Here is what I am finding:Link to the website for Coleman's "Copycat Effect" book, with the full text of this essay. Here's a related post on his blog, in which he predicts more shootings in October as the social contagion spreads during this present cycle. Here's a related news item: "Six school shootings in less than six weeks: experts comment on cluster," in Canadian Press.
* Most contemporary school shootings tend to occur primarily during two periods of the school year - at the beginning (late Aug through October) and near the the end of the academic year (March-April).
* Copycats follow a regular temporal pattern that repeats - these could be after a primary media event in a day, a week, two weeks, a month, a year, ten years - vulnerable humans have internal media clocks.
* Copycats imitate the previous violent attacks, oftentimes down to specific details as that mirror the previous specifics of the shooter, the victims, and the methods.
* "Celebrity" events have a far-reaching impact and modeling effect -- so, of course, Columbine serves as a dark cloud over many school shootings.
One of the silliest things I have heard from cable news in the last several days during mid-September 2006, is that "these school shootings aren't like the other school shootings." This is short-sighted, and factually untrue.
Before the current model (post-1996) in which a member of the student body would go into their own school and kill fellow students, the pattern was one of outsiders -- often adults -- going into schools and killing students. In my book, I discuss some of the more infamous cases (...). Every year is different, and a fresh view must be considered based upon observations that are right in front of our eyes. What I do at the beginning of a new school year is to see if there is an emerging pattern that will be the re-worked "copycat" model for the new school year. To me, it was and is obvious where we were going this year.
Here's what I see: a mix of outsiders invading school, and students making plans too (...)