Produced By: ATL PREVENTION RESEARCH L.L.C.
Experimental Draft: Version1.1E
Origination: 11-19-2013 UTC 10:00
Last Updated: 07-20-2018 UTC 14:00
(POST 3 OF 5)
WHAT MAKES A GOOD EMERGENCY OPERATIONS PREVENTION PLAN WORK?
=>GOOD RISK ASSESSMENTS, PLANNED CONTINGENCIES, FOLLOW-THROUGH AND MORE DISCUSSED BELOW…
2016 KEY FEMA RESOURCE:
Understanding the roles and value of a Risk Assessment and the methodologies applied by the Threat Assessment Team during the creation of your business Emergency Operations Plan (EOP).
This information has been generalized, adapted, and formatted for this thread (from a portion of literature I composed for a different purpose and target audience) prior to posting it herein and it is not all inclusive. It is presented as an introduction to Risk Assessment concepts to meet criteria related to the Threat Assessment Teams (TAT) roles from FEMA’s “Guide for Developing High Quality Emergency Operations Plans..” (Pg. 31-32). Readers new to these types of assessments and preventive measures will begin to understand the value of undergoing the Risk Assessment process during the creation of your EOP. This thread attempts to define some basic approaches to evaluating risks of spontaneous and targeted violence (and the spectrum in-between), that may then be compensated for within a facility’s Emergency Operations Plan. Current research pearls from 20 years of refined U.S. Secret Service models, my experience, and other sources were incorporated into this brief presentation, and may be scaled and implemented within a variety of businesses.
Users with a Scientific and Clinical Medicine background like myself (especially forensic or criminal psych., TAT Risk Assessment experts, criminal profile analysts and the like), are encouraged to critically analyze this information, list their corrections, add references, and most especially add modern technologies and anything missing to the content (keep in mind the intended target audience / beneficiaries are facility personnel who are in the process of creating or revising their EOP).
Terms I used synonymously herein include- Person of Unknown Interest or Importance - Potential Perpetrator – Subject – Bad Actor – Stalker, and Subversive are all individuals who represent a risk of committing an Act of Violence.
In the past, Law Enforcement primarily played a reactive role within the spectrum from spontaneous to target violence (a crime was committed and they proceeded accordingly). In modern times, Behavioral Science and Criminal Psychology research (historic statistics and clinical classifications) added a PREVENTION dimension to the criminal justice operations manual, whereby the possibility of anticipating a future act of violence became a reality. Researchers have uncovered trends in mental disorders, and criminal (recidivism) as the (static) tendency of certain individuals toward chronic criminal behaviour leading to numerous arrests and re-imprisonment. These individuals were studied and determined to have some identifiable patterns. The benefit of anticipation was immediately applied to guarding the President of the U.S., and is now widely used for Risk Assessment by Threat Assessment Teams (TAT) who may apply this knowledge to business Emergency Operations Plans. The greater challenge resides in identifying a Second (dynamic) group of individuals who’s mental stability and violence or dangerousness or “risk” depends upon contextual (situations and circumstances), that are subject to change and varying along a continuum of probability, whereby unknown triggers will set them on a rampage. This Dynamic group perpetrates crimes that fall somewhere in between spontaneous and planned or Targeted Victimization, and elucidating their triggers helps in the process of assigning a risk value to them. The Dynamic group has predictable factors that can also be tracked many times because their targeted violence is the result of an understandable and often discernible process of thinking and behavior that forecasts their threat level and/or next moves.
Professionals in the Mental Health, Criminal Justice divisions, Corporate Security managers, HR professionals, School Principals, Counselors, workplace supervisors, and Places of Worship also may be faced with situations of potential targeted violence, and continue to be challenged by newly emerging individuals of unknown interest (and risk) and must assess what they intend to do to victimize other employees or their property. These “Individuals of Unknown Interest” pose potential risks within society because they eventually may damage people or property. Therefore, a variety of questions, attributes, models, and heuristics have been created to effectively identify, locate, assess, and manage disturbed citizens who have (both known and no-known) histories of violence and may eventually perpetrate a (spontaneous or planned) violent action in a public place.
BRIEF TEXTBOOK EXAMPLES OF INDIVIDUALS WITH KNOWN RISK FACTORS: (also see mental illness diagnoses at the end of this thread)
Here are some generalized examples of “Individuals of Unknown Interest” that may become violent
1. Someone you know who has impulsive outbursts of violent rage, +/- lack of empathy for others +/- membership in a gang, +/- had discussed committing an act of violence.
