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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Lone Wolves in the USA (new title)

    Moderator's Note

    This thread was called 'Lone Wolves after Newtown, Conn', which was a murder spree at a school and the focus has been lone wolf / lone wolves activity in the USA. There is a separate thread on lone wolves beyond the USA:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16226 and a separate thread on Terrorism in the USA:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=8828 . Thread retitled 'Lone Wolves in the USA'. A small thread was merged in today (ends).


    The murders @ Newtown, Connecticut have rekindled the debate over how the USA responds before such attacks occur. SWC has debated 'Lone Wolves' before, mainly as a terrorist tactic and after the Va Tech shooting a few years ago.

    I am sure there has been ample coverage and commentary - a small proportion reaching my reading screen - and sometimes on the BBC.

    Via RCP I found this article 'Even Experts Can't Spot the Next Violent Shooter' helpful, even if it "pours cold water" on several "pet" policy suggestions recently advocated:http://nationaljournal.com/domesticp...ooter-20121218

    Passages like this:
    But even psychiatrists struggle to pinpoint who could turn violent. “We are really terrible at anticipating behavior, or predicting behavior. There’s no theory—in psychology or psychiatry—that gives us a good basis or framework” to predict what will cause a young person to act violently, said Dr. Victor Schwartz, medical director at suicide-prevention group The Jed Foundation.
    I do wonder - as an observer of the USA - whether public policy priorities are wrong. So much is clearly devoted to 'Homeland Security' or counter-terrorism, I acknowledge there is a threat and since 9/11 rarely successful and not enough on responding to non-terrorist, occasional, lethal attacks.

    Can the leviathan of counter-terrorism be re-targeted?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-27-2014 at 12:34 PM. Reason: Add Mods Notes
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    There are many relevant previous threads, especially valuable IMO are:

    NYPD: Active Shooter - Recommendations and Analysis for Risk Mitigation, January 2011:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=12366

    Arizona Rep. Giffords' shooter called very disturbed, September 2011:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=12229
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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Can the leviathan of counter-terrorism be re-targeted?
    What would it be pointed at? The article states that you can't pinpoint these people.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Some of the things I've been reading lately about this point more, to me, to how popular culture interfaces with disturbed young men.

    1. These guys know about the previous mass murderers and they study what they did. The CT. killer, the guy in Oregon and the criminal in Aurora all dressed more or less in costume.

    2. They are aware of how what they do will play. The Oregon guy announced that "I am the shooter." That could have come right out of a news report.

    3. These guys plan the deed. One of the things they plan is where they can do it with small possibility of effective opposition. They like so called "gun free zones." "Gun free zones" are really statements of moral rectitude by a part of the popular culture.

    4. They want to kill, not fight. If they run into opposition or are about to, they surrender or kill themselves.

    With all this in mind there are two things that can be done, in my opinion, that may actually reduce these killings. The first is to somehow, someway make it so their names and faces aren't known by all. I don't mean passing a law. I mean restraint on the part of the media. I don't see any reason why anybody should know their names. The should just be known as the "murderer", the "criminal", the "thing" or something else that is both anonymous and shameful. That will take away the imaginings of mass media glory the I believe drives this.

    The second thing is to insert some uncertainty into their calculations. They won't fight. Right now there are places where they can be certain they won't have to fight, schools being the most obvious example. If schools were to announce that some of the teachers, all of the teachers or none of the teachers at any institution may or may not have ready access to weapons, depending on their disposition, that would be enough to remove the certainty that opposition won't be there.

    These events partly result from the culture of the US. That can be changed but not by the gov. Somehow we have to change it.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default Some thoughts ...

    although they still may be too early while funeral rites are still ongoing.

    In any event, these points seem valid to me:

    from Carl

    1. These guys know about the previous mass murderers and they study what they did. The CT. killer, the guy in Oregon and the criminal in Aurora all dressed more or less in costume.

    2. They are aware of how what they do will play. The Oregon guy announced that "I am the shooter." That could have come right out of a news report.

    3. These guys plan the deed. One of the things they plan is where they can do it with small possibility of effective opposition. They like so called "gun free zones." "Gun free zones" are really statements of moral rectitude by a part of the popular culture.

