CLEVELAND, Ohio— Daniel Flannery is the director of the Begun School for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University. He’s also a professor of psychology at the university, as well as University Hospitals.
- Conducts research on gun violence and community trauma
- Says incidents like mass shootings have lasting traumatic impacts
- The Begun Center of Violence Prevention Research is working on something they hope will help
Flannery conducts research on gun violence and community trauma and says incidents like mass shootings have lasting traumatic impacts on the communities that experience them.
“These incidents affect first responders, they affect people who may not be physically injured in the incident but are certainly witness to the incident,” said Flannery. “This affects whole communities that have experienced these events for years and years to come. People in Columbine are still dealing with the impact of that 1999 school shooting, for example.”
Flannery says that trauma is reset when a similar incident occurs.
“And then when the next one happens, everybody that was involved in a similar experience ... whether that’s in a movie theatre in Denver, or at a music festival in Las Vegas or in a school or a shopping mall... they’re going to re-experience that trauma,” said Flannery.
Just a few months ago, the Dayton area experienced multiple tornadoes— killing one and injuring 7 others, but destroying a lot of property in its path.
Now, the community mourns again.
“Well, certainly cumulative trauma can affect people at multiple levels,” said Flannery. “Individuals that are unable to work, individuals who have children that are afraid to go to school... so that leads to a collective sense of fear and anxiety that it can happen to me.”
Flannery said there are things people can do to help.
“We all need to be vigilant, number one. Number two, see something, say something... whether that’s on social media, whether that’s in your interpersonal interactions, or even within your own family.”
The Begun Center of Violence Prevention Research is working on something they hope will help.
“We’re developing models to assess the likelihood of a violent act occurring when somebody makes threats, and to go through the process of determining what to do about that, much like we do when someone threatens to hurt themselves.”