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The attacks have taken on a numbing familiarity in recent years: five shot to death at an airport in South Florida. Twenty-six slain at a church in Texas. Five killed by a gunman rampaging through Northern California. There is a common thread in these are more recent mass shootings…red flags every where!

These violent outbursts last year, and others like them, had key things in common. Chief among them: Long before the violence, the people identified as attackers had elicited concerns from those who had encountered them, red flags that littered their paths to wreaking havoc on unsuspecting strangers.

This is a common thread in most of the mass attacks carried out in public spaces last year, the majority of which were preceded by behavior that worried other people, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center.

  • Nearly half were motivated by a personal grievance related to a workplace, domestic, or other issue.
  • Over half had histories of criminal charges, mental health symptoms, and/or illicit substance use or abuse.
  • All had at least one significant stressor within the last five years, and over half had indications of financial instability in that timeframe.
  • Over three-quarters made concerning communications and/or elicited concern from others prior to carrying out their attacks. On average, those who did elicit concern caused more harm than those who did not.