There has been another school shooting in the United States. This time it was at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The gunman killed three students and critically injured five before killing himself.

What would be an unthinkable tragedy in any other country is so common in the United States that two MSU students who were physically unharmed in this attack also survived previous school shootings. One student was a sixth grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 when a gunman killed 26 students, teachers and staff. Another student was a senior at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, Michigan, in 2021 when a teen gunman killed four of his schoolmates. As is also common in the U.S., before the week was out, there was a second shooting, this one at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas. It left one person dead and three injured.

Criminologists David Riedman and James Densley, who maintain databases of mass shootings in the U.S., explain how the MSU attack compared with previous ones, shedding light on how future tragedies could be averted.

Their research shows that mass shooters tend to be boys and men who are in a noticeable crisis and communicate their intent to do harm before they pull the trigger. What’s more, if family, friends and co-workers know the warning signs of violence and how to report them, there is an opportunity to stop violence from occurring.

Lorna Grisby

Senior Politics & Society Editor

A tent covers the body of the alleged gunman at Michigan State University. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Michigan State murders: What we know about campus shootings and the gunmen who carry them out

David Riedman, University of Central Florida; James Densley, Metropolitan State University

A gunman at Michigan State University shot dead three people before taking his own life. Two criminologists explain how the incident fits a pattern of campus attacks.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has announced that she will not seek reelection in 2024. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senator Dianne Feinstein will retire in 2024, bringing a groundbreaking career to a close

Lincoln Mitchell, Columbia University

Most Americans know Dianne Feinstein as a US senator. But for voters in San Francisco, she will forever be remembered as the woman who stepped in at a tragic and traumatic moment to lead the city.

Opposition deputies protest as the first stage of controversial judicial reform is approved by the Knesset Law Committee on Feb. 13, 2023. Photo by Israeli Parliament (Knesset) / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Israel enters a dangerous period – public protests swell over Netanyahu’s plan to limit the power of the Israeli Supreme Court

Dov Waxman, University of California, Los Angeles

Huge pro-democracy demonstrations in Israel have taken place for almost two months in protest of new rules for the Supreme Court that Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government is rushing into law.

A diverse Supreme Court grapples with affirmative action, with its justices of color split sharply on the meaning of ‘equal protection’

Miguel Schor, Drake University; Erin Lain, Drake University

Most Americans believe that racial inequality is a significant problem. They also believe that affirmative action programs aimed at reducing those inequalities are a problematic tool.

Earthquake in Turkey exposes gap between seismic knowledge and action – but it is possible to prepare

Louise K. Comfort, University of Pittsburgh; Burcak Basbug Erkan, Middle East Technical University; Polat Gulkan, Başkent University

Turkey has repeatedly attempted to improve its earthquake preparedness. So what went wrong?

Tribes in Maine left out of Native American resurgence by 40-year-old federal law denying their self-determination

Joseph Kalt, Harvard Kennedy School; Amy Besaw Medford, Harvard Kennedy School; Jonathan B. Taylor, Harvard Kennedy School

After 40 years living under a federal law that denied Maine’s Wabanaki Nations the ability to govern themselves, the tribes have been left out of the prosperity other tribes have attained.

How video evidence is presented in court can hold sway in cases like the beating death of Tyre Nichols

Sandra Ristovska, University of Colorado Boulder

Jurors can perceive events in a video in different ways – one of which depends on how the evidence is presented in court, a media scholar explains.

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