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School Massacre: What Accounts for the Mass Killings?

Aired December 15, 2012 - 21:00:00   ET


DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Welcome to a special weekend edition of "DR. DREW ON CALL." And in my humble opinion, we are here to discuss something that has put this country into new terrain. We have crossed over into a zone that I never anticipated. I remain sad, numb, disgust. Yesterday, 20 children, 6 adults, killed. Close range. Connecticut school. The sadness is lifting and people are getting angry. So why is this happening? What are we feeling today? And what can we do to stop this violence? I`m going to go first out to Connecticut where CNN`s Soledad O`Brien has been since the shooting. Soledad, what`s the tone and the atmosphere like out there today?

SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Newtown, the sadness isn`t lifting at all. I think people feel very mired in it. I`ve had a chance to talk to some parents of children who were in the school and who`ve been recounting as first and second and third graders to their parents what they heard and what they saw and just how terrified they were whether they were hiding in cubbies or being read to by their teachers or locked in a bathroom. So I think for people here they are really just feeling - you know, coming to terms with the trauma that they lived through because of what their children survived.

And, of course, we are waiting to get more information about those who did not survive. And for many people in town, because it is not a very big town and people know each other, even if their kids don`t go to the same school, they may play on teams together, they might go to church together. They know that there will be people on the list, that`s what some people have been calling it, the list, that they know. So people are just mired in sadness.

And many people have been driving into Newtown, I ran into some people from Greenwich, some people from even further up from there who`ve just come to, you know, to pay their respects and bring flowers and light votive candles because they are sort of trying to wrap their heads around what happened here even though they are not from here. It is just so brutally sad. So I think people are just stuck in sadness here, and understandably, of course.

PINKSY: But Soledad, now, you have -- how old are your twins now?

O`BRIEN: I have the twin boys who are eight, and my older children, daughters are ten and 12. So yeah, that you know, you talk to these parents, it kills you. It kill you.

PINSKY: Well, I see the sadness in your face, but my first question to you is what are you going to tell your kids or what have you told your kids about what happened there?

O`BRIEN: I have told them nothing because I come straight here from Wisconsin. I jumped on a plane and came in, so I haven`t even spoken to them except to tell them good night. I have left that up to their dad who`s been basically trying to tell them, you know, that mom is fine and the people here, there was a bad guy, and now good people have rushed in.

And I think consistently I`ve covered unfortunately so many of these tragedies, so many of these tragedies, so the message like it`s I always try to have is for every bad thing there are always good people who will make this bad thing as much as they can, they will make it better. And that there are so many good people. And the good people always outweigh the bad people, they really do. But right now people are just really sad. And the best thing you can do is be one of the good people and here where you are and sending your thoughts to where you are not or where the bad thing has happened. So, you know, and because they are little, that`s sort of the best way that I can articulate it.

PINSKY: Right.

O`BRIEN: I don`t know that it makes them feel safe.

PINSKY: It`s a great idea to sort of keep it - keep it on - keep it on the terminology that eight-year-olds can understand, not, you know, us as adults having to, you know, process it all the way through, which is nonsense for an eight-year-old. But let me ask you now as a mom, and myself as a dad, this is - my head -- I can`t get my head around this. It is so overwhelming. And you`re out there in it, can you tell me what you`re feeling?

O`BRIEN: You know, I think when you interview parents who have come so close to losing a child, I mean, really, as close as you possibly can without a child perishing in a hell of gunfire, frankly, your heart just breaks for them. Because you know, we all know, how - how precious our kids are. Right? And you also understand, when you drop someone off at school, we think the day is just going to unfold but, of course, tragedies happen, and it happened so fast. And did you kiss your kids good-bye or were you snipping at them and annoyed because they were dragging their feet? I mean it was just terrible. So, I think a lot of the parents whose kids survive, feel the same way, they feel so lucky and then they feel guilty for feeling lucky because their friend`s child did not survive. And they know that that child is a playmate of their child and how do they explain it to their kid.

I mean, it is just - it`s just so confusing and terrible. It`s just really tough for people here. And, you know, it`s funny, one of the set of parents said that they were listening to the news to try to get information on how to -- what to say to their kids and they realized that most of the information was for the people who are not here. It was for people in the nation to figure it out, you know, to answer those questions ...

PINSKY: Yeah, that`s right.

O`BRIEN: But for people who literally know people who have died, they said, no, they are going to go to the counselors because they don`t know that they are getting the information they need.

