Half of the attacks on crowds in USA from 2016 to 2020 were caused by personal, family or work disputes, according to a new report by the US Secret Service that aims to prevent violence by spotting the warning signs.
Assailants were overwhelmingly male, often with a history of mental health symptoms, financial insecurity or a history of domestic violence. Handguns were usually the weapon of choice for perpetrators.
The report comes just days after two gunmen attacked crowds in California that claimed the lives of 18 people and while authorities are still looking for the motives of their attackers, who were older men.
Mass killings with guns have become a common occurrence in the US in recent decades. But lawmakers remain divided on solutions, with Democrats calling for more gun control measures while Republicans focus on mental health and increased security.
The extent report 70 pageswhich was released today by the US National Intelligence Service’s National Threat Assessment Center, examined 173 incidents in which three or more people were injured. The attacks targeted, among others, work and religious places, public transport and caused death 513 people and injury 1,234.
The head of the center, Lina Alatari, told reporters that it is common to find behaviors among perpetrators that might have helped others spot a problem in advance.
“The interest in violence, the interest in perpetrators of past mass attacks, posting about them, talking about them, bringing a gun to school, being feared by peers, the complaints.”he said. “These are all themes we see over and over again.”
According to the report, firearms were used in 73% of the incidents, including attacks by some who were prohibited from owning a gun.
State-level “warning sign” laws that allow a court-ordered removal of a gun from someone who poses a danger could curb such attacks, the report concluded.
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