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US shootings and football fan violence

US shootings and football fan violence

Clinical psychologist Dr Sarb Johal from the Joint Centre for Disaster Research at Massey University has commented on some of the psychosocial consequences of the latest mass shooting in the US and football fan violence in France.

We are in the midst of a global epidemic of anxiety, he says and this contributes to and may exacerbate that as people think twice about whether they take part in a public event.

As well as this, we have far more effective, virulent and visible means of communication such as social media that enable aggressors to more easily and instantly engage in highly antisocial acts as ‘protest’, or in support of certain world views and in extreme cases, align themselves with others to take part in terrible acts of violence.

Resources to protect the public are sometimes not highly visible and / or highly stretched. This is particularly relevant in France where police and other law enforcers have concentrated attention on the perceived most dangerous areas like stadiums and fan zones that are now the subject of high security/ anti-terrorist measures; but other areas, previously the subject the law and order surveillance like main streets and town centres, are not so much the focus of attention until trouble arises there stretching resources further.

Another consequence is that trust in institutions to protect the public is therefore threatened and may lead to more anxiety, Dr Johal says.

"It should be remembered that although terrible, such events are still rare. Nevertheless, we will have to come to decisions in the face of increased threat as to how we continue to live fulfilling lives without being crippled by fear, and how we structure society to support citizens by reducing the threat and / or protecting us from it. “


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