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NOVA

What makes a person walk into a theater or a church or a classroom full of students and open fire? What combination of circumstances compels a human being to commit the most inhuman of crimes? Can science in any way help us understand these horrific events and provide any clues as to how to prevent them in the future? As the nation tries to understand the tragic events at Newtown, NOVA separates fact from fiction, investigating new theories that the most destructive rampage killers are driven most of all, not by the urge to kill, but the wish to die.

PBS NEWSHOUR: Sins of the Sons

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PBS Special

Ever since the wake-up call that was Columbine, schools and law enforcement have developed multiple strategies to prevent attacks. Indeed, the horror of Newtown must be seen in a context that’s not defined by defeat.

More than 120 school assaults have been thwarted in the past ten years. And remarkably, while security hardware and physical barriers can play a deterrent role, it’s been psychologists — working hand in hand with law enforcement officers — who have come up with the most helpful tools to prevent violent attacks.

The Path to Violence tells the story of a powerfully effective Secret Service program — the Safe School Initiative — that’s helped schools detect problem behavior in advance.

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FRONTLINE

In the wake of the mass killings at Sandy Hook, FRONTLINE looks for answers to the elusive question: who was Adam Lanza?

VIDEO: “There was a Weirdness” About Young Adam Lanza

BLOG: Were Sandy Hook Killings Inspired by Norwegian Massacre?

SLIDESHOW: Adam Lanza’s Path to the Sandy Hook Tragedy

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NOVA

While there is some evidence linking violence to risk factors such as age, sex, substance abuse, and personality traits such as anger and impulsiveness, over many years, researchers have established that only a very small subset of people suffering from mental illness are likely to commit violent acts. NOVA investigates what we know and what we don’t about the neuroscience of violence.

VIDEO: Criminal Minds: Born or Made?

BLOG: Neuroprediction and Crime

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FRONTLINE

More than a decade ago, FRONTLINE set out to understand how a troubled young man with no history of violence could become a random killer in the halls of his high school. What clues in his background, experience or medical condition might help make sense of a senseless crime?

On May 20, 1998, 15-year-old Kip Kinkel shot and killed his mother and father. The next morning he went to school and opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 25.

This is the story of Kip Kinkel at Thurston High.

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Washington Week

Gwen Ifill sits down with Washington Week regulars to look at how Washington reacted to this crisis and others in the past. Peter Baker of the New York Times, Todd Purdum of Vanity Fair and Alexis Simendinger of RealClearPolitics discuss what may be different this time, for this President and this Congress.

BLOG: Gwen Ifill reflects on Sandy Hook and the politics of pain

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PBS NewsHour

Authorities are wrestling to understand what drove Adam Lanza to commit the unthinkable massacre of 20 children and their guardians. While details of his mental state are still unclear, many have said that Lanza may have suffered from a mental illness like schizophrenia or a disorder like Asperger’s. But here’s the problem: these diagnoses are total speculation.

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Need to Know

Dr. Jeannie Pasacreta, both a resident of Newtown, CT as well as a psychologist offers advice on how to speak to kids about the school shooting tragedy that ravaged her town.