Lincoln B. Sloas, Gabriel Cesar

Assessing Public Opinion Regarding Appropriate Responses to Would-be Mass Shooters: Applying a Balanced Justice Framework

  • Applied Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

The unpredictable and widespread threat of mass shootings make them a concern that could affect anyone, anywhere. As such, being able to interrupt the process of planning and conducting a mass shooting represents a matter of public safety. Willingness to report, particularly on loved ones or associates, ultimately requires the public to be supportive of the interventions they think will be applied. In this study, we analyzed responses to an online “opt-in” survey ( n = 274) that measured public opinion regarding how punitive (or therapeutic) the public at large suppose the sanctions for planning (but not [yet] conducting) a mass shooting should be. Our findings suggest the public is supportive of a balanced justice approach for both juveniles and adults, with and without mental illness, who plan a mass shooting when given the option.

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