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Tucson, Arizona shooting

The January 2011 shooting of a U.S. congresswoman and 19 other people in Tucson, Ariz., has raised questions about the state's gun laws and a political climate that can breed violence. Georgetown faculty experts on conflict resolution and the American West have weighed in on the issue. Additionally, experts on trauma, violence and brain injuries are available to comment and help the public understand a difficult and complex issue.

Faculty Experts Include:

Prof. Katherine Benton-Cohen

Katherine Benton-Cohen, associate professor of history, specializes in 19th and 20th century United States history, especially in the areas of women and gender, race and immigration and the American West. In a recent Q&A, Benton-Cohen tried to put the Arizona shooting in context and said it is ironic that people are making comparisons between current events in Arizona to the days of the Wild West, especially Tombstone, Ariz., the site of the notorious OK Corral shootout. In an opinion piece she wrote for Politico, Benton-Cohen says that in the late 19th century lawmakers in Tombstone, "were ardent supporters of gun control."

Prof. Fathali Moghaddam

Fathali Moghaddam, professor of psychology and director of the Conflict Resolution Program at Georgetown, is an expert on the psychology of terrorism and globalization. The shooting is relative to both national and global issues, he says in a video interview. "It's not surprising that politicians in the United States are fighting so fiercely. Because they are reacting to the frustrations that are really globally derived."

Priscilla Dass-Brailsford

Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, associate professor of psychiatry, was a first responder to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. She has expertise on trauma and violence and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Christopher Kalhorn, MD

Christopher Kalhorn, MD, is an associate professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center and can discuss severe neurological injuries, as in the case of Congressman Gabrielle Giffords. He was recently quoted in the Washington Post as saying, "The people who tend to do best are the ones who have gunshots that do not cross through the midline. When gunshots cross the midline, the prognosis is much poorer."

Prof. Deborah Tannen

Deborah Tannen, is a university professor and expert in linguistics. Tannen can discuss "vitriol" and speech in relation to the Arizona shooting —topics she recently broached in an opinion piece for The Christian Science Monitor.


Prof. Michele Swers

Michele Swers, associate professor of government, is able to discuss Congress and congressional politics and has previously provided expertise to media outlets including The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CQ Weekly and numerous national and state newspapers.

Dr. Alan Newman

Alan Newman, MD, is an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and Director of Residency Training and Director of the Fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry. He can comment on the insanity defense, competency to stand trial and the role of psychiatric experts in criminal trials. Newman also has expertise in involuntary treatment laws, prediction of violence in the mentally ill, incarceration of the mentally ill and other interactions of those with severe mental illnesses with the legal system. And he can answer general questions about the diagnosis and treatment of severe mental illnesses.




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