PINSKY: Yes, well, Soledad, let me be clear, let me -- as a professional stepping in and give advice to people in Connecticut, which is don`t do this alone. Don`t do this alone. There is tons of resources pouring into your community. Use them. Even a relatively minor exposure, let`s say your kid was barely exposed to what happened yesterday or even in a different school, a junior high school or something nearby, still there can be massive reactions. And if you get professional help now, the probability of those reactions being intense or persistent really goes down dramatically.

Soledad, my understanding is there`s still kind of a scene at the fire station. I want you to tell me about that. And I heard last night that most of the -- go ahead.

O`BRIEN: I was just going to say, yes, I just came from there. And yeah, you know, it`s what it`s become the fire station, of course, is where the kids ran when they left the school. They ran to the fire station to get sort of in a zone of safety. At the fire station people were dropping off flowers and votive candles that they were lighting and really, it`s become a bit of a memorial center as well for people in the community and for people outside the community. And, you know, I think it is for people outside the community.

You asked a little bit earlier about, you know, who is getting mad. My sense is that people outside the community, myself included sometimes, so I feel like I have covered a lot of these shooting tragedies, you know, it is like, when do we solve the -- when do we start talking about the gun control issue, when do we talk about mental illness? All these things that we know might be part of this. You know, everyone will say, this is not the time. Today is not the day. Well, when is the day? Because we are going to have another tragedy and there`s got to be a day where we try to have a solution. So I think there are people outside of this immediate area who are very sick of following these stories or telling these stories, honestly.

PINSKY: Yes, and I have got to say, Soledad, I agree with you, today is the day. If not now, when? And when we have a head of steam about this, maybe we`ll carry us to actually make change. And I`m sick and tired of reporting stories like this. I mean we`ve -- you and I both have been talking about various senseless stories for the last couple of weeks, three weeks, somebody being pushed in front of a subway, somebody opening fire in an Oregon mall, we are not safe anywhere right now. It doesn`t feel like we are safe anywhere. So tonight, yes, we are going to talk about that on this program.

But Soledad, I appreciate you reporting from there. My heart goes out to you and that entire community. I can`t -- it`s just, it`s everyone in the country has got to be feeling like this, this morning. And I do believe ...

O`BRIEN: Oh, I know they are.

PINSKY: ... that this is unlike anything else - unlike anything else we have seen.

O`BRIEN: The people here are very grateful. A number of parents have said that they are so grateful for all the thoughts and the wishes that are coming, not just from around the country, but internationally as well. I think it` been - I think it`s been very important for them and I think it`s been very moving for them to know that they are in the center of so many prayers and good wishes. I think that`s a really, a really big deal for them.

PINSKY: Well, thanks very much. I appreciate it, Soledad.

Joining by phone I have Sue Shortt, she has a child who attends Sandy Hook Elementary School. Sue, are you there?


PINSKY: Tell us what you are experiencing, what it is like today.

SHORTT: Well, my family has come from all over Connecticut. I have friends from New Jersey who came to my house. We are just kind of feeling like we need to be around each other. They all wanted to give my little kindergartner a big hug. You know, it was such a close call for him. And ....

PINSKY: Where was he when this all went down?

SHORTT: He was about four doors down in a different classroom. And the teacher, you know, did a wonderful job of keeping them all safe. And all the teachers did. They are just amazing.

PINSKY: Can you - can you tell me, I don`t want to get too much into the story this evening, but why were there -- it seemed like the kindergartners were sort of spread around, what was - who were in the classroom that he shot at?

SHORTT: From what I understand it is not a kindergarten class, it is two first grade classes. I don`t know what his ties were. I think because it`s the closest classrooms to the office, the closest classrooms to the front entrance where he came in, I think it was just that`s where he randomly chose to go. He didn`t go down the hall to, you know, the first or the second grade classes and the kindergarten classes, thank God.

PINSKY: Right, thank God.

SHORTT: But yeah, I think it was just a matter of logistics for him. I - you know.

PINSKY: What do you think, Sandy, we can do as a country and what do you need from your leaders and anyone, for that matter, to help you in your community?

