One of the rational responses to the mass killings that we know a good deal about - Congresswoman Gifford in AZ 2 years ago and the Newtown school killings - would be to review the circumstances and account for the many variables associated with the events. In reviweing AZ and Newtown - I read nothing in the rash of exec orders Obama signed today that would have prevented either event.
The common thread running through all of these killings is that after the fact we ALWAYS have people come forward who knew the perp and indicate the shooter was/is "“crazy”. Typically, someone refered for a mental health evaluation can only be institutionalized for evaluation by court order and for only 72 hours - longer than 72 hours if the clinical evaluation/mental health physician determines the individual is a clear danger to himself or others. People who know about someone’s mental state are very often fearful of the “crazy” and understand the chances are good that the individual will be back on the street within a few hours or days even if the matter gets in front of a court and the nut refered for evaluation.
Example: There is evidence to suggest the Newtown shooter’s mother knew he was both mentally ill and very dangerous. Also, there is evidence that the shooter was convinced his mother was about to go to the authorities and request psych intervention. My educated guess is that she did not request intervention for fear of reprisal by him should he not be institutionalized. My guess is her fear was well founded - he shot her first and in the face - that signals a rage killing. Why the rage? He thought she was going to refer him.
It is a tough nut to crack - pardon the pun - it should be difficult to take someone’s freedom by institutionalizing them against their will and we are going to always have crazies among us.
One thing is clear - if a nut shows up on campus set on killing people by using a gun then someone on campus other than the perp better be similarly armed and uniquely trained to intervene.