2. Mental patients who are in remission and have previously had deranged thought patterns (e.g. command hallucinations) but were recently allowed to re-enter the public domain.
3. Individuals who are out on bail or newly released for violent offences.
4. Individuals exhibiting radical or extreme (all or none) thought processes.
5. Individuals that are maladaptive or have pore coping skills and have incurred a recent trigger, or loss that may initiate a pattern of violence.
CHALLENGES OF OBTAINING ACCURATE PREDICTIVE VALUES THAT FORECAST DANGER:
Some individuals commit violent acts and do not fit a profile, and/or their behavior overtly differs from covert intentions. Threats are not always presented overtly in a manor that helps foretell that dangerous behaviors or actions will escalate into an act of violence. No single guide will completely inform your staff, nor will it yield total empirical protection, and for this reason, it is important to periodically consult professionals in the process of, (and revisions of) Risk Assessments and contingency planning. Generalized behavioral patterns or predictors do not always apply to workplace violence, relationship violence, stalking, school violence, or assassination of public figures. To counter this problem, different approaches are used at different times. Consider the “clinical behavior assessment” predictive power versus the “statistic and fact based formula” predictive power (approaches) below in the determination of which predictive tool to utilize and when:
*Clinical Behavior Assessment (behavior patterns with the Subject’s historic facts) may be useful for rare incidents, and focuses on the facts specific to the Subjects past (in question) to determine the next move they will make.
**Formulas (with statistics and numeric facts) may be useful for very common incidents. Formulas are not useful for rare incidents because they lack the specificity and sensitivity to target a unique suspect. However, if we can add up very likely and known predictors, then we can conclude that an act or event will likely occur.
TWO SIMPLIFIED EXAMPLES OF THE USE OF CLINICAL VERSUS FORMULA PREDICTIVE TOOLS:
1. Using a formula to predict a rare incidence never works well, therefore, individual historic facts and behavior assessment are important for uncommon events.
EXAMPLE: high school student conflicts that result in homicide
=> (*CLINICAL BEHAVIOR) The child (Subject) has new onset of screaming, and attacking another student with a knife, and the intent to follow through with killing them was very apparent.
BEHAVIOR PREDICTS: likely a real attempt was made on the other students life, the subject is thus a threat.
=> (**FORMULA) The child has zero hospitalizations and zero sequestrations for violence & since Homicides are rare (relative to the number of schools 140,000), the Subject is not a threat.
FORMULA PREDICTS: there is an unlikely outcome that the Subject intended homicide.
COMPARATIVE RESULT: The clinical behavior pattern and facts yield the best predictive value here.
2. Using clinical observations to predict the outcome of something very common never works well, and in this case a formula may yield the best predictions
EXAMPLE: marriage counseling, predicting the marriage outcome (remain married or divorce)
=> (*CLINICAL BEHAVIOR) Observed in counseling, the married couple are behaving very nice to each other and all of their answers seem to complement each other, (true problems are guarded).
BEHAVIOR PREDICTS: Overt behavior appears that the relationship is low risk, may remain intact, and future stability looks hopeful.
=> (**FORMULA) The husband lie X2 + cheated X1, + stole money from his Wife last month x1 for his cocaine addiction, has 4 maxed out credit cards she does not know about + 50% of marriages end in divorce.
FORMULA PREDICTS: Tabulating facts in a formula predicts a high risk of future abuse and divorce and is more reliable in determining instability and the future of the marriage.
COMPARATIVE RESULT: A formula with statistics and quantitative assessment of events yields the best predictive values in this scenario.
SUBTERFUGE AND DIVERSION CONFOUNDERS: Another problematic feature that many “Individuals of Unknown Interest” possess is that they hide their intentions and their problems from others, which thereby may cause confusion during the fact gathering process to determine the risk that they pose of potential targeted violence.
1. In the case of former mental patients, this may be due to their interactions with mental staff at a facility. In these interactions, the patients are conflicted by the outcome of honesty (e.g. admitting to having symptoms or abnormal thought processes will lead to additional medications, and potentially loss of their freedom to leave the facility. Therefore, the reaction of the violent mental patient is almost always to deny and hide abnormal thoughts or intentions to avoid addition of medications or implementation of community sanctions.
2. It is likely that other abnormal individuals in society initially express their abnormal views to peers, and over time (they received negative feedback), which then leads them to the path of hiding their thoughts and actions as well.