SHORTT: I, you know, the grief counseling centers that they have set up, it`s been, you know, I have heard of many, I have not been able to contact any yet because, like I said, my family and friends all have been around, but I know just for my own sanity, I need to learn how to - I know you and Soledad were talking about it, talk to your child about this. I don`t know how to approach it. I don`t know if I should approach it. I don`t, you know, I`m not, I`m just obviously, this is new for everybody. And guidance with that is helpful. And, you know, we all here appreciate all the well wishes. I live about three blocks from the school.


SHORTT: And there`s just cars lined up my road from people all over the world probably that are coming. And I know we had somebody from Sweden here yesterday that stopped by. So it`s been tremendous support from everybody. And we all thank God for that.

PINSKY: Well, Sue, let me say, for those of you who are trying to talk to kids who were in proximity to this, for sure talk to them. You do talk to them, you let them know that this is secure, it`s not going to happen again. Because in their mind it is about to happen again. It is not going to happen, things are fine.

SHORTT: Right.

PINSKY: Do get professional help for sure.


PINSKY: And expect changes in his behavior for the next couple of weeks, either withdrawing or irritability, acting in ways that are not characteristic. Even some kids may start bedwetting and that sort of thing again. And that`s all part of working through these sorts of experiences for a child.

SHORTT: Right.

PINSKY: Sue, I -- you sound great, it`s -- you know, the support of family and loved ones, it`s so vividly important in a situation like this, isn`t it?


PINSKY: And I think that`s why you do -- are sounding OK, but ...

SHORTT: Yeah, well, and shocked, still. I mean it, you know ...

PINSKY: I understand.

SHORTT: It hasn`t all sunk in. So.

PINSKY: I understand, and you, too, it`s going to -- there`s going to be yet ripples that go for quite some time.


PINSKY: But our prayers are with you and thank you for calling. I do appreciate it.

SHORTT: Sure. Thank you.

PINSKY: All right. We are going to keep this conversation going. I have a psychiatrist who is there on the ground in that community who is going to give us his thoughts on what this is.


PINSKY: My psychiatrist colleague is still en route to Connecticut and I`ll be getting to him in just a moment, first, though, I`m going to welcome Attorney Areva Martin. Areva, we always hear about warning signs after these mass killings. So my question here, and this is a kind of a heavy question, but if somebody sees someone that they feel strongly is prone to trouble and they don`t meet criteria for the restriction of their rights, like a 72-hour hold, or something like that, should those rights always trump public safety?

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: You know, you are right, Dr. Drew, it is such a complicated question, you know, we have this horrific tragedy that`s being played out on the media. You know, these school kids, kindergarten kids, and as a mom, my heart goes out to all of these parents, but when you start talking about individual rights, you know, we are talking about the Constitution here. We are talking about an individual that has the right to, you know, have their medical history to be kept private. So if someone is acting strange or odd, you know, do we want to have all these folks arrested? Do we want them in hospitals? You know, can we have police officers following them? What do we do? We could be talking about thousands of individuals, most of whom will never commit any type of crime. And definitely not the type of, you know, horrific criminal acts like yesterday.

PINSKY: Well, Areva, respectfully, respectfully and by way of polemic, the Constitution has been with us for a couple of hundred years and only recently did we see it appropriate to let people out of state hospitals and let people live on the streets and let people do whatever they want just because it is their right, that seems to be a recent interpretation of the Constitution, isn`t it?

MARTIN: But Dr. Drew, what we are talking about is people who are acting strangely or people who make some kind of threat.

PINSKY: I don`t know. They guy that - the guy that ...

MARTIN: What are you going to do with all those people?

What are you going to do with them?

PINSKY: The guy that acts strangely - well, the guy -- want to do something. The guy who is acting strangely in the subway that a relatively heroic gentlemen goes up and says, stop hassling these poor citizens and he ends up on the tracks dead. Yeah, I say we need to do something. I say there`s a problem.

MARTIN: But what are we going to do with that guy, Dr. Drew? Are we going to put him in the hospital? Who is going to pay for it? Are we going to have police officers ...

PINSKY: Good question.

MARITN: ... following that guy and what about the thousands of other people who are acting strangely? Now, there was a case recently, just a couple of days ago where a high school student was planning, you know, to attack some, you know, the kids at his school and it was reported to the police. The police arrested this guy. That was an appropriate action. He`s being held on a very high bond because he is a danger and he is a threat, but that was something very tangible where the police took action.

PINSKY: Well, Areva, right, I agree with you wholeheartedly. And by the way, your point about the cost and all is very important. And I don`t have answers for that, but that gentlemen in Oklahoma you`re referring to was held on $200,000 bail until yesterday when they increased it to a million dollars. Oh, my goodness. Maybe we should have restricted that guy`s rights.

