“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…

Regional Multi-Agency Networks Reduce School Shootings

Stephen White, Ph.D. Winter 2018 Newsletter The Parkland, Florida school shooting has generated a new wave of outrage, controversy, and hopefully some encouraging movement. If you find this feature informative, please share it with your own school districts and law enforcement agencies where you live. As a threat assessment professional, I find the media and public focus in the aftermath …

Is Workplace or Campus Violence Reactive Anger or Deliberate Planning?: Revisiting a Recurrent Question

Threat assessment and management, the guiding method for the development of the WAVR-21 (Workplace Assessment of Violence Risk), focuses upon targeted violence. It is violent behavior that is planned in advance, and directed against a specific target, usually following a pathway. We read about such violence every day through the commercial media, but the history of this mode of violence is quite interesting, and has direct relevance for corporate and educational settings.

What Motivates Public Figure Attackers?

Public figures – celebrities in the entertainment, sports, and media world, high profile “celebrity” CEOs, and others – run the risk of fixation, stalking, and threats by individuals with various motives. In our consulting work, the question is, how can we identify those who may pose a risk of physical harm to their targets? In this feature, Reid Meloy discusses his important new research in this area.

A Short Treatise on Narcissism: From Normal to Risk for Violence

In the run-up to the recent presidential election, the term “narcissistic” was bandied about aplenty. In everyday language narcissism connotes excessive self-centeredness and personal entitlement, a more or less grandiose, over-the-top view of one’s abilities, an inordinate need for admiration, and especially a big, but easily punctured “ego.”

The WAVR-21 Third Edition

The revised WAVR-21 V3 features one coding form appropriate for all users in their risk screening or threat assessment roles. The instrument and manual content now address campus as well as workplace contexts. The manual includes a new comprehensive Intake and Documentation Questionnaire, four extensive post-incident analyses of workplace and campus homicide cases, and much updated and new material.

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Violence: Myths, Facts, and Threat Assessment

Is the presence of autism a red flag for violence risk? Are individuals with autism a subgroup of violent perpetrators? Media reports of sensational mass murders have contributed to the public’s perception of a causal link between autism and violence. The perpetrators of the mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Isla Vista-Santa Barbara in 2014, and most recently at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, were all described as having features of autism.

The Warning Behavior of Identification

Reid Meloy and his colleagues have recently published some significant work on the dark side of “Identification” – a possible correlate and contributor to targeted violence. Here he summarizes this work and what threat assessors should be aware of and look for.

How to Conduct a Campus Threat Assessment Team Meeting:

Most universities of any size now have threat assessment teams, mandated to assess, manage, and monitor individuals and scenarios of concern. “Best practices” include multi-disciplinary members, trained in the basics of targeted violence, and linked to expert resources as necessary. In our newsletter features we usually discuss a specific risk topic, or a high profile case, but in all efforts to assure campus safety, process matters. In fact, process matters significantly.