Psychology Benefits Society

Police tape at crime scene

By Efua Andoh (APA Public Interest Directorate Communications Staff)

The horrific shootings around the country (e.g., Newtown, CT; Fort Hood, TX; Aurora, CO; and the Navy Yard in Washington, DC) have prompted a renewed national debate on how best to prevent gun violence. Recognizing the critical role for the field of psychology in this discussion, APA commissioned a task force report that synthesizes the available science on the complex underpinnings of gun violence, from gender and culture to gun policies and prevention strategies.

Out this morning, the comprehensive report, Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy, states that there is no single personality profile that can reliably predict who will use a gun in a violent act – but individual prediction is not necessary for violence prevention. The report identifies precursors and promising solutions to the problem of gun violence in our society.

Here are five major findings of the report:

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Taking responsibility with insight and integrity is difficult. Michael Brown’s soul searching self reflection and analysis of specific variables converging in the tragedy we know as Katrina offers the reader an honest portrait of the events surrounding this storm. Katrina was more than a hurricane. The environmental, geographic, social, economic, and political factors are crucial to our understanding of what happpened in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Mr. Brown’s book is a must read for Americans to understand how disasters can snowball into horror; we can learn from our mistakes.

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