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Thread: Markers of An Insurgency

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    Default Markers of An Insurgency

    ~ from a flyer

    First National Student Safety & Security Conference
    11/29 - 11/30 Las Vegas, NV

    .....The U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Dept. of Education's Safe and Drug Free Schools Program comprhensively assessed over 25 years of school shooting and incidents.

    Key findings of the final report:

    *incidents of targeted violence at school rarely are sudden, impulsive acts.
    *Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker's idea and/or
    plan of attack
    *Most attackers did not threaten their targets directly prior to advancing
    the attack
    *There is no accurate or useful profile of students who engaged in targeted
    school violence
    *Most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused
    others concern or indicated a need for help
    *Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted, or injured by others prior to the
    attack
    *Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal
    failures. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide.
    *Most attackers had access to and had used weapons prior to the attack
    *In many cases, other students were involved in some capacity
    *Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were
    stopped by means other than law enforcement intervention "

    ................................................

    Educators and administrators, first responders, campus security, police, mental health professionals, emergency management are invited to this conference but no mention of the US military. When I read the key findings, I thought of Iraq and all the paralells and all that the military could contribute to such a conference.

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    Yeah, little thing called Posse Comitatus.

    Besides, even the LE community seems to be admitting, if cops are getting involved, the situation is probably a failure already.

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    Default Nope

    Posse Comitatus has nothing to do with increasing local situational awareness.
    Example is better than precept.

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    Default Puttin' the Wood To Therapists

    If we could get through the notion espoused by some elements of the various groups invited to this conference that the perps are themselves somehow victims entitled to due consideration, practical matters of real prevention , intervention and damage control could be better addressed, IMO. For some at the conference, the presence of LE will make them uncomfortable and seen only as advocates of a final solution when in fact, they have all kinds of ideas for prevention/detection/early intervention. I would go so far as to suggest that some would pee all over themselves if some military experts showed up in civvies with sound advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goesh
    First National Student Safety & Security Conference
    11/29 - 11/30 Las Vegas, NV

    .....The U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Dept. of Education's Safe and Drug Free Schools Program comprehensively assessed over 25 years of school shooting and incidents.

    Key findings of the final report:

    * Incidents of targeted violence at school rarely are sudden, impulsive acts.
    * Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker's idea and/or
    plan of attack
    * Most attackers did not threaten their targets directly prior to advancing the attack
    * There is no accurate or useful profile of students who engaged in targeted school violence
    * Most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern or indicated a need for help
    * Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted, or injured by others prior to the attack
    * Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide.
    * Most attackers had access to and had used weapons prior to the attack
    * In many cases, other students were involved in some capacity
    * Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were stopped by means other than law enforcement intervention.
    The USSS/Dept of Education report is from Oct 2000.

    To state that these findings are equivalent to "markers of an insurgency" is a grossly false analogy. Although the individuals who committed these acts of school violence share certain behavioral characteristics with some bad guys (especially suicide bombers), this is not really a comparable field in which many of our soldiers can offer real expertise to those in CONUS dealing with this specific issue.

    School shootings, in their lead-up and execution, are more analogous to workplace violence incidents, stalkers that are only discovered once they commit a violent act agains the subject of their obsession, suicidal barricade subjects, and even certain instances of extreme domestic violence (i.e. cases where there is no clear previous history, then suddenly an extremely brutal incident). The report's identification that the individual's behaviors and communications being the only reliable indicator of impending action is important in this regard.

    Although situational awareness is ultimately the key for identifying potential school shooters domestically, and is certainly key to staying alive for soldiers in harm's way, the two fields are very different in application. As a caveat, I will say that we do have those in uniform who do have the requisite expertise to add substance to a conference of this nature - but the numbers are far smaller than you imply, and their backgrounds may not be what you assume.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Dang. I wish I'd known about this conference sooner. I've got about a dozen people I want to send.
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    Seems to me like they might be isolated, small cells, very few in number, fully autonomous with a loosely defined ideology but rife with symbols and secret meanings, lacking a central command structure yet able to garnish signficant media attention and cause major disruption, able to create more angst and agitation than any ambushed convoy in Iraq or Afghanistan, a cult of vengence and rebellion against established authority, a message some others have picked up on. The multi-disciplinary approach taken in opposition to these domestic terrorists is only as good as the political parimeters set in place by the task force(s) IMO. I call them home grown IEDs, more akin to jihadists than misfits, stalkers or victims of bad parenting. My interest is in the dynamics of exclusion that prevent input from other credible resources and not the rhetoric that justifies only the inclusion of the identified players. In retrospect, I should have put a question mark at the end of the Post's title but on the other hand, we might not even be having this discussion if the word "Allah" had cropped up a number of times on the hard drives of some of the shooters.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    As a caveat, I will say that we do have those in uniform who do have the requisite expertise to add substance to a conference of this nature - but the numbers are far smaller than you imply, and their backgrounds may not be what you assume.
    I think you narrowed the scope to much to quickly. Consider that rampant mass casualty violence is a rarity. The reality is that chronic violence perpetrated by gangs (both the legal and relative type). You have your general thuggism that happens because it's nature, but you also have your directed intelligence and violence that is rampant in any school. A violent episode like Columbine won't ever happen in an East Chicago school because everybody is armed (not really!) and has high situational awareness. I have a theory that the larger the school the more hidden the violence, but per capita the violence is much the same regardless of school size.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    I think you narrowed the scope to much to quickly.....
    Selil - the scope was defined by the conference and report referred to in the post at the head of the thread. The focus in both was school shooters, not the broader issue of general violence in schools, whether gang-related or otherwise. Yes, the conference looks to touch on the broader topic tangentially, but the report does not at all. In regards to your point, a broad discussion of underlying lower-level violence and intimidation in school systems (gang-related and otherwise) may be interesting, but I do not see a meaningful connection between the that subject, LE and Small Wars that doesn't involve a degree of exegesis.