MARTIN: So we`ve got to give that judge a lot of credit, we have to give that judge a lot of credit for taking action and saying this is so serious that we are not going to let this guy out of jail and we are going to give those students credit for reporting it to the school authorities and the school authority reporting it to the police. That`s a good case because there was something tangible and there was something that could be done. In so many of these cases the threats are just veiled ...

PINSKY: Wait a minute.


MARTIN: You know, they are thinly veiled threats, or there`s odd behavior.

PINSKY: But Areva, Areva, had the tragedy not happened yesterday, that guy would have gotten out on bail. That`s the problem we have here. There is not a sense of the seriousness and the probability of somebody doing horrible things!

MARTIN: You know, Dr. Drew, I`m all for taking immediate action to protect our kids. I`m a mom, so I want my kids who are school-age kids to be able to go to school and to feel safe. I want kids around this nation to feel safe, but I`m also concerned about overreaching. What are we doing in these cases of odd behavior? Odd behavior is not psychotic behavior. And I just don`t know if there`s a solution short of housing, you know, warehousing thousands and thousands upon thousands of individuals. What are we going to do with them? Give me a solution.

PINSKY: Well, maybe - I don`t -- that`s why we are having this conversation, but maybe there`s a way that we can function differently as a community and not think in terms of, oh, there`s this funny behaving person, but really step in. Be proactive. Report those things. Stand up to people.

MARTIN: Can we step back, Dr. Drew?

PINSKY: and show a unified front. Not go over just how they are, what are you going to do? What are you going to do ...

MARTIN: Can we step back and deal with the violence? Can we step back and deal with the daily dose of violence in our community? The diet that we are on. The insatiable thirst that we all have for violence in movies, in songs, in lyrics, in books. Can we deal with that? I think that`s so much a part of this issue ...

PINSKY: Well, I agree.

MARTIN: ... when we see these horrific tragedies, we have to think, you know, this is textbook movies that we see all the time.

PINSKY: I agree, but let me say two things that chilled me. Chilled me, and it`s not about that, although it is helping, I heard an interview with lots of people who are speaking in the media today, I heard an interview with - I think he was an educator and he said, the real problem, yes, he was a principal, and he said the real problem at our schools is not guns and not violence, it is hatred. That these kids seem to arrive at the schools with hatred. And by the same token, I heard another fellow say, listen, as bad as this was in response, he was a counselor at Columbine, he said as bad as this was as somebody out there planning something worse, I literally had a chill down my spine when I heard that. So, it`s hatred. Hatred is the problem here, guys. And where is that coming from? Where is the divisiveness and the hatred coming from? That`s not a community. You can`t have a society that way. Where were you--


MARTIN: I think we are in an agreement. We all have a role, all responsibility ...

PINSKY: All right, fair enough.

MARTIN: ... to try to protect our kids.

PINSKY: Fair enough.

This is now, I`ve got Wendy Davenson, she is a grief counselor, I believe in Connecticut, is that right, Wendy?


PINSKY: Listen, first of all, hats off to you, my dear. I don`t understand how you -- this has got to be overwhelming work today. You are actually there helping with the families?

DAVENSON: I have not worked with the families yet, Dr. Drew. I`m working with parent connection and what we are trying to do is come up with a program tomorrow for all residents to deal with how to talk to your children, what to say to them regardless of their ages. We are trying to organize a whole workshop, which we`ll talk about the effects of trauma on adults and children. How to support one another in understanding grief as a process and then we will have therapists who will also be there. We can break up into smaller groups and deal with ...

PINSKY: I`m going to - I`m going to interrupt you. It sounds fantastic and I`m going to ask you to give some advice to my viewers right now. You say grief is a process, so give them some idea, what they -- and I think all of us are grieving the world we thought we knew the day before yesterday. That world is gone. I`m grieving that, but what is the process people should expect and what sort of action should they take?

DAVENSON: They should expect the process that`s very chaotic. That one minute you think you`re fine, the next minute you can`t believe that it happens. The next minute you`re trying to understand it. The next minute you`re undergoing a wave of despair. It is an absolutely chaotic process and allow for that chaos to occur. Speaking about it, thorough, give thorough words is the very best thing to do to talk about it. And to talk about feelings, and especially with our children, to let the children talk and let them try to make sense of it instead of us telling them how to make sense of it.