=> These two conditions are relevant to the business sector because these individuals may initially trick staff, and assume a position in society sitting right next to you in the movie theater, or at your Place of Worship or working for them.
=> Individuals who are secretive are not always hiding their violence, but it is among the many clues to consider before allowing them into a trust role or position of power at your business. This is why meticulous corroboration of the Subjects assertions is vital to uncovering their covert intentions or risk of violence towards a given facility or staff.
NAVIGATING YOUR WAY THROUGH THE CHALLENGES OF CONDUCTING ADEQUATE RISK ASSESSMENTS THAT WILL BE USED TO IDENTIFY THREATS AND CREATE EFFECTIVE PREVENTION STRATEGIES:
At the forefront of uncovering and discovering danger are Statistical formulas (actuaries) combined with known historic events, as well as the attributes and vulnerabilities of a facility, the Subjects attributes and abnormal interactions with others and relative to a given facility, guiding operational questions, and/or heuristics or models, may all factor into Risk Assessment. These processes occur prior to Official actions (such as the use of search warrants and technology) to bridges gaps and clarify the risk. This section does not discuss the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), or (Official warrants or special technologies) and assumes that primarily observations, questions, and standard information collection will be employed in the early risk assessment period well before a violent action occurs. One of the early goals of Risk Assessment is to assign risk factors and priorities to a given scenario and establish a relevant base rate of vulnerability of a facility, and a base rate of potential attackers (and the Subjects type of malfeasance) to anchor judgments about the probability of their violence, and gauge risks present at the facility. This approach may be useful for making global assessments of risk among criminal offenders or people with mental disorders, but it will be challenging to identify individuals who have covert plans or are currently stable with unknown triggers and risk factors. There are known pathways of ideation and behaviors that may lead to violent action therefore, consider the following attributes, scenarios, collateral informants, perpetrators and their targets:
1. THE VALUE OF WITNESSES: If you are approached by someone who witnessed abnormal aggressive behavior or action or the report of a threat (don’t go into denial, just hear them out and treat it seriously), the information may be a harbinger of potential targeted violence and you must increasingly take action to gather information about the risk of violence and then attempt to resolve any problematic situation. Be sure to consider the source, confirm the story if possible, and check with any other witnesses or sources if available (corroborated facts build confidence and point to next steps).
EXAMPLE: The Subject may have voice their intent to the witness, or non-verbal (they may clap their hands together) or more obviously may have thrown an object near them, or punch a wall (threatening or aggressive gestures). They may have also bragged about their ability to be destructive, and their plans.
2. PATTERN OF ABNORMAL CONDUCT: Background knowledge of the Subject may include information about whether they have engaged in recent behavior that suggests that he/she is moving on a path toward violence directed toward a particular person or target(s)?
EXAMPLE: A thief will case a building before robbing it. (this may forecast a potential threat)
3. DRAWING CONCLUSIONS REGARDING A SUBJECTS MENTALITY AND CHARACTER: (Also see mental illness information briefly discussed at the end) In many cases, the mindset of the individual is manifested in the actions of the individual (whether they want them to be or not), and sometimes this is represented in their appearance or habits. This does not imply prejudice, but rather, the observation of aggressive posturing and attributes of their appearance or behavior that are contextually misplaced. Questions regarding mentality or character may include: does the Individual of Unknown Interest employ abnormal defensive language or posturing? Do they utilize ineffective coping strategies such as drugs or alcohol when they are stressed? Are they ill or is there behavior currently psychotic or self-destructive or violent towards others? What is the perpetrators level of sophistication? Are they associated with a violent group? Another important predictive observation is to identify the subject's “attack-related” behaviors. Those who commit acts of targeted violence often engage in discrete behaviors that precede (and are linked to their attacks), including thinking, planning and logistical preparations. Attack-related behaviors may move along a continuum beginning with the development of an idea about the attack, and moving to communication of these ideas or a SUDDEN INAPPROPRIATE INTEREST IN A TOPIC WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TARGET, including following, approaching, and visiting the target or scene where the attack will occur. Risk analysts must learning about and analyzing these behaviors that are critical to an appraisal of risk. If the Individual of Unknown Importance or Interest is a stranger then you will need to observe if their appearance and behavior is normal or abnormal for the context (and their presents) at or near your facility.
=> SIMPLIFIED EXAMPLE: An individual wearing a ski-mask and sunglasses at night in the summer, may pose an impending threat.
