Since I wrote the blog, there have been 11 mass shootings which killed 106 people. Additionally, there were two shootings in the past 14 days.
Historically we have been unable to study those that commit these acts as many are shot and killed during their rampage or commit suicide afterwards. Robert Aaron Long, age 21, killed 6 Asian Americans in Atlanta. He legally purchased the assault rifle that he used in the attack. He was reportedly “tortured by his sex addiction” and said, “Asian women were part of the addiction.” He said that he was targeting massage parlors. Despite his claims that it was not racially motivated, given that he targeted Asian women-his actions suggest otherwise. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, age 21, killed 10 people in Boulder this past week. He also passed the background check. It was reported that he was bullied for being Muslim and demonstrated some paranoia, but didn’t exhibit anything else that was a red flag.
Next month, a book will be released that looks at the perpetrators of such acts. The book is “From a Taller Tower: The Rise of the American Mass Shooter” by Seamus McGraw.
The argument for universal background checks or putting distance between people who are of concern and their access to guns seems to be a weak one given that so many shooters pass the background checks. Additionally, someone who is restricted from guns, can easily purchase one on the internet. Most Americans feel there needs to be swift action from Congress, but many have little faith that our elected officials will do much to address the issue. Attitudes vary on the cause and ability of legislation to reduce mass shootings.
Myths and perceptions continue to make the issue difficult to resolve. **Here are a few:
- Fear of mass shootings in the United States is a bigger concern than the threat of Middle East terrorism. These views cut across the political spectrum. Few feel that President Trump or other recent presidents have made the country safer from such acts of violence.
- Most agree that inadequate mental health services are a key component to the problem. Progressives feel the types of weapons are the cause and conservatives point to family and parenting as a cause of the problem.
- Most support regulating firearms, but few want to stop manufacturing guns or remove guns all together.
- Most want universal background checks.
Given the repetition of the issues discussed in this blog over the years, taking certain assault rifles off the market may be the only solution and one that few people will support.
It’s also important to make sure that those with mental health issues, a history of domestic violence and people who have been involved with crime are unable to purchase a gun. I hope that if I write another blog on this topic in March of 2024, things will have improved dramatically.
**Brookings Institute 4/22/19
Kay Gimmestad, LCSW-C is a business coach and clinician in New York City with 20 years of experience working in the profit and not for profit sectors of Human Resources, Health and Human Services. She has built a reputation for being highly skilled in facilitating behavior change while working with employees, both individually and in groups, on matters relating to performance management, substance abuse, crisis intervention, and stress/wellness.