Memorial City Mall scare: Mass shootings spark shoppers' anxiety

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's not an understatement to suggest that recent mass shootings have some on edge, hurting people's sense of security in public. It explains why, even in the absence of actual violence, people panic.

You've likely seen the video of people sprinting from Memorial City Mall, leaving belongings behind, getting separated from loved ones. Most, if not all of them, believed there was an active shooter.

RELATED: HPD searching for masked suspect who sent shoppers fleeing after making threats at Memorial City Mall

As far as Houston Police have reported, there was no gunfire. But in these times, in the week after back to back deadly mass shootings in El Paso and in Dayton, Ohio, people are on edge.

Caitlin Clark is a psychologist at the Michael E. Debakey VA Hospital. She treats people with anxiety or PTSD, people who've suffered trauma.

"I think these types of events really threaten people's sense of safety," she said. "Anxiety is a very natural reaction to these types of events. You know nobody lives in a vacuum and is not immune to being affected by these events, even if they haven't been directly exposed to them."

Media does not help, she explained. It amplifies the exposure of violent events and increases the likelihood of anxiety and fear. It's important, she says, to focus on what you can control, the positive.

"Drawing closer to those things that are really important to us; friends, family, community engagement, things you typically do that bring your life meaning. It's really important to sustain even in the wake of these things."

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Shoes and sandals could also be seen in the mall, lost in the rush to leave the mall.

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