PINSKY: Wendy, the extremely clear, I agree 100 percent. It is funny, yesterday I was complaining, I sat in front of the television camera for hours, and I kept saying, you know, I`m feeling numb, I`m feeling sad, I`m feeling angry, every five minutes I felt a new wave of something unpleasant coming over me. The numbness was probably the -- the numbness, the numbing, which is by the way the least healthy, is when it felt the best in the moment because you just can`t believe the feelings you`re having.

DAVENSON: Exactly.

PINSKY: Oh, Wendy, listen, so give sorrow words, let kids talk about feelings, don`t worry about, again, I hear parents saying about processing feelings, no, no just be present. Talk about feelings. I think that`s great advice. Wendy, thank you so much.

DAVENSON: I hope they will learn to listen to their children and not try to fix it for them.

PINSKY: Be present. You`re absolutely right. Don`t fix, be present. Tune, tune your body to your child`s. Not their words, not what they are saying, just attune intuitive, intuit what they are experiencing.

DAVENSON: I think you also said earlier, look for signs that are different, whether it is regression, whether it is the nightmares, changes in eating, you know all of the signs.

PINSKY: Expect all of that. And don`t - again, don`t try to fix it. Wendy, thank you very much. Next up I do have a psychiatrist on the scene in Newtown, Connecticut, he joins us. He says tragedies are preventable. Tragedies like this. I would like to know how. Be right back.


PINSKY: Give sorrow words. We just learned that very important lesson from a grief counselor. And also a reminder that those of us that have been gorging on this experience for the last 24 hours, our feelings are going to be chaotic, they are going to be unpredictable. I know myself as I said it has gone from sad to mad to numb to disgust. I mean that kind of disgust, the way is right now. But enough already, enough. I think that`s - for me that`s how I`m feeling today, which is enough of this. We need to gather together as a community, as a country, and take action in our streets. Take action on a regular basis. Don`t let these things happen again.

To that point, as we take here this morning, I want to bring in Dr. John Sharp, he is a Harvard faculty psychiatrist. He is in Newtown, Connecticut. Obviously it is bright light there. I don`t want people to - I want to be completely transparent, I know this is airing at 9:00 at night, but this is a few hours before. John, you understand what I`m talking about here, that there`s sort of an attitude out there, that, you know, there`s a lot of tolerance, and I`m all for tolerance, but we have to understand the signs. We have to - and react to them and not just go, who am I to say? You actually do have to say, would you agree?

DR. JOHN SHARP, PSYCHIATRIST: Yeah, I totally would agree. You know, being here, it is so emotional, just like your grief counselor was saying before, there is so many shifting feelings, you don`t feel stable, you don`t feel all right, you don`t feel good at all. You know, I`m sad, I`m angry, it`s shifting all over the place. And I think prevention, if we can figure out a way to do it, would really make a difference. Don`t you think? Early intervention and prevention has got to be the best answer here.

PINSKY: All right, so John, now, I don`t want just to leave that out into the ether, Dr. Sharp, and say, we got to do this. What do we do? Listen, everybody feels helpless today, everyone`s angry today. What can we do now? What can each of us do now? I mean and let me state the kinds of things we have been saying, which is, you know, notice anything strange, report it to authority, don`t be in denial if you have a family or loved one with a condition. Is there more we can add to that list?

SHARP: Oh, absolutely. I mean my grand suggestion would be as a society we find a way to make interventions like the way we do with drugs and alcohol for gloomy, moody, odd seeming adolescents. We should treat aggressively what could be depression or could be an emerging psychosis in a young adult. We should surround them with love and care and find a way to pay for a meaningful treatment. So a young man such as this could have gone on, no atrocities and led a successful life. I think we have to try to do that as best as we can.

PINSKY: OK. I have a couple more questions for you, as soon as you said how we, you know, we have to find the ways to pay for it, I immediately get overwhelmed because I have worked in the system for years. And there`s no money for anything, but that being the case, would you, A, would you agree that if this kid could have been held, the kid, the perpetrator whose name will not be spoken right now, could have been held for 24 to 48 hours, these impulses may have passed and never recurred. Number one, and number two, well, you answer that one first.

SHARP: Absolutely.

PINSKY: Go ahead. Go ahead.

