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“Lost Boys” author weighs in on Littleton

Yale Medicine Magazine, 1999 - Summer


Access to weapons, violent role models in the media, spiritual emptiness and a history of trouble are among the risk factors that can precipitate teen violence, said James Garbarino, Ph.D., director of the Family Life Development Center and professor of human development at Cornell University. Garbarino’s talk on May 6, “Lost Boys: Pathways to Violence,” came two weeks after the high-school massacre in Littleton, Colo., that left 15 dead, including two high-school gunmen.

“[The cause] is not one thing, it’s an accumulation of risk factors,” Garbarino said during the second in a series of lectures marking the opening this fall of the Neison and Irving Harris Building of the Child Study Center. “With one or two risk factors, kids do fine. With three or four risk factors they go over the line.” But Garbarino saw cause for optimism in the tragedy. “This is obviously a time of despair, but also an opportunity to help people mobilize in caring, thoughtful ways,” he said.

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