Five Ways to Reduce Mass Shootings

Christian Science Monitor, by Patrik Jonsson: (At the link you can read the whole article.)

In my judgment, the issue is not so much gun control but a gun culture.

Experts see five areas in which progress could be made in reducing mass shootings:

1)  Threat assessment

In a nondescript FBI building near Washington, D.C., sits Behavioral Unit No. 2, a federal threat assessment laboratory that disseminates its strategies to pinpoint potential havoc-makers to local police departments. Its mission to spot potential domestic mass shooters was added onto the FBI’s profiling wing in 2010, as an outgrowth of counter-terror activities going back to 9/11. Many of its interventions don’t involve arrest, but rather helping someone get help to address mental health issues.

It is not a perfect system.

2)  Common sense gun controls

No, the science is not settled on whether stronger gun control laws actually quell mass gun violence. In the case of San Bernardino, the weapons were bought legally. Also, California already has some of the strongest gun control laws in the country.

But “there’s such a clear middle ground” in the gun control debate “because you can stem gun violence without taking away guns,” says Jonathan Metzl, director of the Center for Medicine, Health and Society, at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tenn.

Experts would like to see more of that middle ground employed.

3) Citizen defenders

In terms of compromise, if gun owners cede new checks on gun ownership, then gun control proponents may have to concede points of their own, specifically that lawful gun-carry by responsible Americans can have a role in deterring, or in certain cases, stopping mass killers once an attack has begun.

4) The science of violence

Why is America, one of the bastions of scientific breakthroughs on the globe, so hesitant to better understand the fundamental dynamics of how guns, if at all, promote violence?

Partisan politics is the obvious answer to why Congress has for 20 years blocked the Centers for Disease Control from using public funds to study gun violence, worried that the data will be used for gun control advocacy. But even deeper is a long-running distrust between the NRA and gun control advocates about each other’s true intentions.

5) Celebrate victims, shun shooters

A free, vigorous press is enshrined in the Constitution as one of the highlights of American democracy. Yet studies have shown that current coverage of mass shootings likely fuel what experts call a “contagion effect,” given that many modern mass shooters emulate their “heroes” and yearned for their own infamy.

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