Common Myths Around Mass Shootings From Award-Winning Journalist Mark Follman

When we see headlines of worst-case scenarios — mass shootings — it’s easy to lean on poor mental health support or assume someone woke up one day and ‘just snapped.’ But as Mark Follman, National Affairs Editor for Mother Jones, shares in his conversation with Fred, there is always planning involved.

Mark reveals key insights from his book, Trigger Points: Inside the Mission to Stop Mass Shootings in America, published in April of 2022. It incorporates over eight years of research — diving into missed signals, costly threats that were mitigated, as well as uncovering the dangers of noise and false messaging in the media along the way. He highlights a path forward — one that involves adopting the techniques of behavioral threat assessment and a mentality that everyone has a hand in reporting something that doesn’t feel quite right.

Mark Follman is a longtime journalist and the National Affairs Editor for Mother Jones. Since 2012, when he created a first-of-its-kind public database of mass shootings, his various investigations into gun violence have been honored with numerous awards. His writing and commentary have been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and on National Public Radio, among other media. He resides in the Bay Area with his wife and two children.

He was recently featured on NPR where he discussed behavioral patterns of people who carry out mass shootings, and commented specifically on the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.