The tragic news of another shooting has saddened us. As we learn more about the shooter and circumstances, I find myself reflecting on the many similarities between Elliot Rodger and the warning signs of violence I teach in my training. Elliot is said to have held on to a grievance for a very long time. He experienced a sense of what we call “failure of masculinity” that troubled him deeply. He was jealous and resentful and lacked the coping skills to adequately deal with those difficult emotions. He saw himself as an outcast, having friends but never quite fitting in with the “cool kids” while growing up.
A troubling statement about the shooting tragedy at UCSB
You may have heard the following statement made by Janet Napolitano: “This is almost the kind of event that’s impossible to prevent and almost impossible to predict.” I have to disagree. The Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP), of which I am a member, issued a statement regarding this unfortunate comment: “As you know, there is a pathway to targeted violence, and while as an Association we don’t claim to be able to predict such events, we believe they are highly preventable when pre-incident indicators are recognized, reported and acted upon. We are not in a position, nor do we have the desire to judge or second-guess the actions related to this incident, but we can certainly work to dispel the misbelief that incidents like these are completely unpreventable. Through continued education and outreach we can hope to influence change, to facilitate action and hopefully reduce the likelihood of future incidents.” I couldn’t agree more.