    4. They want to kill, not fight. If they run into opposition or are about to, they surrender or kill themselves.
    So, are these folks "Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity" ? No !

    They are guilty, even though they may be mentally ill in any number of ways. The young man who committed these CT killings saved us a good deal of turmoil by taking his own life. That turmoil was exemplified in the trials of the CT duo of home invaders, murderers and rapists recently sentenced to death. The patterns of both these CT incidents were as laid out above.

    Right now (see first sentence of this post), I don't feel like discussing Carl's two conclusionary points - both are valid areas of discussion, BTW. They parallel discussion areas suggested by Carrie Cordero ("In November 2011, Carrie Cordero joined Georgetown Law as its first Director of National Security Studies. Previously, Professor Cordero served in national security related policy and operational positions with the Department of Justice from 2000-2010, most recently as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security."), in these two blog posts, Carrie Cordero on the Lone Shooter (Lawfare, 17 Aug 2012); Carrie Cordero on Physical Security at Schools (Lawfare, 18 Dec 2012). From the last article:

    Which leaves us with physical security. Many of us go to work in places far more secure than those in which our kids go to school each day. Following 9/11, federal, state and local authorities effectively hardened potential targets of terrorist attack. We turned soft targets into hard targets. When I worked in the federal government, I had to swipe a badge and walk past several guards. Visitors to federal buildings go through scanners and show ID. Purses and bags go through security machines. It works. Congress is protected along these lines when its members and staff go to work each day. Same for local government officials. Now, when I go to work at a university, I still walk past a guard who requires me to show an ID. Universities have campus police and uniformed guard forces. Dorms in large cities are guarded. Private companies all over the country have guards at the front desk.

    We protect ourselves. Why arenít we protecting our kids? Our babies.
    Regards

    Mike

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    There are so many factors that contribute to these events - perhaps the greatest tragedy is that we will focus our solutions on one or two obvious symptoms rather than seek to find a holistic approach.

    1. Can we come up with a more appropriate way to ensure the effects intended by the 2nd amendment while mitigating illegal or unnecessary gun violence? Probably. But we need to equally think about how interpretations of the 1st amendment have contributed to mindset behind the action.

    2. When I read about mobilizations of civilians to form armies for war, one large challenge is how to train people to overcome their natural aversion to taking another human life. When one studies war one sees that once trained, the human animal can take human lives with ease (though typically not without psychological consequences once returned to "normal"society). I do not play, but see the ads on TV for modern video games rooted in the celebration of unconstrained violence. What a great training aid for overcoming social aversions to killing. Add to that a global 24-hour news cycle that drones on relentlessly about every such event around the globe, making cult heroes of the lead villains in these tragic dramas. Where are the calls for constraints on this?

    3. What to do with our mentally ill. Medicate and integrate seems to be the norm. It is cheap and it appeals to a liberal sense of fairness and humanity. As a prosecutor in Portland Oregon I handled civil commitments for few months. Individuals pick up by the police for psychotic breaks that were often quite violent in nature (to the person or to others). These people were hospitalized and medicated prior to their hearing. The judge had the power to commit for up to 6 months, but only based upon the mental state of the person as they appeared at the hearing. How they were during the act, or what the act was, were largely immaterial to the finding. Most were simply released and urged to take their meds. Shows like the current "American Horror Story" or the classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" don't help us in getting to the middle ground that is so necessary to get people the help they need and to protect society from their breaks with reality.

    We need a strategic approach, but like most things, we will simply apply intel and tactics to address the symptoms.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    I agree pretty much with the holistic approach. (Gun) Culture, social make-up and the legal system all play a smaller or bigger role. Violence like murder is much more frequent in the US then in any other western country and the prison population is for a number of reasons much higher too.

    While I won't comment on a so called new assault gun ban I want to remind the reader that Europe has, despite some EU alignment multifaceted policies on gun control. In general it is much harder to get one while a permit to carry one in daily life is extremely rare. I don't think there is much of a difference ( at least in my opinion) of what you can buy let us say in Germany, Italy and the US when it comes to rifles, even semi-automatic ones. The big differences are the entry barriers, carry permits and the sheer amount of firearms in circulation.


