Understanding the Brains of Mass Killers

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Sign in Newtown, Conn., after the mass shooting in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
From and

Since the elemntary school shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut in December, politicians and policymakers have been debating how to make gun policies -- and society at large -- safer. Part of the answer might lie in understanding the science of what compels a person to open fire upon innocent people.

In a new documentary produced by NOVA, journalist Miles O'Brien investigates how far neuroscientists have come in determining what makes the brain of a violent adolescent different than that of a normal brain.  Perhaps most importantly, he asks whether that science can help to identify potential shooters earlier and prevent future tragedies.

His report, "Mind of a Rampage Killer," is part of PBS's "After Newtown" initiative, a series of documentaries, news reports and public affairs programs.  The NOVA program airs on PBS stations at 9pm/8c on Wednesday night; see a short excerpt here