Systems & 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.

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Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes ( is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (, and a knowledge management (KM), environmental management, and project management professional. He is a PhD candidate in the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group at Wageningen University and Research, and holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction. His expertise and experience includes knowledge management (KM), environmental management, project management, stakeholder engagement, teaching and training, communications, research, and writing and editing. 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, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee an award-winning $77.4 million western Sydney river recovery program, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support the sustainable management of landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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