Psychiatric Views on the Daily News - Episode 135

Mourning a Role Model of Love for Dads Into Gun Safety (DIGS)

We need more heroes like this man.

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

One of our gun violence prevention challenges is to not take for granted mass shootings. That is why it is important to not only keep mentioning them periodically, but also the ways to reduce them in the future. This can help us get past the learned helplessness that seems intractable.

Over this past weekend, preliminary reports indicate that at least 15 people died and more than 60 were wounded from gun shootings in 8 states. At the same time, the movie “Top Gun: Maverick” had top ticket sales. On Friday, a man who killed a judge in Wisconsin had a political “hit list.”

Just to remind us that gun violence and human nature is not solely an American problem, dozens were killed on Sunday by gunmen on motorcycles who shot and dynamited St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Nigeria, killing dozens. Additionally, the death and destruction in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows no abatement.

In the DIGS model for reducing gun violence that I put forth in my column last Thursday, I was looking for male models other than top guns to help lead the way. A colleague found one for me in Ben Beers, a former Marine, who was highlighted in another column for giving his firearms to police to be destroyed.

Now I have another model of a different sort: William Love. He was a 73-year-old Armed Forces veteran, who had retired as a first sergeant. Last Wednesday, he was accompanying another patient in part of the Saint Francis Hospital system in Tulsa. By media reports, once the shooting began where he was, he was killed holding the door open to let others escape. Should we desire to be able to model after Mr Love, the Heroic Imagination Project put together by the psychologist Philip Zimbardo is one way to help prepare ourselves to be heroes by imagining what we would like to do in similar situations.

Males for gun safety come in different models, including ones like the heroic Mr Love.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.