SMC Blog Post

A copy of a blog post written by Jon in June 2013 can be found here:

From the Methods section of the dissertation:

“For purposes of transparency, I feel that it is necessary to disclose a personal experience of mine that would appear unethical to withhold due to the nature of the subject matter. On June 7, 2013, I was in the school library at Santa Monica College when 23 year old John Zawahri walked into the building with a gun and opened fire. I did not know him, nor was I close enough in proximity to witness the events. However, I did experience being in a situation in which a person opened fire in the building I was in and I feared for my life. I ran with a mass of people out of the library and was able to escape unharmed (for further transparency, a copy of the blog post that I wrote that night that detailed my feelings hours after the event are available on this study’s website: here). John Zawahri killed five people and wounded four before he was fatally shot by police. However, he did not leave behind a publicly available personal narrative, and therefore is not included as one of the subjects of this study.[1] I also had a friend that I knew from high school who was in the vicinity of Elliot Rodgers’s mass shooting in Isla Vista on May 23, 2014; however, I have not had extensive communication with this friend in the time since the shooting outside of expressing gratitude for their safety and solidarity in having shared similar experiences. This person was not made aware of the current study and I have no reason to believe any findings from this study could create a circumstance that would impact the integrity of my analysis. Other than these instances, I do not have any further personal association with any mass shootings, whether included in this study or otherwise.

I attest that my intentions for undergoing this study were not explicitly related to my personal experience. My interest in mass shootings piqued after Columbine when I was nine years old and continued as I grew up during the rise of school shooter culture. This dissertation is an exploration into the personal experience of fellow human beings who committed these shootings. I have nothing to gain by obtaining particular findings and have done all in my ability to hold myself to appropriate standards in order to ensure the integrity of the study.”

[1] It was reported that John Zawahri had a handwritten farewell letter on his person that expressed an apology for killing his brother and father and hoping his mother would be taken care of (Gorman, 2013). This letter was never made publicly available and does not appear to be include a personal narrative.