Another Mass Shooting: When will it end—or will it? – by Dr. Bridget Melson, PsyD

Short answer: Don’t count on it.

Once again, I turned on the television to catch up on the latest news and was sadly greeted with video of yet another mass shooting. Immediately, I write up my talking points as I speak regularly on the topic and get calls from various news stations when these tragedies hit our local schools.

I am happy to help educate the public on what the mentality of these shooters looks like—it rarely changes—what the aftermath will entail and what the victims and families will now have to endure mentally for the rest of their lives. Although I like what I do for a living, honestly, I am tired and angry and ready for parents, politicians and our overprescribing mental health professionals to listen up and take action. 

They are at fault and I won’t ever shy away from boldly proclaiming that at the top of my lungs.

When I was growing up, I remember grabbing a hot breakfast from my mom, hopping on the bus and walking into school without a care in the world. My friends greeted me, we ran and played tag on the playground, drank from the drinking fountain and except for the occasional school yard bully, we didn’t have a lot to worry about at school. Certainly not guns and never dying on campus at the hand of another student.

Now we have bullies in every grade level, social media hate groups targeting the weak and empowering the sociopaths, and neglectful parents who would rather turn a blind eye to issues that should have been addressed with their adolescent long ago.

Because of this culture shift and parental neglect, we have breaking news reports on a sociopath gone wild, dead teenagers in school hallways and a soon to be new reality of our schools turning into what will resemble prison yards, instead of school yards.

So, is it time for monthly lock down drills, mandatory metal detectors, armed police officers, bullet proof backpacks and closed circuit TVs at every school?!? 

What has changed and when will we listen to what is at the heart of the matter?

As I continue to work with at risk teens both at schools and in private practice–which often includes working with potential shooters and borderline sociopathic adolescents—I can’t express enough that we have a real problem in society. The growing concern is real and the risk of it happening again and soon, is high. Social media addicted teens that are searching for “highs” that can’t even be satiated with common street drugs, will make sure of it.

Once again, the questions including: “what is the cause,” “when does this mass shooter mindset begin,” “who is at fault” and “can it be prevented,” can be answered. But you’re not going to like what I have to say.

It comes down to this:

1.Environment (parenting).

2. Genetics (mental health).

3. Social Media (addiction).

(Notice I don’t include “gun control” as one of the key explanations as to why we see this increase in mass shootings. That excuse is not only outdated but insensitively obtuse to even bring up at this point.)

Environment: The profile of the majority of these shooters includes a mentality of quiet white rage and anger, often gone unnoticed or addressed by parents or educators. 

That can be prevented. 

After researching and meeting with these individuals, we often see unaddressed anti-social personality traits. Having those traits does not a mass shooter make, yet when you add on a boundaryless environment, ignorant parenting and reckless social media rules, you begin to create the perfect storm in your adolescent. 

Genetics: Couple the above with genes that reduce the coping abilities in these individuals that are now exposed to non-available or destructive parents and your risk of a suicidal or homicidal teen has risen exponentially.

In my other articles, I have talked about the MTHFR/COMT gene and I will not stop talking about it until every parent with a child that has displayed anti-social tendencies, impulsive behavior, an inability to cope with basic stress, depression or anxiety has them tested. It is a simple blood test that could prevent destructive behavior in our schools and make sure our teens’ mental health issues are properly being addressed. I am working tirelessly with politicians, parents and educators to get the word out about these genes’ polymorphisms and how easily we can treat these kids when properly diagnosed.

Social Media: When you have a child that presents with the genetic traits indicated with the MTHFR/COMT gene, medicate them without having them tested, expose them to less than ideal home environments and then allow them to have unmonitored social media, you have your potential sensation seeking mass shooter. 

That is the profile of 90% of the criminals I have interviewed, at risk teens I have counseled and over 300 mass shooters I have researched. It is past time to put to rest the ludicrous gun-control theory and listen to the experts so we can stop this before it happens and save lives.

Parents need to parent and do so according to the genetic make up and mentality of their children. They need to demand those blood tests before any psychotropic medication is prescribed to their teen—specifically SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

Parents need to ensure an environment that is stress reducing instead of stress inducing and be aware of what their teens are posting on social media at all times. When you hand over these electronic devices to adolescents, you are handing them the world and everything it has to offer.

The stress alone that can induce can instantly turn a once happy and thriving child into a depressed, suicidal, anxious individual that has little to no ability to cope with the mass information social media offers. Their brain now changes, their addiction center is triggered and now they are left to cope on their own without the support and monitoring they need. We must stop this cycle as they cannot do it on their own. Asking and expecting them to do so is like demanding a paraplegic to rise and walk. Ridiculous and cruel at best.

I repeat, it is not about gun control. It is much more complex than that and to think differently is simply ignorant. Parents need to be held accountable, politicians must open their minds to new solutions, mental health professionals need to be educated on genetics and psychotropic drugs and families need to be aware of the dangers of social media. 

We all have our roles and together we can all but eradicate these awful mass shooting tragedies. I would not be in this profession and doing this research if I thought differently.

My heart goes out to the students at Saugus Highschool in California and I want them to know I am working hard on the frontlines to stop these shootings – but I cannot do it alone.

I hope by continuing to get this information out, people will listen, report, get the mental health treatment they need, parent, be present and pour themselves into their local communities.

Please help me by forwarding this to your friends and mental health professionals.

God bless and keep fighting the good fight.

Dr. B

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