I have been asking myself that question repeatedly for the past several decades. I summarized the problem a couple of months ago in this blog. In the 12 hour aftermath of the incident in Aurora, Colorado I have already seen the predictable patterns. Condolences from the President and the First Lady. Right wing talk radio focused on gun rights and how the liberals will predictably want to restrict access to high capacity firearms. Those same radio personalities talking about how you can never predict when these events will happen. They just do and they cannot be prevented. One major network encouraging viewers to tune in for more details on the "Batman Massacre."
We can expect more of the same over the next days to weeks and I will not expect any new solutions. Mass shootings are devastating for the families involved. They are also significant public health problems. There is a body of knowledge out there that has not been applied to prevent these incidents and these incidents have not been systematically studied. The principles in the commentary statement listed below still apply.
It is time to stop acting like this is a problem that cannot be solved.
George Dawson, MD, DFAPA
A Commentary Statement submitted to the StarTribune January 18, 2011 from the Minnesota Psychiatric Society, The Barbara Schneider Foundation, and SAVE - Suicide Awareness Voices of Education