Social Costs of Mass Homicide

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Mass casualty events leave many victims of different types. Some victims who were present may have not been physically injured. Others may not even have been the scene when the event occurred. It is important to identify and understand the different victims and their relationships to the actual event.

  • On July 20, 2012 James Holmes opened fire in an Aurora Colorado movie theatre killing 12 people and wounding 70.
  • On December 12, 2012 Adam Lanza killed his mother and then opened fire in the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown Connecticut killing 20 children and 6 adults.
  • On April 16, 2007 Seung-Hui Cho opened fire on the Virginia Tech college campus killing 32 students and faculty members.

In these cases of murder, the assailants did not personally know their victims. The costs were overwhelming for the victims, their families, and their communities.

For this discussion, focus on the responses of the communities. Search the library or Internet for articles relating to how one of these communities is recovering from the devastation of those public shootings. Citing the sources you read, address the following:

  • What do members of the community describe as the loss to their community?
  • What do they describe as their greatest challenges?
  • What changes in their communities have taken place as a result? (For example, local laws or policies might have changed, neighborhood watch groups may have formed, support services or local customs may have evolved from the community loss.) Describe specifics on how the particular community has come together to support community members and to remember victims.

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