Continuing on the subject of my previous column about mass shootings and other high-profile acts of violence, it is worth noting that perpetrators' mental well-being (or lack thereof) tends to feature prominently. In the case of Robert Aaron Long, Will Carless reporting at USA Today writes, "At one point, [Tyler] Bayless [Long's former roommate] said Long gave him a knife to take care of because he feared he would harm himself with it." Although we shall await more conclusive reports about the suspect's mental health, as Jeffrey Flier, former Dean of the Harvard Medical School, put it in April, "People who commit mass murders and politically motivated murders frequently (not always) suffer from serious mental illness. The press needs more consistent criteria for identifying this as an apparent cause, as opposed to alternative narratives that fit the story of the moment."
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