After a recent string of mass shootings in 2021, experts are warning that the violence could get worse.
The recent shootings at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis and another workplace shooting in Bryan, Texas, which came on the heels of other high-profile shootings earlier in Colorado and Georgia, have caused experts to reflect on the disturbing trend.
The shooting in Indianapolis left 8 people dead, the deadliest workplace shooting since 2020.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, 2021 has seen 147 mass shootings, with 45 reported last month alone.
Dr. Alex del Carmen, an associate dean and criminologist at Tarleton State University, said that this may only be the beginning of the trend.
“We see these ups and down through history, and I’m afraid we’re going to see a surge of violence in the United States,” he said.
Carmen believes that the pandemic could be a large factor in the shootings as the country begins opening up and more people return to the work place.
“Now you have less tolerance, you have bills to catch up to, loved ones that you’ve lost, and then you have a fear another strain of the virus is going to come about,” Dr. del Carmen said.
Unfortunately, after a year of isolation, it may take a while to unwind dangerous behaviors.
“I really see this as more of a behavioral component that is going to continue and continue for months to come, until that behavior levels off, and it takes about two to three years,” said Dr. del Carmen.
James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University and an expert on mass killings, was also pessimistic.
“It’s quite possible there will be an increase in these kinds of killings when people who have been working remotely start to return.”
Lori Ann Post, director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, believes that it’s not just people returning to work that is the problem, but that the media may play a role.
“It’s because the pandemic and politics sucked up all the attention last year,” Post said. “The objective of mass shooters is to kill as many people as possible and get as much attention as possible. Now that Covid is starting to decline, and we have a president who is not involved in scandal after scandal, there is more room in the media for something else.”
Indeed, NBC News reported that the number of homicides and aggravated assaults jumped by 30% during the pandemic.
To stay safe, Carmen advised people to be more vigilant of their surroundings.
“Those of us going to work daily now, that are fighting traffic again, need to be aware of our surroundings and cognizant that there are people with a lot less patience than what we had 18 months ago,” he said.
According to CBS DFW, security experts say that every workplace should establish a strict anti-violence policy and train employees on how to recognize warning signs. Finally, businesses are advised to consult with local law enforcement to form a plan of action in the event of a shooting.