Columbine, 20 Years Later and Beyond
Lessons from Tragedy
by Jaclyn Schildkraut and Glenn W. Muschert
January 2019, 234pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6252-6
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6253-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

On April 20, 1999, 12 students and one teacher were killed in a highly publicized episode of school violence that started a cultural shift in how society views and responds to mass shootings.

This powerful retrospective analysis of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting aftermath considers society's response to the attack, long-term implications of the shooting, and the ways in which research and related policy must continue to move forward.

An indispensable resource for anyone interested in learning about the long-term impact of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, Columbine, 20 Years Later and Beyond provides a comprehensive look at how the event unfolded, what has changed since the attack, and how this information can be used to prevent future mass shootings.

Authors Jaclyn Schildkraut and Glenn Muschert, both experts on mass shootings, share their broad understanding of this tragedy and its aftermath. Columbine became the measuring stick against which all other mass shootings would be compared, and this book details with great sensitivity the ensuing changes to school security, law enforcement’s response to active shooter situations, threat assessment practices, legislative efforts, and media coverage of unfolding situations. With delicacy and tact, Schildkraut and Muschert help to answer the painful question raised by a stone on the wall of the Columbine Memorial: “What have we learned?”.


  • Analyzes the broad cultural impact of the Columbine High School shooting
  • Reviews changes in police responses that have developed since the day of the attack
  • Examines warning signs that pre-dated the attack and how threat assessment has advanced to preclude similar tragedies
  • Explores legislative responses in the aftermath and why they were not successful
  • Considers the lessons learned in the 20 years after the shooting and how they can be used to prevent future acts of mass violence
Jaclyn Schildkraut, PhD, is associate professor of criminal justice at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego. Her research interests include mass/school shootings, homicide trends, mediatization effects, moral panics, and crime theories. She is coauthor of Mass Shootings: Media, Myths, and Realities and editor of Mass Shootings in America: Understanding the Debates, Causes, and Responses. She has published in numerous journals, including Homicide Studies;American Journal of Criminal Justice; Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology;Journal of Crime and Justice; Crime, Law and Social Change; and Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society, and in several edited volumes.

Glenn W. Muschert, PhD, is professor of sociology at Khalifa University of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi (UAE). He earned a BS in international studies from Drexel University (USA) and a PhD in sociology from the University of Colorado, Boulder (USA). His previous appointments include professor of sociology and social justice studies and faculty affiliate in comparative media studies at Miami University (USA). He has also served temporary appointments at Purdue University (USA) and Erzincan University (Turkey). His research interests lie in the intersection of crime and deviance, digital sociology, and media studies. He has edited numerous academic volumes and journal special issues and has written numerous journal articles and chapters in academic volumes in the fields of sociology, criminology, and media studies.


"Recommended. All readership levels."—Choice, December 1, 2019

"This book is a comprehensive analysis of the wide-ranging influence of the most notorious school shooting in America. The authors explore what has changed as a result of Columbine, as well as the areas where progress has not occurred. From the impact on survivors of mass shootings to the tactics of first responders, from media coverage of rampage attacks to legislative attempts to change firearm laws, from school safety procedures to the influence on subsequent shooters, Schildkraut and Muschert document the nation’s response to a traumatic event that continues to shape our culture twenty years later.”—Peter Langman, PhD, Author of School Shooters: Understanding High School, College, and Adult Perpetrators and Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters

"Jaclyn Schildkraut and Glenn W. Muschert have done a magnificent job in documenting the lessons we have learned from Columbine over the past 20 years. Even the most knowledgeable persons will learn from this masterful work. Columbine, 20 Years Later and Beyond fills a glaring gap in our knowledge about the shootings and their effects on the Columbine community and America. Although scholarly and fact-based, the book reveals the authors’ sensitivity and compassion for all those affected by the event. It is a must-read for anyone who is seriously interested in the Columbine shootings and their subsequent impact on American society. Columbine was a watershed event that had wide-ranging and lasting effects on our country; it had worldwide ramifications. Because of its notoriety, much has been written in the wake of Columbine that has been ill-informed, misleading, biased, and shortsighted. In this book, Schildkraut and Muschert have provided a much-needed corrective. They offer a comprehensive and unbiased analysis of the event and its impact. They are to be congratulated on their efforts to set the record straight. It could not come at a better time. Presently any significant historical event is used by ideologists who apparently have no familiarity with the truth to proffer interpretations to enhance their own political views. In cases such as Columbine, where pundits have thrown blame at their favorite targets, such as liberal parenting, removing prayer from schools, toleration of gender diversity, lack of armed teachers, and such that have nothing to do with the actual event, it is important for knowledgeable researchers to provide sober and sensible analyses. This is the glory of Schildkraut and Muschert’s efforts. The truth lives in their work. It is thoughtful, well documented, and evenhanded. I recommend this work without reservation. It is a significant continuation of the contributions of the many scholars who have tried to provide cogent analyses of how Columbine fits into the fabric of American society."—Ralph W. Larkin, PhD, Professor of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Author of Comprehending Columbine

"In their outstanding volume, Schildkraut and Muschert examine every important thing you have ever wanted to know about the Columbine massacre. Viewing Columbine as a watershed cultural event, the authors provide an amazingly perceptive analysis of the larger problem of mass shootings at schools around the country. Anyone who seeks enlightenment regarding this thorny social problem—criminologists, psychologists, and intelligent laypeople alike—cannot afford to ignore this volume’s important lessons."—Jack Levin, PhD, The Brudnick Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Criminology and Codirector of the Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University, and Coauthor of The Allure of Premeditated Murder
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