Can There be Good News
About Public Violence?

By Rob Morse. Sept 19, 2023

Some of us are afraid of bad news. Most of us know someone who is afraid of going to the doctor because they don't want to make hard decisions about their health. The great news is that most medical conditions can be treated. That emotional reaction is also common when we consider public violence. It is particularly accurate about how we feel about mass-murder. Many of us feel both compelled to watch the news about public violence, while at the same time we want to turn away and pretend it doesn't happen. Let me bring you good news. We learned how to stop mass-murder in several ways. We've done it, so we are talking about actual practice rather than mere theory. The first thing we have to do is get past the fantasy of Hollywood violence and talk about what really happens.

I'm going to go back to the medical model for a moment. I've had friends who oscillated between denial and helplessness. They feel that there can't be a problem, or that the problem is intractable so why bother. They become hopeless and vulnerable to people who sell quack cures. I won't do that to you. I've studied public violence for a decade, and there is real hope to stop mass-murderers. First, we have to set fantasy and our fears aside for a minute.

Part of us knows that what we see from Hollywood isn't real. Yes, we might be caught up in the story. At the same time, part of our mind knows that hundreds of people don't suddenly explode in a flash of flame and get thrown backwards when someone waves a gun around. The truth is that mass-murder is hard, and ordinary citizens stop mass-murderers most of the time. .....


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