Even before the tears dry and the innocent are laid to rest, the questions come. Why did this terrible tragedy take place? Could anyone have prevented it? And how do we comfort our own children? For answers to these and related questions provoked by this week’s tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 20 children and six adults, BaltimoreFishbowl turned to Michael Bogrov, M.D., the chief child and adolescent psychiatrist at Sheppard Pratt Hospital.
BFB: From news reports, a fragmented profile of the shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, has emerged. We know he had Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of autism, and was considered “troubled,” though the precise nature of his mental state is unclear. What is clear is that he lived a fairly isolated life. Social isolation seems to be a huge risk factor at play in several recent shooting rampages or attempts by young adults. Could you speak to that?
Dr. Bogrov: Not only is social isolation one of the most significant risk factors, but it is one that people can do something about. People need to have some way of getting feedback about how they’re thinking. If someone is angry or feeling aggrieved, and no one is around as a sounding board, then that anger can escalate without anybody monitoring it.