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In School Shootings, ‘He Just Snapped’ Is A Myth, Psychologist Says

It’s become a cliché after school shootings: As the public searches for an explanation for the attack, news outlets quote family members or witnesses who say the shooter “just snapped.” But “he just snapped” is a myth, Anders Goranson, a psychologist and threat-assessment specialist, said in a lecture here at annual meeting of the American Psychological Association Thursday.

The path to a violent mass attack often starts with a relatable frustration that grows through cultivation and study by the attacker, he said. And attackers usually experience “leakage” before they act, giving indications that they are planning to do something, he said.