Why the Louisville Mass Shooter Escaped Identification as a Potential Threat: Unraveling the Systemic Lapses

Why the Louisville Mass Shooter Escaped Identification as a Potential Threat Unraveling the Systemic Lapses

Before killing five people at the Old National Bank downtown on Monday, the shooter involved in the mass shooting in Louisville, Kentucky, reportedly sought counseling for anxiety and melancholy.

There have been inquiries as to why this attacker was not recognized as a threat to society by counselors before to his shooting rampage.

Dr. Dustin Wygant, an EKU psychology professor, claims that the complexity of the relationship between psychological and violent behavior is the true problem.

“The field of psychology and psychiatry, when we think about predictions of violence, this is very difficult to make these predictions,” said Dr. Wygant.

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According to Dr. Wygant, there aren’t many avenues for Kentucky residents or mental health professionals to raise concerns about individuals who are displaying higher violence risk; yet, it is the responsibility of the mental health professional to pose important questions.

“Mental health professionals knowing what to look for and asking the right questions so that we can thoroughly assess for one’s risk for violence,” said Dr. Wygant.

According to Dr. Wygant, there are a few crucial signs to watch out for if you have a loved one who is experiencing mental disorders and you are worried that they might harm themselves or others. He lists some of them as rising drug usage, growing social isolation, and feeling increasing resentment from others.

“You know, it’s really those behavior indicators that are more of a predictor of who might engage in violence versus just having anxiety, having depression and other types of mental conditions,” said Dr. Wygant. “It’s those kinds of situations coupled with rapid access to lethal means being the picture that we see in so many of these cases.”

There are still unanswered questions about why, but according to Dr. Wygant, most people with mental illnesses do not engage in mass shootings.

“We have to appreciate that millions of people in this country are suffering from mental illness every day, and the vast, vast majority of those individuals will not commit acts of violence,” said Dr. Wygant. “In fact, research shows that people with mental illness are more likely to be harmed by violence than being the perpetrator of violence.”

There is assistance available if you or someone you know needs it. The suicide and crisis lifeline number is 988.

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