    Standard military size magazines, even some with 120 rounds can be bought in Italy. Semi-automatic 'sporter' or 'hunting' rifles and carabines are also perfectly legal if you have the license for which you pay roughly 150 € a year. As usual there are differences between the regions/provinces on what is legal to go hunting with and what is a thus a 'hunter' rifle. ( Mostly semi-automatics hunting rifles and shotguns are subject to the 2+1 rule, two shots in the magazine and one in the barrel)

    In general Italian law is a legal maze and while the controls are generally relative lax for most sometimes there are very rigid checks and some absurd legal cases. Eduardo Mori is considered to be arguably the foremost legal expert on the weapon issue, and has a collection of some. For example while you have to inform the Carabiniere of your area even of any purchase of ammunition this is in most cases far too much paperwork and is not enforced. From a hunting perspective I really see no need for any change in the gun laws apart from a big general clean-up of the often badly worded and sometimes conflicting legal norms. Suppressing the muzzle blast would be nice, but I'm now used to electronic hearing protection.

    In short it is potentially not too difficult for a overtly sane person with no suspect record to buy similar weapons as used in the latest terrible tragedy. A mentally disturbed person faces a much higher barrier to get personal weapons and the general low amount of firearms, especially of semi-automatic rifles with large magazines makes it also much harder to get such from (close) relatives. In the latter case it is also relative uncomon to spend much time handling and shooting said weapons.

    P.S: Illegal weapons are of course also available but it should take considerable effort and money for a 'normal' mentally disturbed personto get them.
    Last edited by Firn; 12-20-2012 at 02:45 PM.
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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Bob:

    These are crimes committed by self absorbed individuals. There is no holistic, root causes, 'what is it about our society that makes them do this?' approach. They want to hurt and be known and we have set up easy spots to hit and we make them famous.

    The tragedy is the dead people, not that we don't come up with something relatively simple that will deal with the problem, rather than coming up with something complicated that will make us feel smarter than the next guy that won't deal with the problem.

    Your point 1 is a little to breezy about fundamental human rights. Personal self defence against criminals and group self defense against government tyranny both ultimately mean the ability to do effective lethal violence if needed. I don't know how you are going to ensure that effect another way.

    When you say something about rethinking interpretations of the First Amendment you are talking restrictions on free speech. Period. That I don't like at all. The problem of publicity for killers can be solved by voluntary restraint on the part of the media. They can report the crime without mentioning names of killers and showing their photos. They don't show photos of murder victims, nor do they publish names of some sex crime victims. They can restrain themselves. It won't matter if some things leak out via the net. Most people get their news from the standard sources, that is where the fame is. If it isn't in the mass media, it isn't famous.

    Your point 2 makes the same fundamental error about humans that Grossman does. Humans are not naturally averse to killing. What aversion they have is taught to them in varying degrees by whatever culture they happen to live in. Aversion to killing is not a product of human nature. It is a product of cultural teaching and as such it can be stripped away pretty quick.

    But that is subordinate to the point you make in point 2. there is an aversion. I don't think the games have much effect. All the people I know who play are perfectly capable of discerning the difference between the game and real life. They are pretending. The media giving huge amounts of publicity is a much more important effect.

    Your point 3 is very right. We have to be able to commit dangerous people like we did in the old days. Ken Kesey has something to answer for.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    So, are these folks "Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity" ? No !
    Exactly. As you said, their insanity only extends so far. Their reaction to the exigencies of life is irrational, but all of their actions are those of perfectly rational people. They don't like the way the world makes them feel and they want to feel better. The way they choose to feel better is nuts but that is as far as their insanity goes.

    Then their actions become those of a sane and evil person. How can he feel better? He can hurt them. How can he hurt them? He can kill them. The more he kills the more they will hurt. If he kills children, they will feel even worse. He can feel even better if he can anticipate that everybody will know him and want to want to learn about him.