SHARP: Yes, absolutely. It is not hopeless at all. People say, you know, a kid who doesn`t want to comply, who is not willing to cooperate, what`s the point, you hospitalize them, they play like there`s no problem and talk their way out. That`s not the case, usually. Usually, someone can be contained and they can be treated even in a few days and that can make a major difference. Either it passes or they get an entree into treatment where this can actually be taken care of over time.

PINSKY: And then finally, the unthinkable quality of this sort of execution of little children. That this -- I can`t, I can`t even like, I choke on it when I say it. To me it had a neurobiological kind of feel to it. So, I was saying yesterday sort of like an autistic kind of spectrum where empathy was blocked for some reason. Do you agree that something we`re going to probably learn about this guy?

SHARP: You know, I would like to agree with you, Dr. Drew, but I don`t think the autistic spectrum thing, really, is something that can go over here. You know, autistic kids can be angry, they can be a little bit violent, they can be a little bit remote. But they are not on a scale like this. You know, this kid, we don`t know, right? He either could be one of the types that really lacks empathy and ends up being something along the lines of a sociopath diagnostically, or could be, you know, out of contact with reality and could be hearing delusional thoughts and acting accordingly that way. We don`t know. But my point, I think, where I can agree is that either way this would have been, I believe preventable and I think treatment could have made a difference. Early, especially early on. Younger than just last week, you know, years ago.

PINSKY: Oh, yes. I think these are all great points. Dr. Sharp, thank you very much.

Ahead, we are going to look at further at some of the perhaps - I almost hate to do this, because it in a way sounds like we are trying to justify behavior that`s unconscionable, but we`re going to look at the mindset of this individual that carried these things out. Also I want to talk to a caller who I just have her on hold right now who knows a teacher who was in the next classroom. Be right back.


PINSKY: For the very latest on this tragedy, tune into HLN`s Sunday morning "Weekend Express" at 7:00 a.m. Eastern time. And we, of course, will be covering the story again on Monday as well on Dr. Drew ON CALL. And my executive producer just came in here and put something in my head that I think will warrant sharing with you, is it, you know, I keep talking about how we crossed into a zone I never thought we would be in, think about this. A week ago you might have said to a friend, hey, I`m going to drop my kids off and go to the mall and not thought anything of it. Now think of the implications of that today. It`s a different world. Dorrie Carolan`s daughter`s best friend is a teacher who was in the school at the time of the shooting. Dorrie, tell me what you know.

DORRIE CAROLAN, DAUGHTER`S FRIEND IS TEACHER AT SANDY HOOK: Well, I rather than give out some things that are confidential, I basically just want to say that the responsibilities that these teachers had that day, when you become the teacher, your job is to educate. And the word protect in a situation of life and death was not something that I think any teacher ever thought that they would have to handle. And the Newtown system did an incredible job of protecting our children. And how do we help these teachers who are going to face parents who their children didn`t survive or their children did survive?


CAROLAN: Embracing - and I can`t imagine what these teachers are going through.

PINSKY: Yes, I mean the teachers ...

CAROLAN: How do we help them?

PINSKY: Well, listen -- there were heroes all over the place at that school, the teachers who are not with us anymore, the teachers that are and shielded the kids and got them out of there, the first responders, I mean they are -- we are going to hear many stories of heroism, I`m sure. Now, listen, I want to press you on something and please, don`t say anything if you can`t, when you say there`s confidential material, what are you referring to?

CAROLAN: Well, it is not confidential, it`s just that it`s not my place to repeat what was said to me.

PINSKY: I see.

CAROLAN: You know, thoughts that teachers had and how they reacted. But it`s just, it is just, your heart goes out to them ...


CAROLAN: ... because I don`t know how they are going to go on. They will go on because we are a strong community and we will embrace each other. Newtown will never be the same. But we will come out of this. And as we have done in the past with many situations.

PINSKY: Yes, Dorrie, that`s a really important message, which is we will get through this. We will get through this. But I had -- yesterday in my program I had a teacher who was in a room where there was violence and this is now three or four years out for her and she is still dealing with the reverberations emotionally. And this particular experience, this particular story sent her right back to where she was three or four years ago. So it is something, you`re right, that people are going to be affected by the rest of their lives. There`s just no way about it. And I`m going to go so far to say this country is going to be affected permanently by this. This is a zone that we don`t want to be in. We have to find the way out of this. Dorrie, thank you for that call.

CAROLAN: Thank you.

