Coping with fear around mass shootings

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Mass shooters are sometimes deemed terrorists because they do spread terror beyond the immediate victims. Whether at supermarkets, schools, movie theaters, or places of worship, you may feel the anxiety or fear of the attack. Even if you are not present at the attack, you might feel this way at the thought of going to these places. We discussed this phenomenon and what we can do about these fears with Ashlea Taylor, a licensed marriage and family therapist.

“We witnessed something horrific and its made people feel out of control,” Taylor said.

Mass shootings in 2022 have already topped 200 in the U.S., and the biggest mass shooting in the past decade just occurred in Uvalde, Texas with 19 kids and two teacher shot dead.

What can people do to help combat their fear and anxiety?

Taylor has three steps that she tells her clients to help calm their nerves.

  • Feel the feelings, don’t push them down. Pushing your feelings away will only make you feel worse.
  • Do coping skills. Use your five senses to help you cope, find activities that involve your touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste.
  • Realize its not just you in this situation, the whole nation is feeling these feelings as well. Especially with mass shootings being broadcast on national television, everyone is grieving or going through trauma as well.

Why might people be more scared now as opposed to shootings in the past?

People might feel worse about this shooting because we all send our kids to school. Its not like in the Buffalo shooting where black people were the target, now its our kids and the people who are supporting them, according to Taylor.

Ashlea Taylor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

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