Instead of asking what role guns, drugs, or mental health may play in school shootings, perhaps we should ask what role the “school institution” may play: confinement, boredom, indoctrination, pressure, bullying, impersonality, etc. One thing is sure: Absent crowded public schools, there would be fewer mass shooting opportunities. Another thing sure: Absent the public-school monopoly, humans would still think and learn as they always have, but likely more happily; according to their individual interests and abilities.
“School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, brutal violations of common sense and common decency. It doesn’t take a reasonably bright boy long to discover that most of what is rammed into him is nonsense, and that no one really cares very much whether he learns it or not.” —H. L. Mencken