While inci­dents like the one at UCF – par­tic­u­larly in the con­text of other recent shoot­ings – can lead to talk of an epi­demic, it’s also impor­tant to keep the threat level in per­spec­tive, says Jack Levin, a crim­i­nology pro­fessor at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity who has done research on mass killers.

The col­lege campus is still the safest loca­tion in our society,” says Pro­fessor Levin, noting that there are fewer acts of vio­lence – and fewer ram­page shoot­ings – there than any­where else.

Still, he says, it’s very pos­sible that height­ened dis­cus­sion of these inci­dents can spark copy­cats – one reason there is some­times a string of sim­ilar shoot­ings, as with the school shoot­ings in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as stu­dents took inspi­ra­tion from others and sought notoriety.

And, like Kiss and Mr. Trump, Levin notes that early inter­ven­tions usu­ally offer the best chance for pre­venting a shooting from taking place.

There are warning signs, but the problem is that we wait until a stu­dent is trou­ble­some, we wait until he wants to kill, before we inter­vene, and then it’s too late,” says Levin. “We should be inter­vening early on, when a stu­dent is not yet dan­gerous, not trou­ble­some but troubled.”

Read the article at The Christian Science Monitor →