Source: Wikimedia Commons. Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson
As a forensic psychologist and an American, I empathize with your profound frustration, pain, sadness, disgust and anger regarding the most recent mass shooting on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon this week. Tragically, like so many others, it resulted in the ultraviolent deaths of nine people and serious wounding of another nine by a 26-year-old male student armed to the teeth and prepared to take on all comers.
Clearly, Mr. President, you personally recognize what has become obvious: that these evil deeds are in fact occurring more and more frequently here in America, and that we must do something right now to stop or at least slow down this national crisis. As someone who has been writing and speaking about this alarming and atrocious trend for more than two decades now, including here for Psychology Today in my blog "Evil Deeds, " I, like you, am weary of constantly repeating myself each time another mass shooting predictably happens. (See my prior posts.)
Many of my colleagues, as you know, including prominent psychologists such as Steven Pinker at Harvard University, would argue reassuringly, but quite wrongly I believe, that violence is statistically decreasing in this country, and that, therefore, we are today living in a far less violent society than did our ancestors. Some observers suggest that such events are inevitable in a free society, and must be stoically accepted because they cannot be stopped. But it seems you rightly recognize all too well the evil quality, rapidly escalating regularity, and ominous significance of these violent events and their dire implications for the future of our society. We cannot continue to passively sit by and accept the unacceptable.