Are folks becoming desensitized to mass shootings?

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Are folks becoming desensitized to mass shootings? Registered Nurse Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on February 14, 2018. (WPVI)

The images and sounds from Wednesday's mass school shooting in Florida are scary and disturbing, but unfortunately, they're not new and - for some - not surprising.

"Do we have the same reaction as when it first happened? Probably not, and unfortunately we're getting used to images and hearing about what happening in our communities," said Dr. Kamilah Jackson with Philadelphia Behavioral Health Department.

Bur Dr. Jackson says society is likely not losing sensitivity but growing frustrated.

"I think in these situations the sense of not being in control takes over," she said.

Even so, she says most people are still responding, feeling a sense of loss and worry that it could happen in any community.

That shows there's still a desire to fight for change.

For people feeling numb or hopeless, it could be due to feeling overwhelmed by the tragedy.
In this case, she says it's important to connect with friends and family and talk about what happened.

Licensed social worker Vic Compher says among mental health experts, he feels the frustration and loss but also determination.

"I'm thinking what we can do as a nation to fix this problem because it should be solvable," he said.

"Really important to not withdraw and say I can't do anything because I think there is still some opportunity to shift the way things have been going," added Dr. Jackson.

Dr.Jackson also says if you or your child starts to withdraw from the community or activities, or if it is affecting sleep and eating, and if you have overwhelming feelings of fear, these are signs to seek professional help.


Philadelphia Crisis Hotline 215-685-6440

Philadelphia Children's Crisis Response Center 215-878-2600

Visit for online screening tool and to find more resources.

Philadelphia Warm Line to speak with a person who has experienced times of emotional stress 855-507-WARM or 267-507-3945

For links on how to talk to kids and teenagers about trauma or tragedy, visit:

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