Mass Shootings Persist, But a New Book Brings Hope and Science to Grappling With Their Prevention

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It’s become all too common in media and politics to assume that we can’t stop mass shootings. But in his new book, Mother Jones National Affairs Editor Mark Follman demonstrates how many of these massacres are preventable, and traces the promising path and strategies to thwart them.

Follman, who has maintained a first-of-its-kind open-source database of mass shootings since 2012, documents the latest in the emerging field of behavioral threat assessment. Trigger Points: Inside the Mission to Stop Mass Shootings in America, published on Tuesday, walks us through the progress of forensic psychologists, FBI agents, and other experts and educators.

My reading list is impossibly long, but I’m all in on this one. I suggest you join me, and if you want a teaser, catch his conversation at the Commonwealth Club of California with MoJo’s Monika Bauerlein. I’d already known the contours from having read his investigation in our upcoming print magazine, but each time Follman speaks or writes on it, I get a fresh look at the prevalence and prospects of stopping mass shootings. He delivers evidence and reasons for cautious hope.

“Years ago I had the feeling there had to be other ways to look at this problem, and when I learned about behavioral threat assessment and started digging into it, I learned there’s a very different way to look at this that gets past the familiar noise” of defeatism and inevitability, he says.

Get the insightful book, and watch below:

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Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

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