Community leaders kneel in prayer on May 14 in Buffalo as President Biden delivers remarks in response to the mass shooting at a Tops grocery store. (Matt Burkhartt for The Washington Post)

James Densley and Jillian Peterson’s May 16 op-ed on the causes of most mass shootings in the United States [“Hate is not at the root of most mass shootings”] was basically sound, except for their claim that “hateful ideology” is not a significant motivator for most mass shootings even when the perpetrators claim to be driven by such agendas by posting their manifestoes online. They argue that these are psychologically anguished and troubled perpetrators who are “actively suicidal” and embark on their violent attacks to gain attention from others for their personal misfortune. This explanation is too limiting.

Based on my research, “hateful ideology” is a significant motivator for such mass killers, even if their ideology is a distorted interpretation of some extremist ideology. Moreover, these assailants target specific segments of the population (religious, ethnic or racial minorities) who represent their demonized adversaries. In fact, in many incidents, the violent assailants are driven by the combustible mixture of hate-filled ideological extremism and psychological disorder. Though neither of the characteristics is a causative factor on its own, when combined with an unusual acquisition of firearms and ammunition, they should be a warning sign to family or friends for appropriate preemption.

The failure to report suspicious behaviors and activities to the proper authorities is another example of numerous failures to prevent mass shootings that keep repeating themselves time and time again. It is therefore time to raise awareness of early-warning indicators and put an end to this unnecessary and tragic pandemic of mass shootings.

Joshua Sinai, Rockville

The writer is the author of “Active Shooter: A Handbook on Prevention.”