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No one else could have told this story. ? MoJo Reader, Last week, we published one of the hardest

No one else could have told this story.   [Mother Jones + The Center for Investigative Reporting]( MoJo Reader, Last week, we published one of the hardest stories we’ve ever done—and that’s saying a lot after nearly 50 years of fearless, independent, investigative reporting. Last week, we also kicked off a hugely important fundraising campaign. We [talked]( about how our newsroom is different because the journalism comes first—not chasing profits or what will appeal to advertisers or owners—and if we do it well, people will [support it]( for that reason. I’m going to put that to the test today because I want to tell you about this important and challenging story instead of a writing an email that’s optimized for donations. Mark Follman’s latest cover story is a deep, sensitive portrait of Chin Rodger, whose son committed a mass shooting 10 years ago and who has dedicated herself to helping others understand the warning signs that often come ahead of these horrific events. Please note: This story contains a number of upsetting themes—violence, suicide, misogyny, racism. If you don’t want to go there, [this personal essay]( from Mark gives you the gist of why he pursued this story, and why Chin Rodger decided to speak out. Mark spent more than two years on this investigation. It is on the cover of the next issue of our magazine, but you can already [read it online here](. You can also [listen to]( Chin and Mark, and host Al Letson, take you through it on the new episode of our [Reveal]( radio show. Those voices will go straight to your heart. In fact, my words don’t do justice to the power of the audio investigation, so to give you a sense of “[Lessons From a Mass Shooter’s Mother](,” here are a few excerpts straight from Reveal. Al Letson: It’s been 10 years since this tragedy. And like with any mass shooting, a central question haunts what happened: Could anything have been done to prevent it? In the decade since the Isla Vista attack, violence prevention experts have studied this case and it has changed the way they think about mass shootings and the people who commit them, namely how to intervene. There’s a woman who has been contributing to this effort. Her name is Chin Rodger. She’s the mother of the shooter and she’s speaking publicly for the first time. Chin Rodger: I just want to share what I have discovered about my son’s circumstances that led him to this horrific, indescribable crime, right? I hope that my hindsight will be your foresight… Mark Follman: I’ve been reporting on gun violence and how to prevent mass shootings for more than a decade. I’ve interviewed hundreds of people from all sides of this problem, survivors, victim’s parents, FBI agents, psychologists. Chin Rodger has a perspective that I had never heard before… Al: Experts in the field have long studied and learned from this case. Journalist Mark Follman reports on the way it’s helped them understand the patterns and the psychology of mass shooters, what to look for and how to intervene when someone may be turning dangerous… Mark: Of all the cases [Dr. Stephen White] has examined over the past 40 years, this one stands out. Elliot left behind so much evidence showing how he got to the point of attacking. This includes his online activity, his purchases, the long screed he sent out and more…He recorded a handful of videos on his phone in the final months and kept them mostly hidden until the end. There was also more. His mother, Chin Rodger received a box of Elliot’s things after the sheriff’s investigation. Inside were two handwritten diaries covering the last four years of his life. She shared those with me… Chin: And in his journal, he actually wrote, I’m just reading from his journal: “Humanity is so cruel. I’m beaten up. My leg broken. Not one girl helped me to my apartment. Not one single person called for help.” Now today I realized I failed to see what a huge triggering point that was for him, public humiliation… Mark: There’s a common myth about mass shooters that they just snap one day, that their actions can’t really be explained. That’s untrue, and you can see it in the way this attack played out. A story [like this]( doesn’t come out of nowhere. In this case, it comes from 12 years of dogged reporting. A few years ago, [I explained why](, back in 2012, we decided to focus on gun violence, and mass shootings in particular: Perhaps the single most terrifying thing we’ve discovered is how little is actually known about what is now an undeniable public health crisis. This ignorance is not happenstance. It is willful and politically motivated, the direct result of concerted efforts to suppress research and reporting on this topic. And it deprives all of us of the information we need to stop these tragedies and save lives. Here’s how we, here at Mother Jones, came to realize the scope of this willful blindness. On a grim July morning more than five years ago, we sat in our daily news meeting, debating how to cover what back then seemed a shocking, unprecedented event: A man had walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises and opened fire, killing 12 and injuring 70 others. We found ourselves asking: How often does this happen? Is it growing more common? Just a few months before, in our Bay Area backyard, a former student had walked into a nursing classroom in Oakland and killed seven. Surely, there must be data out there somewhere. We’d go find it. A flurry of web searches and phone calls later, we had an unexpected answer: no data. No one in academia, media, or government had compiled a basic study of how often someone heads to a public place with a gun and murders strangers. Nor had anyone investigated the context to these killings: How did shooters get their weapons? What kind did they use? How many had symptoms of mental illness or psychopathy? We also found out the reason for this stunning dearth of information: Much like the tobacco industry in its day, the gun lobby sees data as its enemy. Thanks to gun industry advocates in Congress, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been prohibited from using government funds to investigate gun violence since 1996. A small nonprofit newsroom is no match for the resources of the federal government. But we couldn’t let this go. So we began to [compile]( the data ourselves. We charted 62 mass shootings in the course of 30 years—a dataset that we made available to anyone to use for free, as countless [journalists](, [academic researchers](, and [policymakers]( have done since. [That number is now up to 150 as of the end of 2023.] As with any reporting project, the more we dug, the more questions started to surface. Chief among them was: How much does gun violence actually cost America every year? Same answer: no data. So we spent two years working with outside researchers to [discover]( the staggering total: $229 billion, more than $700 for every American. Per year. Tough stuff. But we didn’t want to stop there. Because let’s be honest, that just makes you want to hide in a corner—or simply scroll past the headline. “What is there to know about mass shootings that we don’t already know?” is a question that we probably all have in our heads. Turns out there is something—and that something is hope. Not long after taking on this beat, Mark started reporting on how experts and communities are coming together to prevent these tragedies. Spotting the signs, via a discipline called threat assessment, and intervening in time can save lives. This is the reporting that brought Mark together with Chin Rodger. She had begun speaking to threat assessment professionals about her experience, and how it might help others. Over the course of two and a half years, Mark extensively interviewed Chin, investigators, and experts to bring this important perspective to a broad audience with care and respect. The result is heartbreaking, riveting, and revealing. There are a lot of terms for work like this, but the one that comes to mind is “one of a kind.” A lot of stories—a lot of great stories—are like other stories you’ve seen. But [this one]( is not. Chin Rodger was the only person in the world who could have shared it, and [Mark]( was the only journalist with the expertise and depth of experience to tell it the way it needed to be told. Thanks for reading, and for everything you do to make Mother Jones what it is, [Monika Bauerlein, CEO] Monika Bauerlein, CEO Mother Jones [Donate](   [Mother Jones]( [Donate]( [Donate Monthly]( [Subscribe]( This message was sent to {EMAIL}. To change the messages you receive from us, you can [edit your email preferences]( or [unsubscribe from all mailings.]( For advertising opportunities see our online [media kit.]( Were you forwarded this email? [Sign up for Mother Jones' newsletters today.]( [www.MotherJones.com]( PO Box 8539, Big Sandy, TX 75755

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