4. TIMING AND PLANNING: Windows of opportunity exist that correspond to a facility’s vulnerability, and the windows of opportunity for an act of violence must be secured in a variety of ways. In targeted violence, the subject must engage in the collection of information and the planning of the event around a series of critical factors such as which target(s) to select, the proper time and approach to initiate the act, and the mechanism used to inflict the violence. For instance, a potential attacker may collect information about the target, the setting of the attack, or about similar attacks and their outcomes. He or she may communicate ideas to others in the process. This is among the many reasons why staff and leadership must carefully consider all reports of abnormalities given by witnesses. Therefore, continuous monitoring can elucidate a perpetrators plans and their timing strategy for an attack. The risk values associated with a given Subject generally becomes clearer as facts develop over a considerable period of time.
=> EXAMPLES: Has someone at your facility been promoted against the wishes of someone else, or is their new money that someone else wants? Are there new products or services on the premises that someone doesn’t want at the facility? Has a known stressor or aggravating event occurred recently? Is there new and persistent conflict at the facility or issues that reoccur and perpetuate a conflict?
5. SITUATION AND CONTEXT: Violent acts generally stem from interactions involving the potential attacker, (e.g. one or more past stressful events), combined with a current situation that aggravates past stressful events, and involves the target. Individuals who have invested their emotion into the process of planning an attack, become delusional and convince themselves that attaining their goal will bring an end to their emotional pain. In this case, to identify the risk posed by the potential attacker, the TAT must identify what stress factor they endured and how the individual has dealt with unbearable stress in the past (and which stress factors will trigger violence). Additionally, what is the degree of emotional investment, and how far has the evolution of ideas concerning an attack on the facility developed.
=> EXAMPLES: Relative to the Subjects current circumstances, have they undergone a known major change or loss of a loved one (e.g. ending of an intimate relationship or loss of a parent) or loss of status (e.g., public humiliation, failure or rejection, or loss of job or financial status), or joined a gang. If known, how are other people in the subject's environment responding to his/her perceived stress and potential risks (e.g. do they condone violence – does the Subject believe they will be a hero for perpetrating violence – or do people fear the Subject).
6. ATTRIBUTES OF THE TARGET OR FACILITY: An evaluator must assess relevant factors about the intended target and entire facility, including the target's vulnerability, and the subject's degree of familiarity with the target's work - lifestyle patterns – Facility hours of operation, and the like. The target's level of sophistication and the facilities ability to delay or thwart an attack must be assessed as well.
7. PREDICTABLE COLLATERAL ESCALATIONS: Who are the stakeholders and how will they react to violence at their facility. Will bystanders react to prevent violence or will a riot occur. It is useful to know whether people around the subject support, accept, or ignore the threat of violence or whether they previously expressed disapproval and have communicated that violence is an impermissible and unacceptable solution to the problem.
METHODS USED TO ASSIGN RISK ONCE A THREAT HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED:
1. Form a checklist and attempt to collect the following basic information, then expand upon it to rule in or out specific important facts that will be utilized to establish Relative Risk.
Example basic facts list:
=> The subjects Personal Identifiable Information (to rule out identity mistakes).
=> What first brought the subject to your attention?
=> What are the subject’s current verbal and daily preoccupations?
=> Collect information about the subject's current situation and circumstances.
=> What motive(s) do they have for violence related to the target?
=> What is it about the target that meets the subject’s selection criteria?
=> History of mental illness, violence, or criminal record?
=> What are their attack-related behaviors?
=> What rationale do they use to justify their actions?
=> Identify materials created or possessed by the subject (on their person, or at their home), or hidden elsewhere that will be used to commit an act of violence. Also, the nature of the materials or weapons may forecast the level and magnitude of violence they intend to perpetrate.
2. SPECIFIC HISTORY CHECKS: Background checks and offender lists are available to the public, and many records may be obtained if an officer undertakes the investigation.
=> This information may include: residences, education, military and employment history, history of violence and criminal behavior, mental health/substance abuse history, relationship history, as well as information on the subject's living conditions, expertise and use of weapons, history of grievances filed and whether they won or lost or benefited from conflict, and their history of harassing others.
=> The importance of mental illness related information is discussed in the corresponding section near the end of this thread.
