In Episode 41 of my health podcast, Causes or Cures, I chat with national expert Dr. Jaclyn Schildkraut about mass shooters and how to respond to mass shootings. Though the pandemic has affected school openings, a lot of kids and college students are returning to their classrooms this Fall, including my nieces and nephews. Recently I had a conversation with my older sister about the School Resource Officer ( SRO) at my nephew’s school. Some parents wanted him/her removed, while others felt the SRO was important for the kids’ safety. There was a lot of tension.. and I imagined that was an argument a lot of schools and parents were having. Anyhow, the conversation got me thinking about hot to respond to mass shootings. Well, not just how to respond, but if there was anyway to profile mass shooters and identify them before they commit an atrocity. I also wondered what the best preventive and response strategies were, and what role the media should play, if any.
You know, how we respond after a mass shooting has become somewhat predictable. The shooter’s name is on every news channel and trending on all the social media platforms. Once folks know the name, they google to find out why he/she did what they did. Then everyone immediately becomes an expert on why it happened and what to do to prevent them. It often turns into a pro-gun vs anti-gun debate or a debate about “mental health.” Then the victims’ names appear in the media and we learn a little bit about who they were. Then we brace ourselves for another one, because mass shootings remain a uniquely American problem.
The truth is, we are not all experts on mass shootings or mass shooters, we just have a lot of opinions. ;) But, Dr. Schildkraut is, so I invited her on my podcast to clear up some of the common misconceptions we have about mass shootings. On the podcast, she discusses whether or not it is possible to profile mass shooters, what role the media should play, and the best, evidence-base prevention and response strategies. She also discusses her recent research on school lockdown drills and provides advice on how to conduct them and provides trusted websites to visit for helpful tips. Honestly, I did more listening than talking during this podcast, because Dr. Schildkraut is so well-informed on this topic. I learned a lot, and I think it’s a great podcast for parents, teachers, and even students to listen to. Not only does she provide evidence-based wisdom on how to respond to mass shootings, but the act of informing yourself can be empowering and help reduce your anxiety around this issue. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious and nervous about mass shootings, but knowing that there are actionable, life-saving steps you can take, should help ease your fears, at least a little.
Dr. Schildkraut is a national expert on mass shootings. She earned her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Texas State University and is currently an associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York at Oswego. She is highly published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, and the majority of her research focuses on mass and school shootings, media effects, social problems, moral panic, school safety and survivor needs. She’s made numerous media appearances and is the author of several books, including Columbine, 20 Years Later and Beyond: Lessons from Tragedy, Mass Shootings, Media, Myths and Realities, and Lights, Camera, Execution!: Cinematic Portrayals of Capital Punishment.
Hope you listen, share and subscribe! Causes or Cures is my “grassroots” podcast. I record all episodes from my apartment in NYC and try to make them as organic as possible. My goal is to bring on experts/researchers/stakeholders on hot health or public health topics and discuss the topics in easy-to-understand ways. So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, so I’m grateful for that. If you ever have any idea for a podcast, just shoot me a message here.
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