There has been a trend of shootings and murders committed by people who haven't previously demonstrated truly violent behavior. We read stories about them and expect to see them described as monsters. But instead, people close to the situation describe the individual as "mild mannered" or explain that he was "nice to everyone around him."
How is it that these individuals become violent? And why does it seem to appear out of the blue? People don't just wake up one morning and decide to shoot up a school or a movie theater. What started as one or two anomalies has quickly grown into a pattern.
A major key to our success relies on prioritizing mental health treatment. For every violent outburst we see, there are probably countless others prevented thanks to a school guidance counselor or related professional. These services must become more widely available, accessible, and affordable. Inter-agency communication between juvenile justice departments, schools, and mental health institutions needs to improve. And we must do a better job at reducing the stigma. Seeing a mental health professional needs to be viewed as everyday as going to your primary care physician.