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How can we reach young, isolated men like the Uvalde, Texas school shooter?

Jae C. Hong/AP Photo
AP Photo
Crosses with the names of Tuesday's shooting victims are placed outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. | Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

On this edition of Your Call, we'll discuss how we can reach young men facing isolation, bullying, and family struggles before they're driven to extreme acts of violence.

The 18-year-old gunman who carried out a massacre at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas last Tuesday was dealing with bullying and a difficult home life, according to reports. Peers also say he had a pattern of violent relationships, threatened teen girls online, shot at random people with a BB gun, and hurt animals.

Over the past decade, the majority of mass shooters were severely bullied and had a history of disciplinary trouble, according to a Secret Service study that analyzed 41 similar school attacks.


Aaron Stark, public speaker and mental health advocate, best known for his Tedx Talk, "I Was Almost A School Shooter"

Dr. Gary Barker, developmental psychologist, president and CEO of Equimundo: Center for Masculinities and Social Justice

Dr. Kristin Anderson, professor of psychology at the Center for Critical Race Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown, and author of Enraged, Rattled, and Wronged: Entitlement’s Response to Social Progress

Web Resources:

The New York Times: The Texas gunman had few friends in high school, classmates say

The Texas Tribune: Before massacre, Uvalde gunman frequently threatened teen girls online

Independent: Texas shooter Salvador Ramos’s classmate claims he ‘loved hurting animals’

The Colorado Sun: Secret Service study: Most school shooters were badly bullied, showed warning signs

Politico: Two Professors Found What Creates a Mass Shooter. Will Politicians Pay Attention?

Bee Soll is a producer with Your Call at KALW, and a producer, writer, and editor at KCBS Radio in San Francisco. She is a former reporter for Crosscurrents and contributor at KPFA Radio. Follow @bee_soll for Bay Area news!
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.