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Tensions are rising after the Paris, France and now a local terrorist attack. Many are experiencing an elevated level of fear and stress as well as concern for our children.
As new information begins to surface about the shooting that is now being investigated as an act of terrorism in San Bernardino, Calif., much of the country is left with a lot of unanswered questions.
14 people were killed and more than 20 others were injured when Sayed Farook, and Tashfeen Malik opened fire at a Christmas party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif. Wednesday. Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout with police a few miles away hours after the original shooting.
Investigators believe both of the reported shooters, lived a double life. On one side, they were newlyweds who were living in the suburbs with a new baby. On the other side, investigators said they were building pipe bombs and amassing ammunition.
“It takes a lot of cognitive complexity in order to do that, you really just have to separate those things apart, and you’ve got this life and you’ve got that life. And you just never let those mesh together,” 9NEWS Psychologist Dr. Max Wachtel said. “Human behavior is so complicated and motivations are so complicated. A person may have every warning sign in the book and be completely safe. And another person, you would never suspect it, and they would go out and cause one of these horrible mass shooting events.”
On Friday, the FBI said they were investigating the shooting in San Bernardino as an act of terror.
“What we know about terrorist organizations is that they are really good at finding vulnerable people to then exploit and radicalize. They do it by developing a sense of community, that they’re great with social media, they can connect with people all over the world very easily and make it sound appealing. And then it starts to get worse and worse,” 9NEWS Psychologist Dr. Wachtel said.
And while adults struggle to wrap their heads around recent events, including the shooting in California, the shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, and the Paris Terror Attacks, children will have a lot of questions too.
“The main thing you have to keep in mind when you’re talking to your kids is that you don’t have to have the answers, and you might not,” Dr. Wachtel said. “You may be feeling sad, or scared, or angry, confused, you may be feeling hopeless, like this is never going to get better. Or how do we fix it? And there aren’t great answers to a lot of those questions. And you can tell your kids that. You don’t have to be perfect, you can let them know, ‘I don’t know all of this stuff either. Let’s just talk about how we feel about it.'”
Dr. Wachtel said, if you’re so overwhelmed that your anxiety is taking over your life, the best thing to do is to talk to a professional psychologist or psychiatrist about it.
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