PINSKY: I now have Michelle Ward, she is a psychologist who specializes in psychopathy and violent behavior, she is the host of "Stocked" on Investigation Discovery. Michelle, all right, you were the person for me for this topic today. A, because you`re a mom, so I`ve got - I`ve got to know what you`re feeling as a mom, and B, this is your area of interest. Would you speculate that there`s some degree of psychopathy. And, well, let me ask the question differently -- even a psychopath - even a psychopath doesn`t execute kids. Wouldn`t you say that?


PINSKY: Isn`t there something different about this?

WARD: Right. There is something so categorically different about this and it is shaking all of us to our core. Even those of us who study this type of violence are brought to our knees with this. And this is the problem. There`s something going on with an element of fame or attention. There`s something different about this wave of crime that we are seeing. And I can`t put my finger on it. All I know is that it`s got to stop. And I think we have elements of, you know, gun control, obviously, we need to address civil liberties with mentally ill that we need to address, and some of this attention we are giving to it. I mean I make my life, you know, my living in the media as you do, but there`s something going on here with these people are trying to create as much fear and fame as they possibly can. And I think we need to open up some really unpopular dialogues.

PINSKY: Now this right next to you on the screen is a Facebook photo of the kid that is thought to have committed these crimes. Michelle, let me ask this about psychopaths, do they hate? Because to me, hatred seems to be the thing that`s bubbling up here in our world and fueling a lot of this. Do psychopaths hate?

WARD: Psychopaths are goal driven. So whatever they want is what they go after with no empathy. They don`t care. They don`t feel enough to hate. They don`t experience those connections. I mean, you really have to have the opposite, you have to be able to love to truly hate. They are goal driven.

So I don`t - and I think what you said before is so important, we are seeing so much hate here. I don`t think this guy is a psychopath. He is clearly without empathy. Clearly. But I don`t -- I think he is - we are dealing with a different mental illness here because I don`t - I don`t think he was with -- I don`t think he was goal driven in terms of like he was absolutely, oh, this is what I`m going to do. I`m going to set out -- we have like CNN reporting maybe some Asperger`s or something else, which you don`t normally see violence, but this is something totally different. And I don`t think it is isolated and unrelated to the other events we have been seeing.

PINSKY: OK, and Michelle, you deal with violent crimes, you`ve heard horrific stories. How does this one affect you as a mother?

WARD: You know, there`s a certain amount of crime that`s unpredictable. And therefore it is unpreventable. And I was kissing my little baby`s head last night before I put her down and none of that mattered. None of that matters. If you can`t feel safe to send your kid to school or to go to the mall, what can you do? How do you protect your children? Nothing I have studied matters when I`m putting Charlotte to bed. That`s the thing that`s happening here. And those little empty beds last night, I was thinking about those parents and those little cute rooms of those five and six-year-olds and those little empty beds, none of the science matters, none of this dialogue matters. I think we need to stay mad, we need to figure this out. We need to - we are never going to eliminate violence, but we have to talk about these unpopular things and really try to figure out what`s going on with our country right now.

PINSKY: That`s right. What`s going on, and the idea of those empty - the parents who went to bed last night, I can`t say it almost, but let`s do. They went to bed last night with empty beds in their house where those little kids were supposed to have been. It`s just - it`s just too much. Let me go quickly to Gail in Pennsylvania. Gail, did you have something you want to say to us?

GALE, PENNSYLVANIA: Yes, Dr. Drew, I have mental illness, and this really frightened me. And I`m very upset about it. And it made me think, could I crack and possibly do something like this?

PINSKY: OK, Gale, hold your thought. Hold your thought, hold your thought, I`ve got to take a break. I have a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a psychiatrist to answer that question. Just the fact that you`re asking that question probably means it is not very likely. More of your calls after this.


PINSKY: You can get immediate access to all the news about this tragedy 24/7 at There`s a list of resources there for those of you who need help or support. Another reminder to tune in, "Weekend Express" Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. I`m going to go back to my caller, Gale, who had called then, she says she has mental illness and she is concerned that she could be someone that cracked and would do horrible things. Gale, are you still with me?

GALE: Yes, I am.

PINSKY: Okay. And I want to go to my experts. And by the way, to be completely transparent, I`m asking my experts tonight as we introduce, not just to be experts, but to be moms and dads, which is how we have all been affected by this.

GALE: Yes.

