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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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