Most mass killers left warn­ings

2018 study by US Se­cret Ser­vice iden­ti­fies causes, trig­gers

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Most of those re­spon­si­ble for mass at­tacks in public ar­eas in the US in 2018 made prior threats or sent mes­sages that sparked con­cern, the Se­cret Ser­vice said Tuesday, in a study high­light­ing ad­vance clues to such vi­o­lence.

Two-thirds of the at­tack­ers also had a his­tory of men­tal health is­sues and half were mo­ti­vated by work­place or per­sonal griev­ances, the agency said in a re­port pub­lished by its Na­tional Threat As­sess­ment Cen­ter.

“The vi­o­lence de­scribed in this re­port is not the re­sult of a sin­gle cause or mo­tive,” it added. “The find­ings em­pha­size, how­ever, that we can iden­tify warn­ing signs prior to an act of vi­o­lence.”

The re­port stud­ied 27 at­tacks in which three or more peo­ple were harmed, with a to­tal of 91 killed and 107 wounded.

The in­ci­dents in­cluded the Fe­bru­ary shoot­ing at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Florida, in which 14 stu­dents and three staff were killed, and Oc­to­ber’s at­tack at the Tree of Life Sy­n­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh that killed 11 peo­ple.

“These acts have im­pacted the safety and se­cu­rity of the places where we work, learn, dine, and con­duct our daily ac­tiv­i­ties,” Se­cret Ser­vice Di­rec­tor James Mur­ray said in a state­ment ac­com­pa­ny­ing the re­port.

Nine of 10 per­pe­tra­tors made threats or sent mes­sages that aroused con­cern and threefourt­hs had a his­tory of elic­it­ing con­cern be­fore their at­tacks, the agency said.

The cen­ter’s an­a­lysts also found that eight of 10 at­tack­ers ex­pe­ri­enced a ma­jor stres­sor in their lives such as a di­vorce, job loss or home­less­ness within five years be­fore the in­ci­dent.

The re­port ti­tled “Mass At­tacks in Public Spa­ces – 2018” is the cen­ter’s se­cond such anal­y­sis, fol­low­ing a 2017 re­port.

Both are in­tended to help pre­vent fu­ture at­tacks, Mur­ray told a news con­fer­ence.

“The faster all of us with a con­cern for public safety can ed­u­cate our­selves and oth­ers as to the warn­ing signs and the op­tions that ex­ist for tak­ing ac­tion, the bet­ter we will be able to pre­vent and de­ter acts of tar­geted vi­o­lence,” he said.

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