SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – In just a span of a weekend we’ve seen back-to-back mass shootings across the country, including here in Louisiana.
A shooter opened fire in a nightclub in Baton Rouge, injuring 12 people; meanwhile, here in Shreveport, a shooter injured eight people, including children.
“It has been very tragic, and it’s taking a toll on the people who reside in those communities,” says Jessica Smith, CEO/Therapist of Vibrant Minds Therapy & Consulting.
At least 39 mass shootings have taken place in the country since the beginning of the year as of Tuesday, Jan. 24, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that defines a mass shooting as a shooting in which at least four people are shot, not counting the shooter.
“With any person who has experienced some type of trauma, it could look like that person replaying the incident over and over in their head,” says Smith. “Being easily startled, trouble sleeping, even restlessness or being on edge,” she added.
These mass shootings impact adult survivors, but they also impact children.
Laura Baxter, the Director at LSUHS Institute for Childhood Resilience, says children are largely powerless to control the circumstances of their lives, so they may feel fearful about going places. She also says one of the keys to getting over a traumatic experience is finding trust within your circle.
But understanding what makes children feel better goes a long way, Baxter says.
“Understanding what are the ingredients of their environment that help them feel safe, and who are the people that help them to feel safe.”
Although there aren’t steps anyone can take to avoid a mass shooting, Smith says there is one thing you can do.
Always assess your environment.
And if you see anything suspicious, don’t hesitate to contact your local police.