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Massacres: Clear pattern

America's horrifying gun massacres follow a visible scenario, the "60 Minutes" show says.  All recent mass killers were psychotic younger males -- and the slaughter might be prevented if the disturbed men received treatment and medication to calm their tormenting demons.

However, it's also obvious that mentally ill murderers are just a droplet amid an ocean of U.S. psychosis sufferers. The vast majority of patients are harmless. Nobody should suspect all mental victims, just because a tiny fringe turns deadly.

A recent Daily Mail commentary said America has 11 million mentally ill adults (2 million of whom get no treatment). However, only an estimated 1,000 U.S. murders are committed each year by psychotics. Simple math shows that maybe 99.99 percent of sufferers don't hurt anyone.

We aren't sure how clinics, psychiatrists and other authorities can pinpoint dangerous sufferers among such a huge array of patients. But it's clear that better detection might save lives.

For example, psychotic Aaron Alexis complained to police that strange voices were speaking to him and that he was being bombarded by mysterious electromagnetic beams. Officers did nothing. Then Alexis slipped into the Washington Navy Yard and killed a dozen people.

Perhaps procedures could be developed whereby police would request psychological help for such complainants. Maybe social workers, teachers and others likewise could report behavior needing intervention. Early application of anti-psychosis medication can restore stability and defuse delusions.

America pays a terrible price by letting a few psychotics arm themselves for massacres. Detecting and treating potential killers would be a blessing.


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