The government is spending time and money figuring out how to stop mass shooters when the answer is simple: arm more people.
Active shooters display common “concerning behaviors” in the two years prior to an attack, according to an FBI report released this week.
The agency spent four years analyzing investigative reports from 63 mass shootings between 2000 and 2013 in hopes of identifying patterns among perpetrators. Compiling a demographic active shooter profile capable of preventing future incidents, however, eluded researchers.
“The shooters examined in this study did not appear to be uniform in any way such that they could be readily identified prior to attacking based on demographics alone,” the report says, noting the age of suspects ranged from 12-years-old to 88-years-old and covered a wide spectrum of ethnicity and educational attainment.
Still, some behavioral patterns emerged from the sample, signaling an opportunity for law enforcement officials, mental health practitioners and threat assessment professionals to better recognize suspects “moving towards violence.”
The FBI said each shooter studied displayed an average of four to five similar “warning signs,” from mental health stressors to strained relationships to “leakage of violent intent.” Specific observable behaviors — such as drug abuse, criminal activity, financial stress and conflict with friends and family — went ignored in more than half of the studied cases, researchers said.
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