Clinical psychologist weighs in on gun violence after school shooting in Florida

(WISH Photo/Vi Nguyen)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Since 2003 there have been 290 reported school shootings according to a nonprofit organization looking at gun violence in our country, including 18 so far this year.

A clinical psychologist at IU Health said this is something we must have a conversation about. She said gun violence is common in popular culture and may contribute to the number of mass shootings.

The terrifying scene has played out many times over the years at different schools across the country: students being rushed out of the school with their hands up by police after a shooting on campus grounds.

It happened just last month at a high school in Kentucky, and again Wednesday in Florida.

“It’s really disheartening to hear that yet another one of these shootings has occurred and it seems like we’re no closer to finding a solution to reduce these shootings to keep our kids safe,” said Kristen Chapleau, a clinical psychologist at IU Health.

She believes the question to ask now is what can we do to prevent this tragedy from happening again?

“I think the only way that we can do that is by looking at and changing the culture that encourages that kind of violent behavior,” Chapleau said.

She said we see gun violence every day in movies, television, and video games.

“Kids then learn this is how you deal with problems, this is how you deal with your emotions and pulling a trigger is how we solve a problem instead of thinking,” Chapleau said.

Chapleau believes 90 percent of shooters are male.

“How do we express these emotions in a way where they’re not trying to repress them but then they learn ‘oh if I want to express my feelings right, a manly way to do it is by pulling the trigger’ and that’s not the answer,” she said.

Chapleau knows the conversation about gun violence and safety won’t end here.

“Not only to talk to your kids, I think it’s also (to) talk to your legislature about that to ensure what are we doing in the state of Indiana to make sure that kids are safe at school,” Chapleau said.