We all remember those dark days of December, 2012 when innocent lives were lost due to an unthinkable act of violence. The 3-year anniversary of this tragedy has just passed, and our hearts go out to those who were intimately affected. Their lives have been forever changed.
Learning from the Sandy Hook tragedy
In this post, I’m going to focus on what I believe is the single most important take-away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy: There is an established and effective practice that can help prevent future tragedies. The practice of violence threat assessment allows us to identify and attend to the warning signs before we get to the point of another school shooting. It is precisely the model used by the FBI and Secret Service to evaluate threats and warning signs.
In the days, weeks and months following a targeted act of violence, we start to peel back the layers and acknowledge the many signs and missed opportunities. When we notice, assess, and intervene in behaviors that seem “off” or match those we know are indicators of possible mental illness, lack of coping skills, violent ideology, suicide or violence, we are taking action to prevent violence from occurring.
By attending to the warning signs, communicating with others, gathering information that helps us form a complete picture, and implementing plans for both safety and intervention, we are making great strides toward preventing violence. To learn more about how violence threat assessment works, simply click here.