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Local experts discuss mental toll of mass shootings and how to discuss with children

On the "Sound of Ideas," we discuss how to talk to children about the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. [Jinitzail Hernandez/shutterstock]
On the "Sound of Ideas," we discuss how to talk to children about the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. [Jinitzail Hernandez/shutterstock]

When news broke two weeks ago that an 18-year-old gunman had killed two teachers, and 19 children, mostly 9 and 10 years old, at an elementary school in Texas, many of our thoughts went back almost a decade ago, to the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut.

There, the gunman was a 20-year-old. There, he shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children, even younger at between 6 and 7 years old. 

Parents, who have already faced enormous stress and anxiety due to the ways the pandemic has impacted learning, now have added 'fear for their child's safety' to the top of the list of concerns. Fear, at a place that is supposed to be a safe haven for young people.

And beyond young families, we are all feeling heightened stress about the barrage of mass shootings happening across the country in recent weeks, with another string of shootings over the weekend leaving at least 15 more Americans dead, and more than 60 others wounded with eight states witnessing part of the weekend horror. 

The Washington Post reports 311,111 students have experienced gun violence in school since Columbine, now 23 years into history.

And none of that includes the mass shooting in an upstate New York grocery store last month, which left 10 people dead, and was also committed by an 18-year-old suspect. 

This hour on the "Sound of Ideas," we're going to start by talking about the aftermath of these shootings, how it is impacting all of us, how we can talk to young people about the events, and about what is going on with this trend of violence.

Later in the hour, we'll talk about new reporting that looks at unresolved transgenerational trauma from slavery, that may still impact African Americans today, passed down through the generations. 

- Lisa Damour, PhD, Psychologist, Author, New York Times and CBS News contributor 
- Dan Flannery, PhD, Director of Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, Case Western Reserve University 
- Angela Neal-Barnett, PhD, Psychological Sciences Professor, Kent State University 
- Betty Haliburton, Independent Producer & CEO, Intentional Content Inc 

rachel.rood@ideastream.org | 216-916-6246