Coping With A Rising Number Of Mass Shootings

Posted at 11:01 PM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 00:01:09-05

Wednesday cameras were rolling as emergency responders and police rushed to an unthinkable tragedy in southern California.

Unfortunately, it's a scene many of us are actually thinking about a lot lately.

"This is crazy, too much bad stuff going on here," said Mark Scaroggins, whose daughter works in the building under attack.

It was San Bernardino Wednesday and Colorado Springs the Friday before.

"You lose it, you freak out ,you see everything like this on the news but you never think it's going to happen to you," said a woman whose sister was stuck inside the same building as Scaroggins' daughter.

Law enforcement says active shooting situations are on the rise. FBI crime statistics show a steady increase since 2000.

"The unfortunate thing is when something like this happens you can't predict it, you don't know about it, all you can do is respond to it as quickly as possible," said Nashville-based ATF Special Agent Jack Webb.

The events usually feel far away. But in the last few months an Antioch movie theater and recruiting offices in Chattanooga were ground zero for emergency responders.

The emergency events are weighing on people's minds, said therapist Dr. J Gregory Briggs.

"Clients struggling, especially with anxiety, depression," he said, "your brain wants to go to catastrophic thinking, the worst case scenario."

Briggs says it's important to remember these horrific scenes will most likely never involve you. It's good to have an emergency plan just in case. But then it's important to move on.

"I tell my clients all the time we need to think about these things as much as necessary but as little as possible," Briggs said.

Can't stop seeing crime scene tape? He suggests you distract yourself in a healthy way.

"Things like exercise, hobbies, talking to people you care about where you're deliberately not talking about the worst story you hear on the news," he said.

Agent Webb agrees. He says local law enforcement train for this. You can help if you see something suspicious, but otherwise he says don't let it disrupt your life.

"I carry on m daily life, I do everything I normally do, I don't do anything differently," Webb said, "because then they win and you can't let them win."

Metro Police had a previously scheduled active shooter training on Wednesday. They included more than 40 local officers from different agencies.