Experts Believe a Contagion Effect Could be Tied to Recent Mass Shootings
To separate mass shooting prevention from suicide prevention is a mistake,
Some experts believe a contagious effect sometimes seen after widely publicized suicides could be tied to back-to-back shootings over the weekend, which followed a handful of other high-profile shootings this year.
There have been at least seven mass shootings, defined as three or more people having been shot, this year, according to data collected by NBC News, with a fear of more to come as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted nationwide. Pandemic-related trauma and an increase in gun violence as firearm sales increased throughout last year have been serious concerns for reopening, said Jillian Peterson, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
"We do know that those types of mass shootings are contagious, that they tend to spread through things like the media and social media," said Peterson, a co-founder of The Violence Project, a nonprofit research center. "That people who are maybe vulnerable see themselves in other perpetrators who do this, people who already have kind of their own history of trauma, who are maybe feeling suicidal, who are in crisis, who have access to weapons, they see one make national headlines, and there is this copycat effect."
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