Perpetrators of American mass shootings are noted on average 4.7 times 'worrying behavior' before committing their acts. The American president Donald Trump wants such red flags to be taken from now on to prevent a possible attack in the future. Young offenders have regularly intervened in recent years, but that did not prevent them from doing so, The Washington Post reports.
In recent years, the American FBI has been investigating the striking behavior of mass shooting perpetrators prior to their crime. This revealed that worrying behavior had been observed for all 63 investigators, on average about four to five times.
In most cases it concerned psychological problems (at 62 percent), striking interaction with others (57 percent) or the cancellation of their plans (56 percent). Issues such as threats, anger, aggression and disappointing results at school or work were also often noticed.
The 24-year-old Connor Betts, who killed at least nine people at a shooting in the state of Ohio, was known to have acted aggressively toward girlfriends in recent years, fantasized about killing and kept a list of possible victims.
See also: Dozens of people killed in mass shootings in Ohio and Texas
Teachers or schoolmates notice behavior earlier
In the case of underage offenders, the behavior is usually noticed more often by teachers or schoolmates than by family members. In the case of adults, the partner or housemate usually stands out. In those cases, however, the behavior is by no means always reported: family members often find it difficult to believe that their loved one would be capable of such a thing.
Teachers are considerably better at this, but that does not mean that their reports can always prevent a mass shooting. At least seventeen states, including Texas and Florida, have passed laws obliging schools to monitor problem schoolers who have expressed certain threats and to have a special program to prevent violence.
See also: Trump after shootings: 'Internet dangerous with psychological problems'
Monitoring ends after graduation
However, these programs usually end when the student obtains his or her diploma. "Many children are accompanied in high school, but have no help or safety net when they leave school," said forensic psychologist Dewey Cornell, professor of education at the University of Virginia, in The Washington Post .
This while the greatest chance of serious violence is "in the late teens or early in someone's age as well as in their twenties, so after leaving high school".
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