To the editor:

In response to the mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton, the media have devoted time and space recently discussing the common characteristics shared by mass shooters (Google "Four commonalities of mass shooters").

Jillian Peterson and James Densley have spent the last two years studying the lives of every perpetrator who shot and killed four or more people in a school, workplace, house of worship, or public space; and have identified four typical features they share:

1: Early childhood trauma.

2: A personal crisis, which may have acted as a trigger to the shooting.

3: Shooters modeled their acts on previous shootings.

4: Shooters had access to guns.

How can this information help us to prevent further shootings? Ms. Peterson and Mr. Densley suggest more security, more police presence, more “controlled firearm access” to start. But they also encourage parents, schools and colleges, churches, and employers to be more aware of the major crisis sign — thoughts of suicide — that mass shooters share.

What can we do? John Miller says it best: “Be a good parent, a good teacher, a good friend, a good boss.” That’s a start.

Ruthie Schultz

Alexandria, MN