News Tip: Duke Legal Scholar Says U.S. School Shootings May Be Spreading To Other Countries

The rash of school shootings that previously had been restricted to the United States may be leaking to countries previously immune to its violence, says Doriane Lambelet Coleman, a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University Law School. Reports Friday of a student opening fire in a German high school and killing 18 people and injuring another six before shooting himself were stunning because the prevalence of school shootings has been an American phenomenon, says Coleman, who is the author of Fixing Columbine: The Challenge to American Liberalism. "In general, the pattern in these cases is a combination of three things: hopelessness, the ability to model behavior after real-life or media-based scenarios and access to weapons," Coleman said. The German attacker had recently been expelled from school and reportedly carried a handgun and a pump-action shotgun. Ironically, she added, this is the week of the third anniversary of the United States' worst such shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Coleman is the author of numerous articles about the tragedy at Columbine and the ways in which culture - domestic and foreign - affects women and children as they are treated in the law. Coleman, who teaches courses in children and the law, can be reached for additional comment at (919) 613-7075.