Warning signs of violence: What to do – CNN.com.
Editor’s note: Dr. Charles Raison, CNNhealth’s mental health expert, is an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
(CNN) – Senseless mass murder is a thing unto itself, which is almost certainly why it is so hard to identify perpetrators ahead of time and stop the subsequent carnage.
The vast bulk of serious crimes in the United States are committed for reasons that we might not agree with, or might even abhor, but that we can understand. They are committed to get money, or to consolidate power.
Or they occur in the heat of an understandable passion such as anger in response to situations like infidelity that might not lead the majority of us to violence, but that are at least understandable.
Because all these factors are understandable, they make the crimes somewhat predictable. Often crimes occur in high-crime areas and are committed by people with a history of breaking the law. And many — perhaps most — murders occur between people who know each other, and frequently know each other well.
But how would you predict that a quiet young man with no past legal history would allegedly dress up as the Joker and go on one of the largest shooting sprees in American history in Aurora, Colorado? Or that a young man with no past history of violence would shoot a congresswoman and innocent bystanders in Tucson, Arizona? How can we better guard ourselves against crimes that make no sense and come with no warning?