Why on earth did I start a mass shooting prevention program with zero knowledge in the field? Because I didn’t see anything happening. Just one mass shooting after another. I have little ones and on occasion I would drop them off at school, give them kisses, and think, “my God, mass shootings happen everywhere, it could totally happen here.” It would terrify me then I’d quickly slip back into avoidance, denial and get my coffee.
Then, a couple years ago my mother-in-law sent me an LA Times article that pointed to commonalities among mass shooters, one of which was a history of trauma and being in crisis. The more I read the more I realized that mass shooters are not monsters or sociopaths; they’re our neighbors, they’re our kids. They are every day people who, at one point, experienced trauma, often bullying, a horrendous loss, humiliation, abandonment, or some other life crisis that never got addressed. And they want to be heard.
Then I heard about a sixth grade girl who shot up her school in 2021.
That 11-year-old girl was not a monster, she was a child in crisis. So I started reading, a lot. I started researching the underlying causes of the seething anger we see in mass shooters. What I learned is that we desperately need to get to these people when they’re in pain, trying to get our attention, before they become cold, numb and vengeful. And what I read over and over again was that there are behavioral warning signs that are often missed, underappreciated, minimized, and simply not reported. The signs are there and we’re just not seeing it.
I’m not a mass shooting expert and I’m not an academic. I am a mom to a 1st grader and 2nd grader and a social worker. The social worker in me wants to find out what makes mass shooter’s tick and find out why we have most mass shootings in the entire world. Our society is sick. We need a whopping paradigm shift. And the mom in me feels like I have to do something, anything. So I continue to read and research mass shooting literature. Check out my website at seethesigns.us if you’re interested. Until next time: stay safe, stay positive, have hope.