PINSKY: Dr. Sharp, I want to go out to you first. Gale is asking a question, if I have a mental disorder, how do I know that I`m not one of those people? I think just by asking that question diminishes the probability a lot? That means she is also probably in care, which also decreases the probability. What else do you say?

SHARP: Well, you`re assuming that Gale is in care. Gale, are you getting treatment or do you have a counselor or a doctor you can talk to?

GALE: I have a psychiatrist and a therapist.

PINSKY: She has both.

SHARP: Good. Have you seen your psychiatrist or therapist lately?

GALE: Last week. I see her once a week.

SHARP: That`s (inaudible) good.

PINSKY: Yes, she`s doing great. The fact is, Gale, these intrusive thoughts and these concerns about being somebody who might be one of those people makes you not likely to be one of those people. And bring that all up, please, with your treating team.

And Dr. Sharp and I and Michelle, we have profound empathy for people with mental illness. We love to work with people with mental illness. It`s what we do. So, Gale, there`s an army of people there for help.

SHARP: Yes, absolutely.

PINSKY: Just take advantage of that. That`s all you have got to do.

Michelle, you`re up on the screen with me now. A psychopath, Michelle, wouldn`t ask that sort of question, nor would somebody who is filled with hate.

WARD: Yes, I know. A psychopath, they wouldn`t go seek help, they wouldn`t care. They don`t experience regret, empathy, they don`t fear consequences. So it would be a very different ball game. And my hat is off to Gale to actually asking that important question. Where do people go who start having suicidal or homicidal thoughts? And really reaching out to your health care practitioners is so important. Seeking help. We have a lot of murderers who actually did seek help and didn`t actually get what they needed, and I think times have changed. I think people are more aware of possibilities like this. And they will help you. If you find yourself having those types of thoughts.

PINSKY: But Michelle and Dr. Sharp, I think we would look at things, and I think this is an important sort of paradigm for people to be aware of, we look at homicidal thinking and suicidal thinking as a symptom. It`s a symptom. And you need to sort of address it that way, too.


PINSKY: A treatable system, that`s exactly right, Dr. Sharp. So don`t be so caught up in the reality of the faux (ph) thinking. Think in terms of a mind that`s not working right, that can be helped.

I got to go back to break, more calls after this.


PINSKY: Dr. Michelle Ward, Dr. John Sharp, I believe a really important piece of leading us all out of this state will be us all being honest and clear about our feelings. You and I, we all have some expertise. I`m saying we take off the white coat right now and each of us talk about what our feelings are as a mom or dad. Dr. Sharp, you first.

SHARP: I have two daughters. I was with them last night. You know, I could cry. You know, I just want them to be safe and I want to love them and make sure that that`s enough. It may not be enough in this crazy world. I think what we have to do is to not isolate, to try to be balanced, and to be open to the recovery process. To not leave ourselves vulnerable to feeling despairing and not get stuck in any kind of bad habits. If we just stay together and be open, Dr. Drew, I think we can eventually start to feel safe and whole again.

PINSKY: Thank you, Dr. Sharp. Michelle, mommy, mommy, come on.

WARD: Sadly, I feel less optimistic about this. I mean, I can really only see this as a mom. And my biggest job, my most important job on this planet is keeping my daughter safe. And I feel like there are places in the world where you send your kids off to school and you can -- you hope for the best, but there are some unexpected tragedies, but not here. I have unrealistic ideas of starting a home school program. I mean, I don`t -- I`m not as optimistic, and I am very scared, I`m scared for her future.

PINSKY: I`m scared, I`m saddened, I`m disgusted, but I am optimistic. I`ll be right back.


PINSKY: Although I am deeply troubled and saddened, I am so proud to be a part of a network that is staying on top of a story that I just think is so important. Now, HLN has compiled for you a list of resources if you need help as a result of this tragedy. I know so many of us are going through feelings that are chaotic. Go to for the list of resources. A reminder, "Weekend Express" will update you with all the latest news from Newtown, Connecticut, 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. And of course, we here at "Dr. Drew On Call" will continue to cover this 9:00 Monday evening. We`ll have some of our guests back to talk, not just as experts, but as humans. This reduces us all just to mom and dad. That`s what a story like this does.

Thank you to Soledad, Dr. Sharp, Areva Martin, Michelle Ward, thank you all for being here. Thank you for calling, those of you that did call. Of course, thank you all for watching as well. I will see you on Monday.