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Why are we missing them (Like Tx. Church Shooter)? Contributing Factors to these Tragedies!!

School ShootingsSo what are some of the issues that might have contributed to these tragedies?

One can recall too easily – violent rampages, mass shooting, vehicle attacks, stabbings, gory bloodbaths at many locations like; 

San Bernardino Mass Shooting, Texas Church Shooting, Las Vegas Concert, Elliot Rodgers California Rampage, Fort Hood, Navy Yard, Franklin Regional High School’s Stabbing Spree, Virginia Tech, Columbine High School in Colorado, Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut,  and Beslan Russia School Hostage.

This, unfortunately, is a short list.  So, what are we missing with these??

* Why didn’t we see it coming??


1.  Are there similarities between Texas Church Shooting, Las Vegas Concert, Elliot Rodgers RampageFort Hood Shooting and Sandy Hook, Newtown; the Navy Yard; other school and workplace shootings?   YES!!

Possible Violence

2.  Is Mental Health Broken or Inadequate?

  •  Were there Early or Imminent Warning Signs?  The answer is ALWAYS – YES!!  
    • The real questions are;
      • Were we (Mental Health) looking?    Could it be a lack of funding, No delivery system to get them help or   We don’t care –  until there is a mass shooting.
      • Why did we (Mental Health) miss them??    Could it be  – we lack skills and training to identify them?
      • Since many were identified as having “mental health issues then – Did they receive therapy??  or Were they just given medication and sent on their way!!??
      • Are we Training others to be able to see these signs and refer to Mental Health?  “Observers: in schools, law enforcement, churches, hotels, business and other locations
        • We train Observes to watch for “Workplace Sexual Harassment“, “Discrimination” – Why not this??
  • If  Mental Health had been doing their Job and identifying these Early or Imminent Warning Signs?  What could have been available to them?
    As a Mental Health Therapist (this author), it is believed that  the system is very inadequate and needs reform.  Although, here are some of the things available to Mental Health, but many of these options are NEVER utilized:

    • Involve Family in therapy and ask them (if concerned about suicidal/homicidal ideations – not a Plan) to check for and remove access to weapons from their loved one in therapy and any other means the person had ideations about; pills, knifes, ect.
    • Recommendations by Supervisors to attend Therapy, if available.
    • Recommendations from Therapist to Supervisor’s that individual attend therapy for a specific period of time. (If releases are in-place)
    • Work with family to obtain a Court Order to attend Out-Patient therapy for a period of time.
    • Therapist request Courts to order Out-Patient therapy for a period of time.
    • Recommend to Patient and/or family a placement in an In-Patient Psychiatric Facility
    • Have Family (or anyone who sees the serious risk behavior) seek an Involuntary Commitment to place a Patient into a Psychiatric Facility against their will for a 72 hour hold to evaluate.

*  Remember that their are many hoops to jump through to make these work (inadequate system), but they are available.

3.  In situations similar to the tragedies about what may be some compounding issues?

  • Un-diagnosed or Un-resolved Mental Health issues.
  • Individual’s sense of Entitlement (A distorted view that – I’m owed this or that and the system is keeping it from me)
  • Unresolved disgruntlement (more often this is a distortion in their mind) toward others, a system or the world.
  • Suicidal or Homicidal Ideations (un-identified or un-noticed by others) that evolves from fantasy – to – planning – to – acting on it (reality)
  • A lack of Support:  possibly from family, friends (or no friends), co-workers, Mental Health or the System
  • Delusions and Command Hallucinations
  • Being intolerant to others or things; racist, paranoid, political alignment, a holy war, things being unjust/unfair in their mind.

4.  We need to look at these areas to find solutions:  Let’s break down the areas below and ask – What can be done?