What Can We Do to Save Lives?

Photo Source: Pexels.com

Photo Source: Pexels.com

Nina Gordon, Writer

When looking at the horrific, unexplained school shootings that happen in America, one can only wonder what kind of a person would do such an awful thing and what mindset would invoke that? What goes on in the mind of a school shooter, and can it be stopped before it’s too late?


No one interaction or moment can be labeled as the cause for a school shooter’s motives or actions. People may think that a person can have the ability to snap at any moment; however, in reality, no one instinctively develops psychotic motives. They build up over time until it is too late.


Studies have shown that many school shooters resort to violence based on how they were treated as a child. Whether it be a negative home life that impacts a child’s mental or physical abilities or bullying in school, which can go unnoticed, the overall treatment of a child affects them for the rest of their life.


Scientists have come up with many theories over the years to explain the working of the human brain. For example, Abraham Maslow, a world renowned psychologist, is known for his theory, The Hierarchy of Needs.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states five levels of essential needs humans must obtain. The first level is physiological needs. Physiological needs are the fundamental needs that humans need to survive. This includes breathing air, drinking water,  sleeping, eating, going to the bathroom, and more. Without these basic needs, a human is not able to survive.


The next level is safety and security needs. These can be defined as the need to have stability in life, such as living in a safe neighborhood, having a job with a source of income, and making sure loved ones are safe. This need cannot be met without the need below it is fully accomplished. This applies for all other needs as well.


After safety and security needs, there are love and belonging needs. These include being in a friend group, having a spouse, and maybe even wanting to have kids.


Next is esteem needs. Esteem needs can be defined as the desire to have respect from others. Being able to be recognized and appreciated for one’s actions is an essential part of achieving esteem. This can build up self confidence and societal acceptance. 


Finally, the last need on the hierarchy is self actualization needs. According to Maslow, this is the peak of all human needs. In order to achieve self-actualization, one must seek their best potential. When one reaches this need, they have peaked at all personal growth. However, about only 1% of the adult population has reached self actualization.


But, how does this relate to what goes on in the mind of a school shooter?


Well, because of physiological theories like The Hierarchy of Needs, scientists can have a better idea of what goes on in the mind of a school shooter. 


For example, Nikolas Cruz, a 24 year old man, was accused and charged with a life in jail sentence for the murder of 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School on Feburary 14th, 2018.


Before the incident, no one had thought Cruz had thought of killing anyone, they said that he wouldn’t have touched a fly. However, it all, “came to light” with his confession. 


It had been revealed that Cruz’s birth mother had heavily drank during her pregnancy with him, which made him more likely to have mental deficits. On top of this, Cruz confessed to talking repetitively about the shooting on social media before it happened. Stating things such as, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”


Cruz also stated that one of his main reasons for the shooting was that nobody loved him and that he wanted to ruin Valentine’s Day for everyone who was loved. 


There were many avoidable situations that occurred that could have stopped the unnecessary death of many people. Issues like this could root from many different places, and although we will never exactly know what goes on in the mind of every school shooter, there are ways to identify the signs and  stop them. 


By staying safe in a world that revolves around fear, any impact that could save a life is revolutionary.