It's hard to empathize with someone who carries out a school shooting. The brutality of their crimes is unspeakable. Whether the shootings were at Columbine, at Sandy Hook, or in Parkland, they have traumatized students and communities across the U.S.
Psychologist John Van Dreal understands that. He is the director of safety and risk management at Salem-Keizer Public Schools in Oregon, a state that has had its share of school shootings. In 2014, about 60 miles from Salem, where Van Dreal is based, a 15-year-old boy shot one student and a teacher at his high school before killing himself.
"Someone went out of their way to target and kill children who look like our children, teachers who look like our teachers — and did it for no other reason than to hurt them," says Van Dreal. "And that's very personal."
Still, Van Dreal and other psychologists and law enforcement agents do spend a lot of time thinking about what it's like to be one of these school shooters, because, they say, that is key to prevention.
[To read the rest of this article by Rhitu Chatterjee, click here.]
[Image: Ariel Davis for NPR]