Criminologist speaks at presentation “Campus Shootings Profiling the Classroom”

Criminologist speaks at presentation “Campus Shootings Profiling the Classroom”

LAWTON, OK (TNN) - A presentation Wednesday afternoon at Cameron University focused on campus shootings. It featured Doctor Howard Kurtz, a professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

Dr. Kurtz talked about the ability to predict shooters, gun control, arming teachers and mental health screening. Then he addressed the problems each topic presents for law enforcement and schools.

He provided some statistics like, how the U.S. has had 57 times as many school shootings as 16 other major industrialized nations combined.

“We have to accept the fact that we are in a different world today,” said Dr. Howard Kurtz, Sociology and Criminal Justice Professor at SWOSU.

School shootings were once unfathomable.

“I know when I was younger and had children in school, the idea of there even being a single shooting was just beyond my imagination,” said Dr. Kurtz.

Now, a reoccurring nightmare....

“Yet today we find they are happening all the time so it’s a topic that needs to be addressed,” said Dr. Kurtz. "No child should go to school fearing that they are going to get shot. It just should never happen. And if that mean restricting access to schools, if it means doing background checks on people before they get into schools, I think that is a reasonable thing to do. "

It’s been 20 years since a horrifying mass shooting unfolded. Two students killed 12 of their schoolmates and a teacher at the high school in the town of Littleton, Colorado.

“Following Columbine, there was a game, a video game that someone put online that people were logging into where people were pretending to be one of the shooters," said Dr. Kurtz. "That’s horrific that people would somehow glorify what happened.”

Just this week a teenager said to be infatuated with the mass shooting made credible threats against Denver-area schools.

“If you study the young people that were involved in that shooting, they were pretty misguided young people but they fit the profile of kids that feel disenfranchised, they feel so apart from the system, they feel bullied they feel picked upon,” said Dr. Kurtz.

The concerning comments made by 18-year-old Sol Pais forced the closure of nearly 20 school districts in Colorado today before she was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“Anytime we have young people at risk we have to err on the side of caution," said Dr. Kurtz. "If you miss a day of school, you can make that up but if you have a tragedy there’s nothing else you can do.”

The “Campus Shootings Profiling the Classroom” presentation with Dr. Kurtz was the seventh in the “Justice For All” series being hosted by Cameron University’s Department of Social Sciences.

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