Yet it’s striking that these alien­ated and hos­tile young men had par­ents who knew some­thing was ter­ribly wrong. So why couldn’t they stop the carnage?

Experts say that is a very com­plex ques­tion. In the first place, their sons were adults with agency — they could do what they wanted, and couldn’t be taken into cus­tody unless proven to be a danger to either them­selves or society. That’s an intri­cate, inten­sive process, even with alarming online evidence.

In the second place, according to Jack Levin, a pro­fessor of crim­i­nology at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, and co-​​author of the recently pub­lished ‪Extreme Killing: ‪Under­standing Serial and Mass Murder, “if you’re inter­vening to stop a murder, you’re already too late.”

The roots and rea­sons for mass killers go back to child­hood, where a kid is “trou­bled but not yet trou­ble­some” Levin told me in an inter­view. Par­ents should face the trouble early, and get help for their kids. Easier said than done.

Levin then said some­thing that sur­prised me: “I’ve studied mass killers for more than 30 years and the vast majority of them do not suffer from a serious mental illness.”


Read the article at Toronto Star →