‘What’s that noise?’ Mass shootings can create culture of fear, anxiety, experts say
An argument in which three Lansing teens get shot generates social-media rumors that a random mass shooter is roaming the city.
A team-building exercise with popping balloons turns into an active-shooter scare that shuts down part of University of Michigan.
A Michigan police agency is alerted about an Instagram photo of a teen with a crossbow. Could the youth be plotting a school attack?
In today’s climate, it doesn’t take much to raise fears that a mass shooting is underway or imminent.
Just by raising people’s stress level, mass shootings have an impact on the general population, said Marc Zimmerman, a professor at U-M’s School of Public Health and director of the CDC-funded Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center.
He pointed to research that shows stress “plays out in the health of our bodies in many different ways.”
“The long and short of it is, we know that these kinds of experiences can be traumatic, and can have long-lasting effects,” he said.
Zimmerman said it’s important for people to put mass shootings in context.
On one hand, mass shootings are a “horrific and heinous act" that shock the national conscience, he said.
But it’s a fraction of those who die of gun violence, he said. Most gun deaths involve suicide or disputes between people known to each other.
“Every day, eight kids under the age of 18 die in this country from gunshot wounds," he said.
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