Dr. James Ramsay, professor of security studies and coordinator of UNH's Homeland Security program, joined a panel of fellow experts on New Hampshire Public Radio’s The Exchange to discuss security, preparedness and grief in response to the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. The attack, perpetrated by a lone gunman, killed 59 people and injured hundreds at an outdoor music festival.
“We need to have a conversation as country around our culture of preparedness and our culture of violence,” Ramsay said. “There are a lot of things done on a regular basis that should make people feel safe, but you can’t profile everything. We live in a free society, and a free society allows people to mindfully determine to be violent.”
Ramsay, who has 20 years of experience in the fields of emergency management and security, says the ambiguous nature of the tragedy makes it difficult for many to understand and respond to.
“Uncertainty is an extremely uncomfortable part of the human condition. It typically breeds fear,” Ramsay said. “It's the lack of profile, the lack of understanding and the lack of motive that redoubles the uncertainty of all of this.”
Ramsay was joined on the program by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen; Perry Plummer, director of the N.H. Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; Gerri King, social psychologist and organizational consultant; and Leeane Tigert, hospice care manager and pastoral psychotherapist.
Ramsay says we need to embrace a conversation as a society, from acts of violence to natural disasters, to effectively prepare and react as a nation.
“We go forward rest assured that we have amazing law enforcement and world-class first responders in every single state. Day in, day out, tons of things happen quite beautifully, safely and securely, but at the end of the day, these things can happen,” Ramsay said. “How do we have national conversation about where we need to go to be resilient, and how do we scale up individual resilience and grief processing to the national level?”
Interested in homeland security and emergency management? Learn more about UNH's homeland security program.
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