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James Densley and Jillian Peterson

W. David Baird Distinguished Lecture Series

"The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic"

Thursday, November 3, 2022

James Densley

James Densley

Professor of criminal justice and author of The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic

James Densley is Professor and Department Chair of Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University and co-founder and co-president of The Violence Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center best known for its mass shooter database. Densley has received global media attention for his work on street gangs, criminal networks, violence, and policing. He is the author of seven books, including the acclaimed, The Violence Project: How to Stop A Mass Shooting Epidemic, 50 peer- reviewed articles in leading scientific journals, and over 80 book chapters, essays, and
other works in outlets such as CNN, The Guardian, HuffPost, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Densley has been an invited or plenary speaker on four continents. He is a former middle school special education teacher and in 2017 he was awarded the Points of Light Award for outstanding community volunteerism by the British Prime Minister. Densley earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Oxford.

Jillian Peterson

Jillian Peterson

Forensic psychologist, professor of criminology and author of The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic

Dr. Jillian Peterson is a forensic psychologist, professor of criminology at Hamline University, and previous investigator on death penalty cases in New York City. She is the co-author of the highly acclaimed book, The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic, based on four years of in-depth research into the lives of mass shooters. Dr. Peterson believes the best way to prevent violence is to deeply understand the life histories of people who commit it.

She has interviewed perpetrators of murder in Cook County Jail and Rikers Island, and perpetrators of mass shootings across the country, leading her to an understanding of the root cause of violence and how we can address it. She is the co-founder and co- president of The Violence Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center dedicated to reducing violence using research and analysis.

Dr. Peterson’s areas of expertise range from mass shootings and violent crime, to holistic violence prevention, crisis intervention and de-escalation, and promoting mental wellness in schools and workplaces. Dr. Peterson holds a MA and Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. She is a regular media commentator in outlets like the New York Times, National Public Radio, CNN, and The Washington Post.