Threats That Cannot Be Ignored

While some communities—such as Portland, Oregon, and Birmingham, Alabama—report making progress toward police and community mental-health cooperation to reduce incidents of deadly violence, the complexities of aberrant behavior will continue to vex us until citizens and public officials are willing to intervene to prevent the violence.  That is especially true when evidence clearly demonstrates that a deranged individual intends harm.  In many cases family members, friends, and community officials are aware of the potential threat.

Readers may recall that David Kaczynski notified the FBI after realizing in 1995 that his brother, Ted, was the Unabomber.  By contrast, police inaction in Littleton, Colorado, may have been a contributing factor in the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.  Other violent incidents, small and large—including the December 14 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut—may well have been prevented with little or no threat to anyone’s civil liberties.  In many cases, it is unlikely that no one knew a potential killer was about to initiate a bloodbath.  Would anyone be surprised to learn that someone in Aurora, Colorado, had prior knowledge of the intent behind that massacre?

Here’s one inside-out look at a Midwestern atrocity that occurred in 1984, but it could just as easily have been Aurora, Colorado,...

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