By Ross Guidotti

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Jose, California is just the latest in a long string of horrors America has witnessed over the past few decades, but over the last few months it seems like it’s been an everyday occurrence.

Dr. Daniel Shaw with Pitt’s Department of Psychology was very clear: America has had a very tough last few years. He says from the despair of the pandemic to the anger of political division, the fact we’ve seen mass killings more frequently shouldn’t be a surprise at all. But he adds if we don’t get a handle on it, the worst is yet to come.

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The slaughter of people in San Jose marks the most recent in a tragic parade of mass shootings in the United States. According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, there have been 178 mass shootings, with 206 dead and 693 wounded since the beginning of 2021.

“How many more does it take?” said Shaw.

KDKA’s Ross Guidotti talked to Shaw about some Americans’ propensity to solve their issues by shooting strangers and loved ones alike.

Pittsburgh has seen its own share of mass shootings: the assault on the Tree of Life Synagogue, Richard Baumhammers’ murderous rampage and the senseless killing of individuals at the Collier Township L.A. Fitness. But why so many in just the last few months nationwide? Shaw says some of it’s due to ugly campaigns and COVID-19.

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“You have a political climate that’s going to make you more vulnerable to depression or anxiety, but also those individuals who are isolated and marginalized, that’s going to be exacerbated during the pandemic,” said Shaw.

He says add to that easily accessible firearms and you have a recipe for senseless killing.

“Changing gun laws isn’t the entire answer but it’s a requirement if you’re going to put a dent in this. If that remains, you’re not going to make a dent in it,” he said.

So, is there any hope? Shaw believes possibly, but that would require the government, media — both social and otherwise — and all Americans to say enough is enough.

“Where’s the outrage? People have become so habituated, you would expect it. If you had a week without a mass shooting, that would be unusual. Or imagine a month without one,” said Shaw.

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Shaw also made clear to point out that making mental health service normative is a big step, but it’s only one step. At the end of his conversation with Ross Guidotti, Shaw said he doesn’t think we’ll go back to “pre-Columbine” in his lifetime.