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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2008;36(4):544-50.

School shooting as a culturally enforced way of expressing suicidal hostile intentions.

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Genneruxi Medical Centre, Cagliari, Italy.


Suicide with hostile intent encompasses a wide range of behaviors, from self-killing by methods that can harm others, to the suicide that generally follows a spree-killing raid. Reports on school shooting, a highly dangerous and lethal behavior that is spreading from North America to European countries, are analyzed within the paradigm of suicide with hostile intent, with the purpose of discovering some elements that might prevent and limit the dissemination of this behavior by imitation. In school shooting, the perpetrators often register a message before their killing raid, as in an ancient form of suicidal assault, the devotio, that was widespread across ancient Mediterranean Roman, Greek, and Hebrew cultures. The development of a code of rules to report on these episodes, likely to attract the interest of the population for their bloody implications, could prevent the dissemination of cultural norms that encourage this behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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