Can identifying mental illness stop terror attacks? - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Can identifying mental illness stop terror attacks?

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 New studies have found that mental problems have a significant link to attacks by so-called lone wolf terrorists.

   Now academics and law enforcement officials are working to turn that research into tools to prevent deadly attacks.

   An Australian sociologist and a researcher at Indiana State University looked at 98 lone wolf attackers in the U.S. They found that 40 percent had identifiable mental health problems, compared with 1.5 percent in the general population.

   Their conclusion? Mental illness is not the only factor that drives individuals to commit terrorist acts, but it is one of the factors.

   Mental illness could make lone wolf attacks easier to foresee: One of the London researchers, Paul Gill, said 60 percent of the attackers he studied leaked details of their plans, sometimes telling friends or family.

   He and a co-researcher are working with a British counterterrorism unit as police try to develop ways of distinguishing genuine threats from hot-headed talk.

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