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Mitchell Rosen: Mass shootings, on the minds of all, raise important questions

By in Press Enterprise on November 11, 2017

By Mitchell Rosen

The shootings in Las Vegas and Texas are on the minds and televisions of most Americans.

As a family counselor, I see children of all ages; many of these kids, even those in elementary school are aware of the carnage. They understand something terrible has happened; what they don’t grasp is why? To be fair, their parents don’t have the answer to that question either.

Details are slowly emerging about the shooter in Texas. Some reports mention a history of domestic violence and family conflict. It’s been over a month since the awful event in Las Vegas, and more questions than answers remain about that perpetrator’s motivation. News articles suggest money problems, but the details are vague.

The reality is most individuals with family and money problems do not become violent. These are stresses, psychologists and profilers might call them “triggers,” but why would some people with these problems cry, withdraw and be sad while others explode and cause unfathomable harm? It appears the answer is more complicated than the problems the person experienced.

I have counseled adolescents whose boyfriends or girlfriends broke up with them suddenly and unexpectedly. Most are sad, some get angry, even snippy. Then there are a few that become vengeful — so unforgiving they stalk their former partner, even leave angry or threatening notes. It’s not always possible to predict which people will be able to handle rejection or stress and who will snap.

Predicting violence is one the weakest areas of mental health. Aside from previous behavior being the best indicator of future behaviors, mental health clinicians are often at a loss why some can tolerate stress and others have a threshold best described as brittle or minimal.

So what should parents tell their kids when their children ask why some people hurt other people? Most kids respond best to […]    

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