Teens worked in three groups: blue, maroon, and green.

Each group developed a causal map, also referred to as a casual loop diagram (CLD), to visualize the problem of gun violence. CLDs capture behaviors between variables and are used to identify feedback loops, or places in the system where variables are self-reinforcing or balancing, that create vicious or virtuous cycles.

One example of a reinforcing feedback loop (labeled as ‘R’) is that the perception of fear in a neighborhood increases the number of people who leave the neighborhood. This leads to more vacant houses in the neighborhood, which in turn creates more fear in the neighborhood.

An example of a balancing feedback loop (labeled as ‘B’) in this example is neighborhood beautification, which leads to less fear in the neighborhood, that in turn leads to more people wanting to live in that neighborhood, and thus results in less fear.

Common feedback loops identified by teens included the following:

Experiencing gun violence increases traumatization, depression, and anger, and thus also increases one’s fear in their community and the desire to protect oneself using guns, thus increasing gun violence.

Experiences of discrimination or bullying increase the desire for revenge and protection, and this increases the attractiveness of gangs and the need to define one’s reputation and power, thus increasing gun violence.

Gun violence decreases the quality of the neighborhood, reducing the quality of education available for young people, decreasing positive problem-solving skills used by young people, ultimately increasing gun violence.

When the quality of one’s neighborhood is poor, it increases fear in a neighborhood, and this increases one’s desire to use guns and may ultimately increase the instance of gun violence.

Following the summit, the three models were synthesized into a single model.