    So where can he go to kill many and not take the chance that there will be a fight that will keep him from killing many? There are lots of places and most of them advertise. Then is becomes a simple matter of scheduling.

    He knows that he will run into no opposition. He knows he will be famous and his face will be known by all. The media can be counted on to do that for him. And that same media makes it easy for him to research.

    So to me, the key to preventing these things is to make a situation that would dissuade the rational planner part. Remove the certainty that there will be no opposition and make these actions anonymous.
    Last edited by carl; 12-20-2012 at 03:10 PM.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Rightly Carl asks, after I had posted:
    Can the leviathan of counter-terrorism be re-targeted?
    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    What would it be pointed at? The article states that you can't pinpoint these people.
    My point from afar was that some of the CT leviathan effort, political as much as other parts of government, could be refocused. In my reading there are obviously gaps in the legal and administrative structures - not just to regulate guns.

    To give two examples. There is no legal requirement for gun owners to report a firearm stolen; I'm not sure whether this means ATF, FBI, state or local have responsibility. Sorry I cannot link to a source article. Secondly the reporting to the FBI of mental health concerns for NCIS use is haphazard and clearly flawed. See:http://www.motherjones.com/politics/...ing-adam-lanza
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    To give two examples. There is no legal requirement for gun owners to report a firearm stolen; I'm not sure whether this means ATF, FBI, state or local have responsibility. Sorry I cannot link to a source article.
    There is no requirement to report stolen property of any kind. Even if there was, I don't know what good it would do with firearms. Almost nobody knows what the serial number of the weapon was. One thing I always thought would be helpful was if the manufacturers made the serial number big on the gun and in some sort of contrasting color. That makes it easier for the owner's to see and record the number. It's great when you get a guy and can actually prove that any weapon he had is stolen, frustrating though because you mostly can't.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Posted by Bob's World

    I think about thing differently than most, and that I tend to spend
    more time attempting to sort out why things are the way they are in a quest to find insights to offer to guide the efforts of the decision makers above me.
    I don't disagree and your insights are often helpful and informative, but as you know one size seldom fits all. This gets to my or our next point.

    What I am talking about is the art of strategy. What does one understand about the things going on around them, how does that make them think about the guidance they have received, and what recommendations or questions does that suggest to inform how everyone can get to a better place at the least possible cost and with the lowest likelihood of negative consequences.
    No daylight between us on this observation. At least in the military, and I see it in other government agencies also, we're quick to label a problem (insurgency, terrorism, gun violence, drunk driving, drugs, etc.) and then apply some doctrinal approach and adjust our foolish measurements or what we measure so we can demonstrate success (and maintain funding for our efforts). Despite lip service to the contrary we spend very little time gaining understanding of the problem, to include the real root causes (even if we can't fix them, we should endeavor to understand them). Einstein allegedly said something along the lines that if I had an hour to solve a problem I would spend 59 minutes gaining understanding of it first, and then a minute to solve it. We don't produce thinkers like that in our mass education system, and that includes the military PME system. I don't know if it is possible to produce thinkers like that, but when they're identified they should be treated as a high value item that needs to be protected, but more often than not we send them to our version of re-education camps to ensure they conform to our "group think."

    Most strategists focus on identifying and cataloging lists of things that are, and then applying against those lists the framework of guidance from their own boss and bosses higher in the command structure. This is important, but is the science of strategy. What can I measure, what have I been told to do, how do I apply that at my level. This is objectively assessable.
    I think, but I'm not sure, what this paragraph is getting after?

    I don't think we prioritize the art of strategy as highly as we should, nor do I think we attempt to identify early and nurture over time that type of artistic talent in the US military.
    As stated above we tend to destroy it, the only ones that can openly express this type of talent are Admirals and Generals (assumed they had and retained this ability after years of suppressing it). The critics in the media still serve us well.

    Instead we seem to think that once one achieves a certain rank or educational degree, or is assigned to a headquarters commanded by a person possessing a certain number of stars that one is automatically "strategic." That, IMO, is "arrogant."
    Couldn't agree more.

