Classes will resume next week for students at a Santa Fe high school that was the target of a gunman last Friday. Ten people were killed and thirteen wounded. Reports show the 17 year old shooter displayed a limited number of outward signs and his actions were out of character. Dr. Soonjo Hwang is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and says it is very difficult to determine what is going on in someone else’s mind.
Dr. Hwang says, “It is kind of a spectrum that everybody has a certain level of empathy and a certain ethical level of morality to make a right decision but then they derange toward this type of thing. It is hard to speculate what kind of trigger played a part there for them to be like that.”
There is one claim that a lot of the violence relates directly to video games. Hwang disagrees. He says, “Most of the larger studies actually failed to show a clear link between them. The good examples are in South Korea and Japan where videos are very prevailing and a lot of kids are doing that. Game addiction is quite a problem in those countries but when you look at them the homicide rate is lower than in the United States and they rarely have serial killers with gun violence. I think the link is kind of weak.”
The teenage shooter survived the massacre and investigators will be able to speak with him. Dr. Hwang says it is likely that physicians will be able to learn a lot from him. He says the FBI and other agencies have learned a lot about the profile of a mass shooter or serial killer by talking to those individuals. He says the focus should be on how to prevent these kinds of things from happening in the future.