The New York Times asks its readers this question. They only give room for 250 words but this, written with the assumption and knowledge that others will mention sensible gun legislation, was my response:
1) Address the “lone wolf” syndrome* that many of the recent (white, ring-wing ideologists) shooters feel. The most effective way I see for doing that is to rebuild a sense of community. We must temper this overweening emphasis on individualism (which is not the same thing as individuality) with a sense that we are needed in community and we need community. We should champion – rather than shame – people for asking for help, sharing life and material possessions. American life is making people crazy – from the authoritarian education/medical/mental-health care fields to the dismal job market to the equating visibility with value, we are crushing people into believing that the only way they have any value is if they do something big and noticeable.
2) Actively speak out against scapegoating those with mental illness – these folks are more likely to be VICTIMS of violence than perpetrators. Report the real causes of violence – poverty, isolation, history of violence (see above).
3) Take away incentive: stop making shooters famous in media coverage. If you must cover a shooting nationally, name the victims, not the perpetrators. Stop promoting despair and helplessness when it comes to shootings – these viral “how to survive a shooting” videos, marketing bullet-proof blankets, etc., are admissions of defeat (not to mention the videos are terribly inaccurate and contradictory).
4) Lift the ban on researching deaths related to gun violence.
5) Make it as hard to get a gun as it is to get an abortion. They do, after all, have the same end result.**
(Links and footnotes note included in my response to The NYT)
*Not that anyone really is a “lone wolf.”
**Before you flip out, should you be so inclined. try asking about my views on abortion.