3. SPECIFICS REGARDING COMMUNICATIONS HISTORY: The Subjects communication history such as Forums, emails, calls, transactions, Friends, Family, Coworkers, and group associations may all be escalated to uncover information as the process unfolds and is legally warranted. Prior to Law Enforcement involvement, simple inquiries may include: What has the subject communicated to anyone concerning his/her intentions? Is there concern among those that know the subject (that he/she might take action) based on inappropriate ideas or prior discussions? Current lifestyle information may be obtained and would include stability of living and employment situations, nature and quality of relationships and personal support, recent losses, pending crises or changes in circumstances, hopelessness, desperation, and any downward progression in social, occupation, or psychological functioning.
=>If a Subject is interviewed, corroborate as much information as possible from collateral sources. This collateral source information can then be used to assess the credibility and plausibility of the subject's statements and explanations. The evaluator should compare the subject's own account of ideas, motives, and behavior to those of others who know the subject. Similarly, such corroboration can aid in the assessment of an individual's desire and capacity to attack the Target.
=> Many individuals communicate their ideas, plans, or intentions to others. Directly communicating a threat to the target happens less often than covert violent actions (for the obvious reason of getting caught). Some perpetrators keep journals or diaries recording their thoughts and interactions. Talking to people who know the subject or have known them in the past (family, friends, caregivers, and co-workers) about any unusual or inappropriate ideas and any signs of the subject's desperation or deterioration may uncover clues about their intended violent actions and add to the developing fact pattern used to gauge the evolution of the Relative Risks posed by the Subject.
=> (Rule out False Positives) If the initial concern related to a Subject was precipitated by the report of someone else, rather than by direct observation of the subject's behavior, then it is reasonable to consider the credibility of the witness.
NOTE: Sometimes, people will provide false information about another individual’s behavior or propensity for violence as a retributive measure or as a diversionary tactic for their own violent intentions.
4. SPECIFICS RELATED TO THE SUBJECTS MOTIVES: What motivated the subject to make the statements, or take the action, that caused him/her to come to attention of the staff member? Drug addiction, and financial gain are among the top ten, however, they may not necessarily lead to a violent conflict other than the theft of funds, therefore consider the following information that further examines motives.
=> (Overt/Covert) It is useful to explore a variety of possibilities in direct and indirect ways, rather than relying exclusively on information overtly disclosed. The subject may say one thing to their friends, but covertly might be trying to obtain help for their problem, or be in the process of causing problems for another individual (e.g., co-worker, student, intimate partner), or be trying avenge a perceived wrong, or considering a murder-suicide scenario to end a problem or their suffering.
=> Observers may speculate that they have only recently noticed unexplainable changes in the subject's behavior or new and unusual or disturbing ideas or interests, even though the subject has really been engaging in the activity for a long period of time.
=> It is also helpful to uncover information about whether the subject is using his/her actions as a means to bring attention to a particular functional problem, and not necessarily for violent purposes.
=> If possible it is very important to evaluate the extent to which a Subject views violence as a legitimate means to achieve an end, or to end personal pain and/or be killed in the process. One question to consider is what is the degree and progression of the Subject’s hopelessness/desperation as it relates to the subject's potential for violence, homicide, vandalism and the degree of their “nothing to loose attitude.”
=> Motives may vary widely depending on the type of institution targeted (e.g. school homicide, relationship violence, assassination, workplace violence, Place of Worship), but pinpointing specific motivational factors can give an indication of which potential target(s) might be at most risk.
=> Understanding motives might also be useful in determining the degree of risk (e.g. is it something petty, or is it an eye for an eye, or an Ideal). Attacks are not always motivated by animosity or hostility toward the target, but rather may be perpetrated to get into a gang, or to achieve notoriety or fame, to solve a personal or public problem, to avenge a perceived wrong or retaliate for a perceived injury.
=> Evaluation of Triggers: Has the subject experienced a recent loss and/or loss of status, and/or has this led to feelings of desperation and despair? An event that has caused him/her to experience life as unbearably stressful, should be examined in at least four domains: family relations, intimate/peer relations, occupational-financial, and self-image/status.
=> Evaluation of External Influences: What factors in the subject's life and/or environment might increase/decrease the likelihood of the subject attempting to attack a target? Evaluate foreseeable changes in circumstances that could destabilize the individual and rapidly precipitate an act of violence. Events that are known to destabilize an individual are markers for periods in which they must be watched more closely or be avoided by the potential victim. At the point of destabilization, interventions may prevent escalation of violence such as adding an external system of support, and addressing the individual's social and security needs, or other initiatives or resources that may serve as protective factors.
