Missteps and Omissions in Threat Assessment Practice

Stephen White, Ph.D.Winter, 2022 On March 8th and 9th Reid Meloy and I will conduct our annual two-day WAVR-21 training, open to threat assessment practitioners across all disciplines. Please see the adjoining reminder in this newsletter for more details. We are excited to see the robust response in registrations, both in person and virtually. Among the issues we address in …

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The Menu for an Extremist Ideology

In this feature, reprinted from Psychology Today, Reid Meloy identifies the commonalities that all extremist ideologies share. As threat assessors, his formulation informs our understanding of the link between beliefs and violence. Reid Meloy, Ph.D.Fall, 2021 We are awash in reports of extremist beliefs, extremist groups, acts of terrorism, and threats from the left and the right.  Concerns about extremism …

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Conspiracy Theories and Violence: What Threat Assessors Should Know

Philip Saragoza, M.D. & Stephen White, Ph.D.Spring, 2021 In this feature, we discuss the challenge of identifying conspiracy theorists who pose a risk of violence – a topic we will address in our upcoming workshop, Violent Extremism, 2021: A Threat Assessment Update, May 10-13. On Christmas day, 2020, in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, lone actor Anthony Warner detonated a bomb from …

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The Attack on the US Capitol as a Case of Workplace Trauma

Stephen White, Ph.D.Winter, 2021 In this feature, Stephen White discusses workplace trauma – the impact of life-threatening violent incidents on employees and an organization, and what leadership can do to support recovery and restore business functioning. The recent attack on the US Capitol and its myriad implications is the subject of intense national attention. Impassioned debate, calls for investigations and …

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Honor, Violence, and Threat Assessment: A Brief Note

Stephen White, Ph.D.Summer, 2020 “If honor enables us to ‘make the best of our own lives’, the continual experience of dishonor makes it impossible to live well.” Amy Shuffleton1 Does the concept of honor have utility for threat assessors? I have found the views of some contemporary philosophers and sociologists to be complementary to a psychological perspective on violent motives, …

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The “Incels” and the Ideology of Extreme Misogynistic Violence

Philip Saragoza, MDWinter, 2020   In this feature WTS Senior Associate Phil Saragoza describes the growing problem of men who identify as “involuntary celibates” and the implications for threat assessors. On April 23, 2018, 25-year-old Alek Minassian intentionally drove a van over sidewalks in broad daylight in downtown Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring many more. Hours later he sat …

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Explaining the Threat Assessment Process to the Campus Community

Stephen White, Ph.D.Summer, 2019 With the recent and horrific mass murders this summer, the message in this feature is as relevant as ever. Campus and workplace threat assessment teams are going to see an increase in reporting of concerns about violence. Explanations of how response protocols actually work will benefit an organization’s program. How can campus threat assessment teams better …

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“How Do We Manage the Fear?”

Threat assessment team members in organizational settings increasingly raise this question. Mature programs promote a “see something, say something” culture. We want people to report situations of concern and they do, increasingly so. Denial of potential risk (“Oh, that’s just Charlie being Charlie.”) is less often the problem in this day and age. We all are vigilant to identify and actively manage the serious cases, but in these settings the vast majority of reported scenarios involve individuals who, in the ultimate opinion of the team (or their assessment experts), are judged to not pose a risk of harm…

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