ST. PAUL, Minn. - The image of students running from Columbine High School was seared into the mind of those old enough to understand it. That image, of people running from a shooter, would repeat over and over again all across America.
“I think we are at the point where we as a society are sick of it and people are really fed up,” Hamline Professor Jillian Peterson, who has studied mass shootings and how to prevent them, said.
While there is no clear answer on how to stop all the violence Peterson believes one thing is very clear.
“It has changed us in ways I don't think we're even conscious of. It's just become part of our daily existence,” she said.
Shootings like Columbine, Red Lake and Sandy Hook forced our schools to implement active shooter plans. Accent Signage and San Bernardino have employers double checking their security practices. And now Orlando has us asking, “Why does this keep happening?”
“We are just getting to the point where we are researching this and looking for patterns because it's so new that I think some of the answers will emerge,” she said.
What researchers like Peterson have found so far is that mass shootings tend to happen in clusters. But what makes a person want to become a killer is different from person to person. What she has noticed though is a big change in how we react to them.
“One thing that has shifted that I have noticed is people not wanting to say the name of the perpetrator or share the picture,” Peterson said.
Perhaps that's the first step from feeling fearful to powerful.
“The more we can celebrate victims, we can look at the victims pics and know their names and talk about their stories that's the opposite of what the perpetrator wanted,” she said.