5. SPECIFICS RELATED TO ATTACK BEHAVIORS: There are behaviors and actions that can be traced among the processes an Individual of Interest may choose to perpetrate their crime. Many of the sadistic individuals (who have been prosecuted for targeted violence) had histories of harassing other persons, and they had slowly tested the range of what they could get away with over time, until they had finally crossed the threshold into the realm of illegal and prosecutable actions.
=>Example Attack Behavioral processes may include: the basis for selection and location of the target (e.g. for power, because they are weak, an Ideology etc.), the process of identifying and securing a weapon type that they can utilize at the facility, reconnoitering and researching methods to subverting a facilities security measures, and maximizing the impact or effect of the outcome.
=> Past history: Has the subject shown an interest in targeted violence, idealized perpetrators of targeted violence, bought violent weapons, idealized or joined extremist groups, or is interested in murder? A history of attack-related behaviors committed with a special weapon and/or any breaches of other peoples security barriers signals serious propensity for violence. This Subject is particularly high risk if this special weapon was recently acquired by them and is their weapon-of-choice for acts of violence.
=> Perpetrator Ideals: Some perpetrators fanaticize or mentally rehearse targeted violence (for enjoyment, or to relieve their anxieties) and therefore they may show an unusual interest in acts similar to the one they are planning, or have committed in the past. They may talk excessively about these events, read about them, make inquiries about the consequences of such actions, make inquiries about the best weapons to obtain and use for a given crime, or even attempt to contact prior perpetrators of these acts.
=> Subjects alignment with certain extremist groups has some predictive value because some perpetrators of targeted violence give themselves “permission” for violence by believing that they are acting in accord with extremist group’s approval, or ideology, or will be rewarded.
=> Subjects Operational Behaviors: In the steps taken during planning, the subject may exhibit “Behaviors of concern” including an unusual and prolonged interest in specific instances of similar targeted violence, they may keep notes on the instance (e.g., diary, or list of weapons and tools they will need), they may conduct communications of inappropriate interest related to plans to attack a target (with intentions for the target, collateral intentions towards the targets family, friends, or anything important to them). They may observe the targets habits by stalking a target or visiting a possible location of an attack, and approaching a target in a protected setting to gauge their vulnerability. The type of Violence chosen is almost always directly related to target selection, and the institution type.
=> Mechanisms to Delay, Thwart, or bring about Cessation of Violent Actions: If a subject engaged in abnormal victimizing behavior in the past, how were they stopped? How were these situations resolved? Were they able to self-initiate the discontinuation of an inappropriate path or did they succumb to their obsessions and get caught.
=> Justification Patterns of a Subject: What is the individual's willingness to use violence against a given target? Does the Subject blame a target for a grievance that may not be their fault? To what degree does the subject desire to victimize others? Does it bring them a particular emotion such as joy, a sense of power, or are they operating from delusion that they are performing the will of a higher deity?
=> Subjects Predatory Nature: Did the subject develop obsessions and/or an unusual interest in a target, are they hyper-planning and discussing their plans. What are their preparatory behaviors, (e.g. following a target, approaching a site, and attempting to breach security) are all attributes of the predatory aspect of the subjects attack behavior and must be documented. This information will help shed light on the subject’s intent to perpetrate an act of violence.
6. SPECIFICS REGARDING THE SUBJECTS TARGET SELECTION: Attention should be given to the reasoning behind why the subject has chosen their particular target. Depending upon the motive, the subject may have considered multiple targets and choose the easiest one or will choose them based on proximity. E.g. The target and/or their facility may have been chosen for insurance purposes, or animal rights avocation, or a variety of other social topics. The subject may favor a particular type of act based on what it represents to them, consider the following:
*The target may be a symbolic act (faceless act). By committing the action, this means something to the perpetrator (some significance). This may be a delusion, or it may be uncovered among their idealistic motives.
*The target may be an instrumental act. By committing the action the perpetrator believes it serves as a crucial means to an end, or relates to something else, or is believed to be a necessity for their continued progress. This may be a delusion or it may be uncovered in the situation and context.
=> The Subjects Rationale for Decisions and Targets: If multiple targets have been considered (i.e. the subject initially stalked multiple targets), it is useful to note why the subject has discounted or ruled out any of them as the intended victim, this may provide additional information about motive, planning, attack related behaviors, and the potential for intervention.
