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Mark P

I agree that those two areas, mental health services, and limiting access to weapons of mass destruction (large-capacity magazines attached to semi-automatic rifles are certainly WMD's), would go at least some way toward limiting these events. But I wonder a little about characterizing some of these mass killers as having gone nuts. Certainly the facts are prima facie eveidence that they are nuts. Who but a nut would shoot little children? But at least some who have studied mass murderers have concluded that those who shoot strangers are probably psychotic but those who shoot within a known group are probably not. And he said (on NPR) that for every mass murderer with a specific diagnosis, there are thousands with the same diagnosis who never kill or even think of killing. His point is that it is not possible at this point to identify someone who will or might at some point become a mass killer. On the other hand, that leads to an obvious conclusion: provide mental health services for ALL of them. And don't let them get WMD's.

Lance Mannion

Mark P, very good points. I'm not happy with this post. I was traveling yesterday and I don't write well on the run. I'll be adding to it or posting a follow up, but for now what I want to emphasize is that I think rather than trying to explain anything and everything in reference to broad social issues, we'll learn more if we focus on the individual stories of the killers themselves and we're better off asking not what causes violence in general but what would have stopped this particular killer well before he got to killing people. Anyway, more later.

Ken Muldrew

"I want to emphasize is that I think rather than trying to explain anything and everything in reference to broad social issues, we'll learn more if we focus on the individual stories"

On the other hand, for this particular thing (killing a bunch of people who aren't bothering anyone using guns), it's pretty tempting to compare different societies and their broad social norms.

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