Despite making my home in the U.S. more than a decade ago, I still share the bewilderment of outsiders when it comes to mass school shootings. It is a peculiarly American disease and one that the political establishment appears unable or unwilling to address in any meaningful way.

And it never gets easier to comprehend. Trying to make sense of why an 18-year-old gunman would walk into a school and shoot dead 19 kids and two adults is, in any ways, futile. But we can try and bring context to what happened. And that is what criminologists James Densley and Jillian Peterson have done with their article looking at the rise of mass school shootings in the U.S.

Such is the frequency of this uniquely American problem, that Densley and Peterson have been able to build a database of mass public shootings and with that a profile of the gunmen involved. “Their path to violence involves self-hate and despair turned outward at the world. The key to stopping these tragedies is for society to be alert to these warning signs and act on them immediately,” they write.

Of course, many people outside the U.S. will suggest there is a different “key” to preventing such atrocities: gun control. Why, even after the mass murder of children, such measures tend to fail – with some states even loosening their gun restrictions – will form the basis of two articles due to be published later today.

Matt Williams

Breaking News Editor, New York

The archbishop of San Antonio, Gustavo Garcia-Siller, comforts families following a deadly school shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

What we know about mass school shootings in the US – and the gunmen who carry them out

James Densley, Metropolitan State University ; Jillian Peterson, Hamline University

Of the 13 mass school shootings that have taken place in the US, the three most deadly occurred in the last decade. Data from these attacks helped criminologists build a profile of the gunmen.

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust in 1972: ‘an androgynous rockstar from outer space’. Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

David Bowie and the birth of environmentalism: 50 years on, how Ziggy Stardust and the first UN climate summit changed our vision of the future

David Larsson Heidenblad, Lund University

In June 1972, the first United Nations conference on the human environment coincided with the release of David Bowie’s iconic Ziggy Stardust album. Both still feel disturbingly relevant today

AC Milan is celebrating its first Scudetto after 11 years. AC Milan's offiial twitter account.

AC Milan Serie A win carries lessons in team building, mentorship and organisation

Riza Casidy, Macquarie University

Italian football club AC Milan is finally awarded the Scudetto after more than a decade. Its prudent financial management is an example how money does not always guarantee a trophy.