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.
With the recent Paris attacks, terrorism is once again in the forefront. Continuing from a previous feature, Reid Meloy discusses the meaning of language used by terrorists as well as the epithets uttered by mass murderers in other contexts.
Should employers and their threat assessment teams be concerned about the “lone wolf” terrorist? Reid Meloy has done extensive work on this subject for counter-terrorism professionals and offers a description of their motives.
Domestic violence is in the news. With the recent attention involving professional athletes, awareness is rekindled and an opportunity provided to review domestic and intimate partner violence issues relevant to the workplace.
With each horrific tragedy such as the Washington Navy Yard, Sandy Hook, or Aurora, the public and political debate typically defaults to gun control. Cries for tighter restrictions are countered with an increase in the purchase of firearms – by those wanting to protect themselves from a personal attack, or those fearing new ownership-restricting laws.
For the past fifteen years my colleagues and I have conducted research on adolescents and adults who commit mass murder (see our research at www.forensis.org and @ForensisInc). We define mass murder as the intentional killing of 3 or more individuals, excluding the perpetrator, during one event; and have studied cases in both the U.S. and overseas, wherein this criminal phenomenon has its roots in the ancient behaviors called amok.
A common experience in our threat assessment work is to determine that an employee who has raised concerns about violence is ultimately evaluated as posing a very low or no risk to others or self, but remains a challenging and delicate management issue for employers.
“The company has refused to address my appeals and is hiding behind lies of eliminating my job due to a reorganization. This is patently false and I will show that the CEO himself is behind this conspiracy to silence me and trample on the rights of suffering employees. SOMEONE MUST CHAMPION THEIR CAUSE. LET IT BE ME! When the time is right I will reveal all the names of those behind this criminal conduct. Heads will roll in high places!!!”
Collaborating with us on our feature this quarter is Bram van der Meer, a new colleague in The Netherlands. Bram recently co-founded his own consulting service, Black Swan Forensics, after a 6 year career as a clinician in a forensic mental health facility, followed by an 11-year career as a threat assessment professional and profiler with the Netherlands National Police.
On December 14th 56 year-old Clay Duke – disgruntled, broke, and troubled – held the members of a Panama City, Florida school board at gunpoint while pronouncing his grievances, eventually firing at them but missing. When the school security guard fired on Duke, hitting him, he fired back and then killed himself.