After a mass shooting, the nation debates the merits of strengthening gun safety laws or improving the mental health system. But what if it were possible to teach people how to decrease their desire to kill? James Kimmel, Jr. — an author and psychiatry lecturer at Yale University — believes that by focusing on motive control, we can move beyond the usual political arguments about gun safety or mental health and actually prevent a shooter from pulling the trigger.
Kimmel claims that many people who commit acts of violence are trying to achieve justice for a past wrong and are driven by a craving for revenge that, he says, “operates in the same pleasure center of the mind that activate for narcotics addiction.” “We know with narcotics addicts, that many people do drugs and they’re able to pull away from them successfully, but here is a core group of people who are vulnerable,” Kimmel told ThinkProgress.
That vulnerable population now has a new resource: SavingCain.org. The site, launched by Kimmel earlier this month and modeled on suicide prevention holtlines, hopes to engage shooters in a moment of dialogue before they act. It urges revenge seekers to consider calling a hotline for help or, among other things, a therapeutic tool called the non-justice system.