Coping with Anxiety After Deadly Shooting is Caught on Tape

A University of Texas psychology professor says connecting with others can help us start to process acts of violence we witness.

By Rhonda Fanning August 27, 2015 10:21 am,

Since the televised murder of two reporters yesterday in Virginia, a 17-year-old was killed in a shooting near an elementary school in southwest Houston, a police officer was shot and killed in Sunset, Louisiana when he tried to intervene in a violent domestic dispute, and an on-campus shooting at Texas Southern University injured one person.

Those are just some of the deadly shootings that happened since then — just a few of the gun homicides that happen everyday in America. An average of 80 gun deaths a day occur, and about 30 of those are homicides.

But those are not the murders being talked about by the President and the Presidential candidates, and being shown all over cable news. And there’s one reason for that; they did not play out live on television.

Yesterday’s murders, and the snuff films that resulted from them, gave us an up close and personal look at gun violence. In the case of the video posted by the killer, the world literally got a first-person view of homicide.

Is it healthy for us to be forced to stare at the grisly reality of gun violence? Or is it harming us, or maybe even desensitizing us to it?

Art Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, joins the Standard to talk about how we cope when faced with such violence.