    We are, too often, the very type of "intelligent fool" as discussed by Mr. Einstein below. I too often count myself within that number of intelligent fools. The only difference in me is that I actively seek to avoid that natural tendency that Einstein described. I realize sometimes that makes others uncomfortable. Just shut up and color, right? There is a comfort in following orders and applying tactics with vigor and effectiveness. We have become too comfortable in that regard. We need to start trying to make ourselves uncomfortable, as that is what leads to discovery and growth.
    Lot's of people are uncomfortable, discovering, and growing. Perhaps more than you give credit for. The issue is changing the system that does become more complex and engrained overtime. That is the nature of bureaucracies. They don't tend to gravitate to simple and effective, rather their processes and rule books just get thicker and thicker, and result in serious snagnation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    There is no requirement to report stolen property of any kind. Even if there was, I don't know what good it would do with firearms. Almost nobody knows what the serial number of the weapon was.
    carl, you can work around that somewhat. If the weapon was bought at a legal gun store,etc. the serial number will be recorded by the seller, which can be matched with the name of the purchaser.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    carl, you can work around that somewhat. If the weapon was bought at a legal gun store,etc. the serial number will be recorded by the seller, which can be matched with the name of the purchaser.
    Now i find this out. How long do they keep the records?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default Before Westgate a Salt Lake City mall!

    A NYPost story 'Could the Kenya attack happen here? It did' and in:
    On the evening of Feb. 12, 2007, a young Muslim man walked into the Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City.....Yet the attack garnered few national headlines. Local media wrote it off as the act of a madman, parroting the quick conclusion of law enforcement. Officially, the FBI declared the mass shooting was not an act of terrorism.
    Link:http://nypost.com/2013/10/12/could-t...t-already-did/

    SWC have a number of threads on lone wolves, the Mumbai attack, Westgate and school massacres. I don't recall the Salt Lake City attack being mentioned.
    davidbfpo

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    The police and FBI investigation found no evidence of jihadist motivations in this case. Contrary to the New York Post report and some of the right wing blogosphere, video of the incident (which I've listened to) does not clearly record anyone shouting "allhu akbar" (the shouts sounded to me more like "come on out" by the responding police officers). None of the officers on scene near the suspect reported any such utterances by the suspect.

    The FBI report can be found here.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    The police and FBI investigation found no evidence of jihadist motivations in this case. Contrary to the New York Post report and some of the right wing blogosphere, video of the incident (which I've listened to) does not clearly record anyone shouting "allhu akbar" (the shouts sounded to me more like "come on out" by the responding police officers). None of the officers on scene near the suspect reported any such utterances by the suspect.
    So close to impartiality, but so far. Had you have left out the 'right wing' bit, I wouldn't have to point out the daily white-washing found in the main stream media.

    That aside, let's go on to the FBI report. Page 3, Pt I. para. 3 indicates that he was off on his own little Jihad, so the whole bit about what he or anyone else was yelling is completely and totally moot.


    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I don't recall the Salt Lake City attack being mentioned.
    Are we highlighting this topic separate from the Terrorism in the US? Just curious as to why it's by it's lonesome.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Why a new thread, not a post?

    Adam G asked:
    Are we highlighting this topic separate from the Terrorism in the US? Just curious as to why it's by it's lonesome.
    I am following your advice on creating a new thread - when a significant item appears, as this is IMO - and so feeds into the Twitter SWC feed. You may have noticed it is my habit to merge short, stand-alone threads into existing, main threads. That is a hint what will happen soon.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I am following your advice on creating a new thread
    Thus joining the ranks of the Illuminati. Hear my golf applause.
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
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    Default First Beheading in the U.S.?

    http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/po...homa-workplace

    Police: Woman beheaded at Oklahoma workplace

    "Yes, she was beheaded," Lewis told The Associated Press before a Friday news conference.
    While questioning the suspect's co-workers, investigators learned he had recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam, Lewis said. Moore police have asked the FBI to aid in the investigation and look into the man's background because of the nature of the attack, Lewis said.
    I'm sure there will be much to follow about this apparent lone wolf attack. There is an element of psychology that we seem to be missing, and one you have one attack, just a like a school shooting, there will likely be others.

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