To watch on NOVA: "Mind of a Rampage Killer"

On Feb. 20, PBS' long-running science series NOVA airs "Mind of a Rampage Killer," an hour-long documentary on the neuroscience of teen rampage shootings: Newtown, Aurora, Columbine, and on the list goes.

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 correspondent Miles O’Brien 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. Could suicide–and the desire to go out in a media-fueled blaze of glory–be the main motivation? How much can science tell us about the violent brain? Most importantly, can we recognize dangerous minds in time—and stop the next Newtown?

Miles (who's also my boyfriend) showed me the rough cut. It's really a powerful documentary. Do tune in. NOVA "Mind of a Rampage Killer" premieres Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 9p.m. ET, as part of "After Newtown" special programming.

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Letters to Newtown: digitally archiving sympathy cards sent to town after school shooting massacre

In Mother Jones, the story behind "Letters to Newtown." This project was instigated by Boardwalk Empire prop-master, freelance illustrator, and Newtown resident Ross MacDonald, and it serves to digitally archive some of the half million cards, letters, and drawings sent to the town of Newtown, CT after the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Jacques Hebert of Mother Jones, the magazine putting this all together with Tumblr, explains, "These messages of love, hope, and sadness have been on display in Newtown Town Hall, and have been viewed by many residents. To broaden access to these cards and preserve them as memories of what Newtown residents and the nation experienced on that tragic day, Mother Jones in partnership with Tumblr is launching the 'Letters to Newtown' project."

"The project will aim to digitally preserve these cards (the town of Newtown can't afford to store them any longer and many will be turned into ash for a future memorial site) by photographing them and uploading them to a special Tumblr for the world to see."

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Internet crackpots believe Newtown massacre was staged, citing "absolute" Photoshop proof

"Yes, there really are Newtown truthers," writes Alex Seitz-Wald in Salon. And they can tell by the pixels.

One of them, OperationTerror, produced the video above explaining the latest prevailing conspiracy theory, which involves a Photoshop disaster.

Maybe you’ve already heard some of the others, like the one about fantasy ties between the gunman’s family and the LIBOR banking scandal and a related theory about the Aurora shooting and the “Dark Knight Rises.” Most of the theories are really pieces of a larger meta-theory: that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, perhaps by the Obama administration, designed to stir demand for gun control. In the latest angle, theorists think they have found “absolute proof” of a conspiracy to defraud the American people. “You reported in December that this little girl had been killed,” a reader emailed Salon in response to a story. “She has been found, and photographed with President Obama.”

Noted.

(Thanks, Miles O'Brien)

Chris Ware's latest New Yorker cover and the Newtown tragedy

Ware writes:

NewImageOn December 14th, I helped chaperone my daughter’s second-grade-class field trip to a local production of “The Nutcracker,” where I spent most of my time not watching the ballet but marvelling at the calm efforts of the teacher to keep the yelling, excited class quieted down. Teaching was not, I concluded at one point, a profession in which I could survive for even one day. Our buses came back to the school at midafternoon, and I and the other volunteer parents left our children for another hour of wind-down time (for us, not them) before returning for the regular 3-P.M. pickup. I came home, however, not to any wind-down but to the unfolding coverage of the Newtown shooting.
"Cover Story: 'Threshold'"

NY Giant Victor Cruz pays tribute to a Newtown victim

When New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz found out that Newtown victim Jack Pinto, 6, was a huge fan, he decided to dedicate Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons to the first-grader. Cruz, the father of an eleven-month-old girl, decorated his cleats and gloves with tributes to Jack, calling the boy his "hero." Normally, writing on uniforms or gear would be cause for a fine in the NFL, but Cruz -- and the rest of the Giants and the New York Jets, who had "SHES" written on their helmets (Sandy Hook Elementary School) -- won't be in trouble. (The Giants' playoff chances? Another story.) Jack's family has been in touch with Cruz since the weekend, offering any needed assistance, and he has promised to try and meet with them in person, even if just for a short time. He's also promised to give the Pinto family the cleats as a keepsake. If the final score of that game wasn't enough to make a Giants fan weep (present company included), then this story certainly is. (via TIME)

Photo credit: Victor Cruz on Twitter