Several reports of shootings and threats have emerged nationwide in the wake the Virginia Tech shootings. Dr. Arshad Hussain is the Professor of Child Psychiatry and Child Health at the Univerisity of Missouri-Columbia. He also heads MU’s psycho-social trauma team. He says a tragedy that draws large-scale media attention like the student gunman in Blacksburg, can have a significant influence on others who are disturbed and troubled. Hussain says tragic events can even serve as a model, and those facing struggles of their own might identify with the perpetrator, ultimately finding more courage to act out themselves. Dr. Hussain also says the media hype can influence thrill-seekers to cause trouble simply for the excitement.
Dr. Hussain says its normal for communities to be on hightened alert following a tragedy such as what happened in Blacksburg, though he advises against any drastic changes to security that limit given freedoms.