Has there ever been an "academically sucessful" school shooter?

A lot of these young males, whatever their academic record, had a history of being bullied or otherwise being a social outcast. In fact, I’d guess that’s a better indicator than GPA or IQ.

The article about Whitman says that he became an Eagle Scout at twelve years three months, reportedly the youngest of any Eagle Scout up to that time.

And there’s still speculation as to whether he was affected by physical and emotional abuse from his father, and by the brain tumor that may have been pressing on his amygdala.

Gang Lu had recently earned a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Iowa when he killed 3 professors, a classmate, and an administrator, and left a secretary permanently disabled, before he killed himself in the fall of 1991.

I was a student there at the time and had taken physics the previous semester (neither my professor nor our lab T.A., who was great, were among the casualties) and recognized all the professors when I saw their pictures in the newspaper.

You assume that school shooters necessarily expect (or even care) to survive? Or don’t realize that their actions are wrong—or at the very least that society would view their actions as wrong?

I understand this is a common trope, that school shooters are (disproportionately relative to classmates) victims of bullying, but is there evidence to support that? Because otherwise it seems like yet another way to “other” victims of bullying: not only must they deal with… whatever it is they’re being (undeservedly) bullied for, they must now also bear the added stigma of being seen as “dangerous” by virtue of… being a victim. Like, this trope has found a way to take the victims of violence perpetrated against them by peers, and then turn around and extrapolate from that that they, the victims, are the real danger to society.

To which I can only go, “Uh, what?”

More recently, there was this woman, who to say the least appeared to have quite a few screws loose.

University of Alabama in Huntsville shooting - Wikipedia.

No. The “school shooters are bullied losers who reach a breaking point” theory came about because of media speculation after Columbine . In fact, the Washington Post reports,

… a look at police records and Harris’s and Klebold’s own writings paint a much more complex portrait, Langman said. Yes, Harris and Klebold were sometimes teased, but they were nowhere near the most bullied in the school and were much more frequently the bullies than the victims of bullies. [bolding mine]

And then there’s this:

Many people believe the stereotype that the shooters are outcasts who are bullied into retaliation against their tormentors. But this characterization of shooters is rarely accurate. Langman’s research, for example, found that many of the shooters were not bullied, and those who were bullied rarely aimed their attacks at the particular students who had picked on them (Langman, 2015, 2017). This finding raises questions about the significance of harassment as a motivation for their attacks.

The people who have been most commonly targeted by shooters are
school administrators who had disciplined the perpetrators, teachers who had failed them, and fellow students who had rejected their friendship or romantic interests.

Thank you. And that last link seems particularly on point.

It would NOT surprise me at all if a school shooter was “academically successful” and got good grades. I remember when I was in school some students on the honor roll who were pushed really hard by their parents to succeed and a few of them ended up crashing or breaking down because the of stress.

So it would NOT be a stretch for me to see someone in THAT position snapping and committing a school shooting.

People like that are much more likely to kill themselves, and only themselves.

If “school” includes university, then we might consider the case of Valery Fabrikant, who shot five people at Concordia University in 1992. Fabrikant was then an associate professor of mechanical engineering. Though he had been denied tenure, you generally don’t get a doctorate and an associate professorship without achieving academic success. Fabrikant has continued to publish research papers, and even a monograph, while serving his life sentence.