Friday, June 3, 2022



What makes for a safe space anymore?


Three recent mass shootings have recently made news—Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa.

Yesterday, we made a rare trip to our local mall where we ate our evening meal. As we were leaving, my wife said she found herself looking around to see where she could hide if there was a shooter. We began to analyze her idea.


As usual, there are a lot of opinions about how to stop gun violence. Our elected representatives debate. Gun control keeps popping up like a virus that won’t go away.

Yesterday, the American Medical Association injected their ideas. They focus on the means to quickly kill a lot of people. See what they wrote.





Perhaps it is obvious to say if you cannot obtain a weapon that would kill a lot of people in a few minutes, your ability to do so is limited.

It is equally obvious that a lot of people want to own weapons designed to kill a lot of people.

Compromise is in the air. What will happen is not at all clear.

But this focus on means ignores other ideas of prevention.


As we read the news stories, we become painfully aware of how easy it is to effectively kill a lot of people before police or security personnel can do something. 

Living in a secure world is a frightening thought in some ways. Ironically, some have likened it to turning schools into prisons—secure units.

Perhaps it’s like living in a plane every day. A place where everyone’s gear is searched. There’s electronic screening. And you only have to deal with people who use their fists.

When I think about the mall, schools, hospitals, churches…public places…it seems overwhelming to think about security.

We went to a church on Easter. An armed officer was by the main entrance in front of glass doors opened by happy faces. Some seemed to know the officer as they milled around talking. A man walked in with a backpack. It wasn’t inspected. How secure are people when one officer with a holstered handgun might have to deal with a heavily armed shooter carrying his gear in a backpack? Turns out he had a computer. And how many glass doors are bullet proof? I don't know. I know glass breaks.

I once went to a restroom in a government building. A security officer was in a gun-metal gray stall with his pants on the floor covering his shoes. Next to the pants was his handgun on the floor. I knew it would not be funny if I grabbed his gun. So, I didn’t. I did suggest the risk to a supervisor. I hope that act of carelessness isn’t repeated.

Administrators-Pay Attention to your buildings. You can do a lot to reduce opportunity without creating a fortress. You might be able to create policies but people will need reminders and building experts will likely be needed to reduce the opportunity for a mass shooting.


Short of mystery stories, the identification of a motive seems to be a journalist’s quest for a story. Who really knows why people do what they do? Statements on social media, in letters, shouted by would be killers often express motives. People give a lot of reasons for their behavior. A killer’s reasoning is not the same thing as explaining “why” an event occurred. Reasons often ignore the power of pain and emotion that can fuel plans to kill.


Publicly broadcast intent to kill is different from motives. 

In the book, The Violence Project, we learn that 86% of young men aged 20 and below leaked their plans before a mass shooting. This looks like a red flag. What do you think? Would you take it seriously if you read a post about a young man planning to shoot someone or posting photos of his recent purchase of weapons capable of shooting a lot of people in a few minutes?


If interested, I suggest reading The Violence Project. Perhaps you will think of some ideas for your situation.

I obviously hope building administrators and work supervisors will examine their space today to maximize security beyond superficial trappings yet offer a pleasant environment.

Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy

Attacks in Crowded and Public Spaces

FBI - Active Shooter Resources

FBI file - Making Prevention a Reality

FBI Plans for Houses of Worship

FBI Plans for Schools

Guns in the Home- Keeping Kids Safe

ColumbineReviewing an oft referenced story.

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I am a retired psychologist.

Please check out my website

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FACEBOOK   Geoff W. Sutton    


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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Men Who Shoot Children

 In today's Washington Post, there's a story about the Texas shooter who entered an elementary school--19 children are dead.

Could you predict that the Texas shooter was at high risk?


The first paragraph of the WP article caught my attention.

"The gunman in Tuesday’s elementary school massacre was a lonely 18-year-old who was bullied over a childhood speech impediment, suffered from a fraught home life and lashed out violently against peers and strangers recently and over the years, friends and relatives said."

How is that helpful?

Peterson and Densley have studied mass shooters. A large number of shooters had a history of childhood trauma and most were in a state of crisis close to the time of the shooting.

Here's a quote from their book, The Violence Project.

Almost 70% of the mass shooters in schools had a history of childhood trauma

 and they killed more people than shooters who did not have trauma.

And there's something else about the Texas shooter-- leakage.

Take a look at another paragraph...

About a year ago, Ramos posted on social media photos of automatic rifles that “he would have on his wish list,” Valdez said. Four days ago, he posted images of two rifles he referred to as “my gun pics.”

From The Violence Project, we learn:

Among the young shooters (age 20 and below), 

86% had leaked their plans before the shooting.

Read on to learn about the Texas shooter's family and their crises.

Crisis is another predictor of lethal events.

80% of the mass shooters in their database

 were in a state of crisis close in time to the lethal event. 

Of course, not every young man who has the foregoing experiences will end up killing children or adults. Nevertheless, the risk factors suggest considerations.

And the young men with a troubled history deserve attention for their sake and possibly the sake of society.

I have recommended purchasing The Violence Project

You can read my review or those of others on AMAZON or wherever you look for book reviews.

Disclosure. Sometimes I earn money for some clicks on links.

Please check out my website

   and see my books on   AMAZON       or  GOOGLE STORE

Also, consider connecting with me on    FACEBOOK   Geoff W. Sutton    

   TWITTER  @Geoff.W.Sutton    

You can read many published articles at no charge:

  Academia   Geoff W Sutton     ResearchGate   Geoffrey W Sutton 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

International Women's Day 2022- Reflections

During my early years, several women were my teachers, bosses, supervisors, or mentors. It took awhile for me to realize that this was not a normal experience and that women were not treated as equals in society. So, I celebrate them for their accomplishments and their leadership.

Sandra Sutton-- for managing work and family so well for so many years before I realized what women were up against. My lifelong friend and partner.

Gladys  (New) Sutton, my first boss--she owned a bookstore  and she is one reason I thought it was normal for women to own and manage businesses! Thanks mum.  Obituary 2012

Joan Salamanca, High School English-- who encouraged me to write. I never forgot her kind words.

Marjorie Moloney, High School Chemistry-- a no nonsense role model for women in science. 2021 Obituary I had both women and men teach me math and science.

Corrine S. Copy, PhD, Counseling Psychology. My Master's Degree Advisor was a top flight professor who boosted my confidence and gave me memorable lessons in supervision. 2010 Obituary

Julianne Lockwood, PhD, Clinical & Forensic Psychology. She was held in high esteem by all who knew her. She gave me excellent postdoc supervision for licensure while reminding me that all of her students passed the national exam the first time. 2019 Obituary

Of course, I have worked for or with a lot of women during my life so a list will never be complete. Those above were there in the early years when we form our ideas about what is normal in society.

And then there was my Queen. You know, the Head of State whose been there since I was a toddler. Queen Elizabeth II, Happy Jubilee.

Photo- My wife in her business attire.

Please check out my website

   and see my books on   AMAZON       or  GOOGLE STORE

Also, consider connecting with me on    FACEBOOK   Geoff W. Sutton    

   TWITTER  @Geoff.W.Sutton    

You can read many published articles at no charge:

  Academia   Geoff W Sutton     ResearchGate   Geoffrey W Sutton