The Family Weekly: How Can School Shootings Be Prevented?

Lessons from incidents that were thwarted—and some that weren't

Loren Elliott / Reuters

This Week in Family

On Friday, May 18th, a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, left 10 people dead and over a dozen injured. As shootings persist in America’s schools, families, educators, and politicians are debating how best to prevent a troubled teen from becoming the next gunman.

Barbara Bradley Hagerty examined the history of American school shootings and prevention attempts, to get a better idea of what has worked and what hasn’t. On the Monday following the Santa Fe shooting, she reported that while schools and families can take important steps, there’s a limit to what they can do as long as the teen in question has access to a gun.

“Virtually everyone I spoke with, from the FBI to academic researchers, told me it’s nearly impossible to stop a determined shooter; they’re always one creative step ahead,” Hagerty writes.


This illustration by Niv Bavarsky accompanied Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s piece, “The Futility of Trying to Prevent More School Shootings in America.”

How do you process the news of school shootings? Have you had conversations with family members, teachers, or friends that you’d like to share? Tell us your stories in Homebodies, The Atlantic’s Facebook group for discussing family life.

Dear Therapist

Every Wednesday, the psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb answers readers’ questions about life’s trials and tribulations, big or small, in The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” column.

This week, a reader writes in asking for advice on how to get over her ex of more than 10 years. “ I need some practical help to get him out of my mind,” she says.

Lori’s advice? Figure out what it is you’re concerned about losing:

The hardest thing about “getting over” someone is that in order to move on, we have to figure out what we’re actually grieving. Whenever we go through a breakup, we don’t just break up with our partner—we also break up with our future. By that I mean, the future we had imagined taking place with this person. And when we’re grieving the loss of our past and our future, it’s hard to stay in the present—and do something to improve it.

Send Lori your questions at