8 signs of a future tragedy: how to understand what the teenager is ready to kill

Another teenager came to school with a knife. This time in Moscow. And 6 years ago in the USA 20-year-old Adam Peter Lanza from the small town of sandy hook, shot 20 first graders, 6 teachers and committed suicide. The families of the victims came together and formed the organization Sandy Hook Promise. They seek to prevent further tragedies in schools. “Pravmir” translated the user manual of the organization.

27 wooden angels were installed in front of the school sandy hook after the tragedy
Photo: Huffington Post

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People who are willing to hurt yourself or others, there are often common signs and symptoms.

  • 80% of teenagers who planned a mass murder at the school, told about his plans before the crime.
  • 70% of people who committed suicide, they shared their plans with others and showed some signs.

When you don’t know what exactly to pay attention, it’s easy to miss important signs of the future tragedy, or deem them insignificant. It is important to understand that one warning sign does not mean that a person is planning an act of violence, but, if alarming beacons becomes too much and they are observed for a long time, it may indicate that the person may cause harm to themselves and others.

Learn to see these signs, you have the power to intervene and help the person. Your actions may save a life.

Important warning signs

  • Illegal and easy access to firearms, bragging about owning a gun;
  • Written and verbal (gestures, photos, videos) threats of violence;
  • A powerful infatuation or obsession with firearms.
  • Excessive study of firearms and mass killings/executions;
  • Teenagers, willing to harm themselves and others, can be a victim of prolonged bullying and perceive herself the object of harassment and persecution;
  • The extreme sense of isolation in connection with the real or imaginary actions or the environment which could lead to further feelings of social exclusion;
  • Over-reaction and aggression for minor reasons, which indicates the difficulties in containing emotions or controlling anger;
  • Outbursts of anger and sudden problems with academic performance.
  • If you noticed some warning signs, act immediately and decisively. Contact law enforcement, contact with schools and experts in the field of mental health.


    Additional warning signs and signals:
    Excessive aggression and/or lack of self-control

    • The lack of coping mechanisms, anger management or conflict resolution skills;
    • Explicit threats of violence in any form;
    • The Commission of several offences, especially at a young age (under 10 years);
    • Recurrent episodes of impulsive behavior;
    • The regular intimidation of others.

    Chronic social isolation

    • A victim of permanent social exclusion or marginalization;
    • The sudden failure of communication and participation in any activity;
    • Blaming others for your own failures.

    Threatening behaviour

    • Carried a weapon to school;
    • Bragging about the upcoming attack;
    • Offer friends to join the attack;
    • Caution friends not to come to school or to the event.

    Mental disorders and/or behavioural abnormalities

    • Diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness;
    • Significant changes in diet or sleep;
    • Deterioration of school work or extra classes;
    • The thoughts of murder;
    • Significant changes in nature;
    • Dramatic changes in appearance;
    • Psychological trauma in childhood.

    Signs of suicide teen

    • Talking about suicide or planning suicide;
    • Expresses hopelessness about the future;
    • Showing signs of emotional pain or stress;
    • Shows warning signals in behavior, particularly when the above signs. Including:
  • Changes or abandonment of social ties
  • Change in sleep (both increase and decrease the duration of sleep)
  • Causeless anger or hostility
  • Increased anxiety/agitation, or irritability
  • Antisocialist

    • Negative idols/role models/peer groups;
    • Dishonesty, denial, social norms, and hostility to the law;
    • Lack of discipline, repeated failure to comply with the rules;
    • Serious damage to possessions/property;
    • Intolerance of different people, bias;
    • The use of drugs and alcohol abuse.

    Translation from English: Eleanor Bagrina

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