Psychologists speak on how people respond differently to tragedy after mass shootings

Psychologists speak on how people respond differently to tragedy after mass shootings. // WSBT 22 Photo

Experts say shootings can wear on people's emotional well-being, especially after seeing two mass causalities events in just the past month.

This isn't easy for some people.

Everyone responds to things like this a little differently. Some find a way to protect themselves in case they are in a similar situation. Others mourn quietly while going on with their day.

Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas are the two locations of recent shootings in our country.

As the families of the victims mourn their loss -- John Petersen, of Family Psychologist, says the rest of us respond in our own way.

"People just fold this into almost a ritualized way of handling with yet another massacre,” said Petersen. “Some rituals are very good coping with losses and coping with unexpected events. But if we do it at a performance way, then it may just be the way of setting it aside and carrying on with our own narrow lives, with our own sort of personal concerns about our own well-being."

Petersen says some shootings like Las Vegas may see an outpouring of sympathy because of videos captured at the scene.

"If the coverage is more vivid, then it's really more stirring and people see the immediate personal loss and suffering with a much more emotional reaction,” said Petersen.

When people experience violence like this, they find a way to protect themselves.

"Most of the time if people do decide to come purchase a firearm because of violence, it's because it has happened to someone they know or in their neighborhood or it's close to them,” said Rebecca Bartol, president of Femme Fatale.

Bartol says mass shootings have not caused an increase in gun sales.

She says if you do decide to purchase a gun for protection, you need to know how it works.

"Well-versed in how to use their fire arm because you just can't buy it and expect it to work for you. You have to actually know how to use it and have that training. So in a terrible situation where your body starts to panic you can just kind of take over and know going into your training,” said Bartol.

Local psychologists say after national tragedies, it may be hard for people to express their thoughts on the matter.

The best advice is to make it personal by recognizing our emotions, even reaching out to a friend about how the tragedy has impacted you.

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