“Mass shootings certainly contribute to heightened societal anxiety. And in a state of heightened anxiety, it becomes much harder to focus on the facts and create effective solutions. When we’re afraid, we tend to distract ourselves, fight with each other, or avoid the problem all together. Therefore the challenge of every community is to figure out how to keep communicating with each other and create reality-based solutions to prevent mass shootings.”

Kathleen Smith, PhD

“When you look at all of the red flags from the shooter in Parkland, it is evident that there were many signs and various efforts to address his challenges. The hardest question to answer is, “Who is ultimately responsible for this child? How did he fall through the cracks like this?” From what I’ve read there were various attempts throughout his lifetime, from his parents, his school, police etc. to address issues as they arose, but it seemed no one was well enough equipped to handle the complexity of his case. How is an ordinary mother supposed to handle the complexity of serious mental illness of her adopted child after he found his dead father? Who is responsible for this child after she died unexpectedly? And why is ok for such an obviously disturbed person to have a gun? The bottom line is that even if parents are responsible for their kids, situations like these demonstrate that the support they need may not be sufficient. ”

Jasmin Terrany, LHMC, Founder of jasminbalance.com


It is difficult for most of us to understand how anyone-- regardless of their age, relationships, or grievance-- could shoot a child or youth especially on school grounds.

The most common shootings on school grounds rarely involve large numbers of victims, but even a shooting of just one student at school has ramifications far beyond those directly involved. Students and staff that witness school shootings are likely to suffer from traumatic stress symptoms, become anxious or depressed and have general concerns about their safety. While many witnesses will have temporary symptoms, others will be symptomatic for a much longer period of time and even develop chronic psychiatric disorders. Even short-term impairments can cause severe distress and have profound effects on academic achievement and the social and emotional growth of impacted students. 

Perhaps the most disturbing effect of a school shooting is the feeling of on-going danger that permeates schools where they have occurred. The school’s climate and sense of community are profoundly damaged.