Example and explanation: An aggrieved worker, for example, might consider violence toward a given supervisor, or the entire company before selecting one or more targets that represent what the attacker hopes to accomplish as their symbolic or instrumental objectives. This is uncovered in the “context/situational assessment,” and in the “interests” of the attacker, as well as their pattern of conduct leading up to the initial conflict and their preoccupations and actions that are leading up to an a planned act of violence. Evaluators who are shadowing an Individual of Unknown Interest would strive to be aware of how a potential attacker redirects their interests, and the rationale behind how their choices may again shifted over time and in the future.
BRIEF MENTAL ILLNESS DISCUSSION AND RISK ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS:
Assessing mental illness is complicated and is the job of professionals. A general distinction is typically made that mental illness per se does not have a strong association with violent behavior. Rather, any association between mental illness and violence appears primarily to be related to substance abuse and/or specific psychotic symptoms and behaviors of select mental conditions. Some mental illnesses contributed to bad decisions and actions that continuously destabilize a subject and/or threaten and disrupt other members of society. Individuals who are a danger to themselves or others are eventually sequestered from society, (unless the society is not developed enough to do so, has incompetent personnel, or they are derelict).
Previously, I discussed dangerous mental illnesses with one of my mentors (an expert at a London England facility for the criminally insane), and composed a partial list with him of diagnoses that are common to violent criminally insane offenders. Below I included a brief summary of these mental illnesses (internationally known mental illness are reported here as both DSM-IV & ICD-10 diagnoses). These illnesses are listed, to demonstrate to the reader the variety of illness that must be kept in check (BY THE SOCIETY) lest the society will suffer.
American DSM-IV Classification of Suggested Issues that may Lead to Disruptions Within Society
V71.01 Adult Antisocial Behavior (sociopath)
279.10 Delusional Disorder
295.30 Undiagnosed Paranoid Schizophrenia
296.90 Mood Disorder NOS
297.30 Shared Psychotic Disorder
300.14 Dissociative Identity Disorder
301.00 Paranoid Personality Disorder
301.22 Schizotypal Personality Disorder
301.40 Obsessive Compulsive Personality
309.04 Mixed Emotion & Conduct Adjustment Disorder
312.30 Impulse Control Disorder NOS
312.34 Intermittent Explosive Disorder
312.89 Conduct Disorder (early Teens)
312.90 Disruptive Behavioral Disorder NOS
313.81 Oppositional Defiant (late Teens)
314.01 Hyperactive Impulsive
International ICD-10 Classification of Suggested Issues that may Lead to Disruptions Within Society
F63.8-9 Habit and Impulse Disorder, (i.e. Sadist)
F1x.55 Psychotic Disorder with Predominant Mania symptoms
F07.8 Personality & Behavior Disorders due to Brain Dysfunction
F21.0 Schizotypal Disorders
F22.0 Persistent Delusional Disorders
F30.2 Mania with predominantly Psychotic symptoms
F31.2 Bipolar disorder with predominantly Psychotic symptoms
F34.0 Persistent Mood Disorder (some cases)
F44.81 Multiple Personality Disorder (rare)
F48.1 Depersonalization – Derealization syndrome
F60.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder
F60.2 Dissocial Personality Disorder
F60.30 Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, Impulsive Subtype
F60.50 Anankastic Personality Disorder
F61.1 Troublesome Personality Changes
F62.0 Enduring Personality Changes attributed to traumatic event (i.e. Grief or PTSD with psychosis)
Clearly, this background information regarding mental illness demonstrates that there are a number of disorders recognized in the U.S. and internationally that may potentially disrupt society and or lead to violent actions. If the Subject of concern has a severe mentally illness, it is useful to determine whether the subject is in treatment and likely to comply, and what his/her capacities might be when treated, as opposed to untreated. In bold I highlighted two special disorders, the Antisocial disorder and the Sadist, both are individuals who really enjoy punishing others whether they deserve it or not, and may be implicated in almost any violent, menacing, or abusive scheme that suits their current needs.
Present day, the U.S. psychiatric wards, penitentiaries, and other facilities protect us from most threats. One important overseer is the Centers for Disease control via the “Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).” This information does not even begin to consider all of the other major crimes and criminals potentially implicated in the threat assessment of a given facility. It is a major undertaking to maintain the civility in society when new criminals and mentally ill individuals pop-up every day. At any given point in time within the U.S., 28% of the population may have some form of mental disorder that is disruptive to society (with the majority being drug addiction, personality disorders, or related to mood) and within ones lifetime approximately half the people of the U.S. will have some mental illness (such as dementia) but will not necessarily become violent. Therefore, planning contingencies for a variety of Risks, including disasters, hazards, criminals and the mentally ill, may offer the broadest safety net for all stakeholders.
