We Need To Stop Focusing On the Mental Health of Mass Shooters

Looking For The Light

ByDeborah DoroshowDeborah Doroshow is a physician and historian of medicine at Yale University and the author of “Emotionally Disturbed: A History of Caring For America’s Troubled Children.”May 20

In the two decades since the massacre at Columbine High School, digging into the psychology of mass shooters has sadly become an all-too-familiar habit — now something we seem to do almost weekly.

After the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, media coverage pointed to the shooter’s odd behavior as a child and his near-mutism as a college student. After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, newspapers described the shooter as “withdrawn and meek” and suggested that he might have had Asperger syndrome. The two people responsible for the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado on May 7 are already the subjects of forensic investigation of their presumed troubled pasts.

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