victims at random; Evan Ramsey, 16, who went on a shooting rampage in Anchorage, alerting some twenty-five friends beforehand so they could observe the mayhem; and, Luke Woodham, 17, who claimed to have been controlled by demons when he killed his classmates. With his grasp of the elements of abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, sociology and neurology that contribute to the homicidal mindset, Fast offers us a means of understanding and coming to terms with these shootings, and provides examples of what we should look for as early signs to prevent further tragedies.

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Author information

Jonathan Fast was educated at Princeton, Columbia, and Yeshiva Universities. He is the author of eight novels and a Professor of Social Work at Yeshiva.

Review quote

'Outlines clear and realistic goals for educators, community leaders, parents and students that could help prevent those violent attacks' - Publishers Weekly (starred review). 'Our adolescent massacres are, as Jonathan Fast, a professor of social work, astutely observes in his new book, a type of terrorism, but we have a hard time seeing them as such ... Fast, in search of a more illuminating explanation, has made an in-depth study of 13 incidents in which a person (or persons) under 18 shot two or more people on school grounds' - Salon. 'Detailed and thoroughly researched... Fast does an excellent job of revealing what these broken children had in common' - Kirkus. 'Is there such a thing as a 'typical' teenage school shooter? After six years of researching such students and their crimes, Fast, a professor of social work at Yeshiva University in New York City, offers a qualified yes' - Education Week.