Systems and complexity

A systems thinking perspective on guns at school

On 14 February 2018, the world was shocked when 14 students and three staff members were killed in a school mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. The Parkland shooting has been described as one of the world’s deadliest school massacres, and appears to be finally catalyzing change after a long history of school shootings in the United States.

Last weekend, thousands of people turned out for “March for Our Lives” marches in Washington and many other cities across the United States, and what to do to address school and wider gun violence is being hotly debated by politicians and the community.

But what actions can really lead to change?

We’ve seen from the RealKM Magazine systems thinking and modeling series that systems thinking can gives us good insights into complex issues, and we’ve also seen systems thinking used to gain a better understanding of the risk of global conflict.

Now, with thanks to Barry Richmond, you can gain a systems thinking perspective on guns at school.

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes ( is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine ( and currently also teaches in the University of NSW (UNSW) Foundation Studies program in China. He has expertise and experience in a wide range of areas including knowledge management (KM), environmental management, program and project management, writing and editing, stakeholder engagement, communications, and research. Bruce holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction and a Certificate of Technology (Electronics). With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource for knowledge managers, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee the implementation of an award-winning $77.4 million river recovery program in western Sydney on time and under budget, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support communities to sustainably manage landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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