Skip to Content

No one immune from impacts of tragedy


While the Aurora, Colorado tragedy has caused the public to grieve, mental health professionals are not immune from the grieving process.

One licensed clinical psychologist in Central Oregon says he feels for the mental health professionals and the people who tried to prevent a crisis like it from happening.

Dr. Michael Conner is a licensed clinical psychologist in Bend.

He has worked in emergency rooms and crisis centers and with law enforcement for more than 20 years.

“The fact that this happened in Colorado doesn’t make Bend, Oregon any safer,” Conner said Monday.

Conner has helped save hundreds, if not thousands of people’s lives throughout his 20 years of being a psychologist.

“Things like these almost happen every few years in Central Oregon,” he said, “and we just manage to prevent these things from happening,”

Conner says nobody is ever prepared to deal with such a mass killing like the shooting spree in a Colorado movie theater late last week.

“What surprises me is that this doesn’t happen more often,” Conner said. “The fact that this happened doesn’t surprise me at all.”

Conner has dealt with many situations like the shooting and says it’s common for mental health professionals to face situations like this.

“It really stirs up a lot for me — knowing how hard it is and how easy it is to make a mistake for something that happened that you couldn’t predict,” Conner said. “It brings me to tears.”

Conner calls the shooting: a horrible, monstrous crime and says people should look at it for what it is.

“Nothing makes somebody do anything like this,” Conner said. “It’s a result of a choice. It’s a decision, and it’s criminal.”

While there are usually warning signs of someone who needs help, including suicidal, violent, death or morbid thoughts and not taking care of themselves, they are not necessarily good predictors of a monstrous criminal act.

So what would local mental health officials do if a situation like this occurred in Bend?

“I think what would happen is we would probably draw on some of the experience around the state who have also had to deal with the fallout of these kinds of horrible acts,” Conner said.

Conner said he hopes mental health and crisis services will get more funding and more attention in the future.

He also says if you know someone in similar straits, talk with a mental health professional who can refer you to an appropriate service.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content