Example specific questions regarding Subjects who have a mental illness many include: Does the subject have a history of mental illness involving command hallucinations, delusional ideas, feelings of persecution, with indications that the subject (has or will) act on those beliefs?
=> Evidence related to compliance with violent command hallucinations (occurs at a rate between 40%-89%) and raises the level of suspicion that an individual may follow through with acts of violence, and therefore represents a danger to the public. Professional decisions to sequester or to discharge said individual hinges on risk associated with Subjects who (e.g. hears a familiar voice in their mind, and there is a delusional belief consistent with the command to perpetrate violence, and/or their delusion involves perceived threat of harm by others) with a threshold level that elicits enough of a uncomfortable experience that the suggestion overrides their internal controls.
=> Persecutory delusions are likely to be acted on and the risk of action is increased if the Subject is aware of evidence which they believe supports the delusion, and if they actively pursue such evidence. In retrospective examinations of the degree to which a Subjects past incidents of violence were motivated by concurrent delusions, 40% of subjects reported at least one violent event that was “probably” or “definitely” motivated by their concurrent delusion.
=> Another important question to answer is (if the Subject has a mental illness), how organized are they? Are they capable of developing and carry out a plan? For many violent individuals, their plans may not be highly sophisticated, but they are still able to cause devastation (especially if they find a way to access weapons).
Risk Assessments prioritize and account for a potential wide range of acts of violence, and therefore pose significant challenges to law enforcement, mental health, and other professionals. Utilizing Risk Assessment information in the creation of the facilities Prevention Strategy is yet another complex topic (to be discussed at a later time). Advances, particularly in behavior modeling and actuarial methods for assessing risk in certain populations has made it possible to assign risk factors to individuals and facilities under given scenarios that may offer forecasts as to the (periods of time security should be enhanced, or for intervention, or the prevention of a crisis). The extent to which (existing scientific knowledge) contributes to the predictability about violent criminal offenders and the ability to predict violence due to abnormal mental conditions is still evolving and the spectrum of uses for such information is yet to be determined. Nevertheless, those who engage in abnormal behavior or communications of concern must be assessed and potentially monitored to thwart future violence. The threat and risk assessment approaches described in this thread, provide a useful framework for stakeholders to thinking about assessments and the potential for targeted violence within their own Facility. Fact-based methods of assessment that focus on an individual's past, patterns of thinking, behavior, or other attributes help determine to what extent, they are moving toward an attack and complement existing risk assessment technology. Statistics offer insight about common threats faced by a facility due to the attributes of the Subject or of the facility. Both behavioral information and statistics are useful in the Risk Assessment to offer guidance for those who must assess and attempt to prevent targeted violence. Rather than using the presence or absence of mental illness as an approximation for an individual's capacity and veracity to execute a plan of attack, it is more useful to take a “functional” approach, and conduct some of the various collection and analytical processes depicted within this thread. Many people who are criminals (with or without mental disorders) are well organized in their ability to plan their behaviors and actions, and the windows of opportunity for an act of violence must be secured to ensure the Subject will not capitalize on a given vulnerability. The TAT evaluators should determine all scenarios the facility is (interested in examining) prior to initiating a Risk Assessment for their EOP, then elucidate the steps necessary to carry out a given act of targeted violence and plan contingencies. The Risk Assessment would continue by determining whether (and the extent to which) a given subject is capable of developing and executing a viable plan of attack, (including challenges such as acquiring weapons, gaining access to the target, and foiling security measures). Once a Subject is identified, the steps listed in this thread will be useful to explore their background and intensions. The Risk Assessment process has many common features for all facilities, but will also always contain custom assessments tailored to the unique facets of the targets and facilities as well. Continued advancements are underway, this thread has been presented as a core portion of an evolving science, and may be representative of desired basic preliminary information a TAT member would acquaint themselves with during Risk Assessments for a facility’s EOP.
-------------------------PRIMARY CURRENT RESOURCES FOR SCHOOL SAFETY---------------------
DHS: Campus Resilience Program Resource Library
NEW (JULY 2018) U.S. SECRET SERVICE GUIDE: Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model: An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence