- DOJ reaches largest-ever federal government settlement over auto loan discrimination
- U.S. Navy to start giving gay couples marriage benefits in Japan
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- Fla.’s Trey Radel exits rehab, ‘excited’ to resume congressional role
- U.S. nuclear general boozed it up, chased ‘hot women’ in Russia: report
- 45 Calif. students at one school test positive for tuberculosis exposure
- Rob Ford on women: Give them cash ‘and they are happy’
- Ku Klux Klan group holds recruitment meeting in Maryland
- Airport assassination: Mayor, 3 others killed at Manila airport
- Tea party-type lawmakers take mysterious, off-books trip to Mideast
Predicting who’s at risk for violence isn’t easy
Question of the Day
CHICAGO (AP) — It happened after Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Colo., and now Sandy Hook: People figure there surely were signs of impending violence. But experts say predicting who will be the next mass shooter is virtually impossible — partly because as commonplace as these calamities seem, they are relatively rare crimes.
Still, a combination of risk factors in troubled kids or adults including drug use and easy access to guns can increase the likelihood of violence, experts say.
But warning signs “only become crystal clear in the aftermath, said James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminology professor who has studied and written about mass killings.
“They’re yellow flags. They only become red flags once the blood is spilled,” he said.
Whether 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who used his mother’s guns to kill her and then 20 children and six adults at their Connecticut school, made any hints about his plans isn’t publicly known.
Fox said that sometimes, in the days, weeks or months preceding their crimes, mass murderers voice threats, or hints, either verbally or in writing, things like “‘don’t come to school tomorrow,’” or “‘they’re going to be sorry for mistreating me.’” Some prepare by target practicing, and plan their clothing “as well as their arsenal.” (Police said Lanza went to shooting ranges with his mother in the past but not in the last six months.)
Although words might indicate a grudge, they don’t necessarily mean violence will follow. And, of course, most who threaten never act, Fox said.
Even so, experts say threats of violence from troubled teens and young adults should be taken seriously and parents should attempt to get them a mental health evaluation and treatment if needed.
“In general, the police are unlikely to be able to do anything unless and until a crime has been committed,” said Dr. Paul Appelbaum, a Columbia University professor of psychiatry, medicine and law. “Calling the police to confront a troubled teen has often led to tragedy.”
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry says violent behavior should not be dismissed as “just a phase they’re going through.”
In a guidelines for families, the academy lists several risk factors for violence, including:
• Previous violent or aggressive behavior.
• Being a victim of physical or sexual abuse.
• Guns in the home.
• Use of drugs or alcohol.
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Huge backlash mounts over suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson
- D.C. to tout Obamacare among youth waiting for Air Jordans
- Dems use new filibuster rules to approve DHS nominee Alejandro Mayorkas under investigation
- TARGET credit card theft swells to 40 million victims
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- Deportations under Obama plunged to just 1 percent last year
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- EDITORIAL: Red faces at the White House
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow