Tipping Point


Behind every obstacle there lies a possibility. This was Gladwell’s assertion. There is that significant moment when a new trend significantly and suddenly takes a dramatic change. Gladwell considers this factor to be the tipping point. Copy cat effect in school shooting in the United States is a good example of a tipping point.  The rapid spread of school shooting is also an example of a tipping point. There is a tipping point that makes a student to start thinking of shooting another student. Additionally, there must be a tipping point associated with shooting trends in schools. Some students who assume that shooting others is satisfying copy the others who have done the shooting before. Twenty years ago, only few people believed that the copycat effect exists. Some academicians and sociologists engage themselves in debates about whether there is a link between violence leading to other violence, or killings leading to other killings.

Within the first decade of the twenty-first century, it became obvious that copycat effect exists. The impact of copycat effect is being felt far and wide. However, the greatest impact is felt in schools where school children shoot others. In this case, shooting is considered to be the tipping point. What authorities try to do is to fight these tipping points. However, the more they try to fight it, the more they spread and they do so at a rapid rate. The school shooters try to make their actions sound more outstanding than the previous ones. Gladwell broke down the important elements of tipping points into three factors; the infectious agent who in this case is person who started the school shootings, the transmitter of the infection who in this case is every student who copies the infectious agent, and the environment in which the tipping point functions and in this case the environment is the school.

 In his book, Gladwell argued that it takes only few people to create an epidemic, which means that these few people will perform most of the actions that will ultimately tip things towards epidemic proportions or dynamic change. The data on school shootings illuminate the too-obvious patterns and reveal the secret. The news that burst onto the screens and radios today, lead directly into tomorrow’s next series of shootings- all due to copycat effects. Gladwell broke these exceptional people into three categories; connectors are the people who cultivate many different contacts from many places; mavens are the experts who help people with their knowledge and; salesmen are highly charismatic people who take over from where the connectors and mavens leave off, convincing the less won people.

A series of shootings that were witnessed in 1998 were fueled by Jacob Davis, 18, who shot dead his classmates at Lincoln High School. Lincoln County High school killings set a pattern for other killings, which followed in few months time. Jacob Davis takes the role of a Maven because Mavens are the originators of a trend. The connectors took over and conducted a series of other shootings. In this case the connectors were two middle school boys, 11 and 13 who shot fellow students and a teacher five days after Lincoln’s incident. These connectors killed four girls, a teacher and wounded ten people. After the second incident salesmen took over and made school shootings a horrible routine, which almost showed some kind of copycat contagion occurring. The copycat effect is the phenomenon through which school shooting incidents spawn shooting incidents of the same type, and therefore, it becomes a good example of tipping point.


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