Deliberating in the Aftermath of Mass Shootings

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Rood, Craig James
Graduate Program:
Communication Arts and Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
May 08, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Rosa A Eberly, Dissertation Advisor
  • James Hogan, Committee Member
  • Kirtley Hasketh Wilson, Committee Member
  • Cheryl Jean Glenn, Committee Member
  • rhetoric
  • deliberation
  • blame
  • mass shootings
  • mentally illness
  • guns
"Deliberating in the Aftermath of Mass Shootings" examines ascriptions of blame in the aftermath of mass shootings and how those ascriptions of blame call forth or imply changes in values, practices, and policies. The project begins with the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, continues with the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and ends with the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. The three case studies examine how the U.S.’s alleged “culture of violence,” how mental illness, and how guns are implicated in the rhetoric of blame. In addition to providing a thick description of key debates following mass shootings, I argue that the concept of blame helps rhetorical scholars account for deliberation about public problems.