Abstract: This paper focuses on a four-phase approach for describing the process whereby a school shooter realizes the activities leading up to the attack Desire to Act, Authority to Act, Means to Act, and Opportunity to Act. Greater emphasis is given to the first two phases, and the concept of ‘Authority to Act” is examined closely. Confronted with the awful reality of a school shooting, one of the most difficult questions in everyone’s mind is, “How could they do such a thing”? The answer lies in the belief that they have the authority to act and a better understanding of this component may one day provide enhanced tools for prevention. A systems thinking approach is used to discover key relationships within the problem set that lead to new insights into the true nature of the problem. This paper will use this modern set of tools to investigate the causal factors which influence school shooters.