    Goesh - to call school shooters domestic terrorists, cultists or jihadists is to shift their status as a criminal to an undeserved label. To conflate these guys with any type of organized, compartmented or autonomous, cellular network is yet another false analogy. It may make for entertaining rhetorical ramblings, but at the street level it doesn't work.

    As I stated in my first response, the nearest approximation to the school shooters' behavioral and communications indicators is to suicide bombers. However, suicide bombers tend to have been spotted, recruited and and deployed by handlers who are proficient in the requisite manipulative communications skills. That key element is missing with the school shooters - they tend to be self-initiated and self-directed. Yes, there are lessons to be learned, each from the other, but they remain two very distinct types of violent criminal action.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 11-16-2007 at 06:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh
    That key element is missing with the school shooters - they tend to be self-initiated and self-directed. Yes, there are lessons to be learned, each from the other, but they remain two very distinct types of violent criminal action.
    So most school shooters are closer to anarchists than terrorists? I can understand the difference in the types of crimes and willingly concede that terrorist gets tacked on (to choose your crime) so you get funding. I still wonder if we're splitting it to fine and trying to make foreign terrorism (insurgency) fit the domestic terrorism (insurgency) model or v a v. Oklahoma City was a self directed, self initiated low dollar highly asymmetric domestic terrorist event. Could it be that high violence prone events like Columbine and Virginia Tech have been relegated to separate categories because of their novelty? Similarly the background noise of regular school violence doesn't get the attention it should due to it's frequency?
    Last edited by selil; 11-16-2007 at 07:09 PM.
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    Jedburgh,

    You're way to right. I read through the pamphlet again and they are looking at those one off crisis situations. I'd say a big part of the conference is about how to handle SWAT on the campus (lot's of how to coordinate with LEO's)... It would be better if they look at it from an all crimes approach but I guess that isn't to be. The primary killer on most campuses is likely alcohol.

    Off several hundred campuses watched by the FBI in 2005 there were only 4 murders. There were over 500 rapes, and 1445 agravated assaults. http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/data/table_09.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    So most school shooters are closer to anarchists than terrorists? I can understand the difference in the types of crimes and willingly concede that terrorist gets tacked on (to choose your crime) so you get funding. I still wonder if we're splitting it to fine and trying to make foreign terrorism (insurgency) fit the domestic terrorism (insurgency) model or v a v. Oklahoma City was a self directed, self initiated low dollar highly asymmetric domestic terrorist event. Could it be that high violence prone events like Columbine and Virginia Tech have been relegated to separate categories because of their novelty? Similarly the background noise of regular school violence doesn't get the attention it should due to it's frequency?
    I think you're dead-on in that the desire for funding plays an often too-significant role in how certain events are categorized in the assessment of risk to a given entity.

    I also agree, but think its the reverse of how you stated it, that there is a lot of "interpretation" of domestic threats to shove them into the same box as transnational terrorism. This also plays to the above point.

    I don't feel that school-shooter incidents have been relegated to a distinct category. That term implies that such incidents have been shunted to an inferior designation. I believe that, within the community of professionals that focuses on them, they are given the appropriate designation.

    However, I disagree about regular low-level school violence not getting the attention it needs. From my experience in LE and elsewhere domestically, there is a lot of local attention paid to school violence issues - it just doesn't receive the broad national coverage that murders on a schoolground always will. The biggest problem in adequately addressing the problem at the local level isn't attention from the authorities, it's adequate funding and effective use of available funds and other resources. (As well as the lack of parental guidance and involvement - which you can't really fix at any level of government). In any case, there are huge differences from state to state and district to district and even down to school to school within the same district - it is really unrealistic to paint the entire system with one brush.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Goesh - to call school shooters domestic terrorists, cultists or jihadists is to shift their status as a criminal to an undeserved label. To conflate these guys with any type of organized, compartmented or autonomous, cellular network is yet another false analogy. It may make for entertaining rhetorical ramblings, but at the street level it doesn't work.
    This statements brings up a few questions I've pondered (I apologize if its been discussed elsewhere). What exactly is a terrorist? Why do we treat them any different than other criminals (be it a school shooter, bank robber, drug dealer, or a more organized mafia-style criminal)? By doing so (and declaring "war" on them) are we granting them some preferential status that magnifies their stature in their home territory or abroad? Does this hamper our efforts in combatting terrorism?
    -john bellflower

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawVol
    This statements brings up a few questions I've pondered (I apologize if its been discussed elsewhere). What exactly is a terrorist? Why do we treat them any different than other criminals (be it a school shooter, bank robber, drug dealer, or a more organized mafia-style criminal)? By doing so (and declaring "war" on them) are we granting them some preferential status that magnifies their stature in their home territory or abroad? Does this hamper our efforts in combatting terrorism?
    In my personal opinion, I feel that we do grant them unjustified status by treating them differently, and, to a degree, this assists them in building their political platform. We should get down to brass tacks and treat them like the common criminals they are; prosecute and sentence them for murder, conspiracy, and the host of other crimes which apply to the acts committed.

    However, the dilemma is the stricter evidentiary requirements for effective criminal prosecution as opposed to current measures. But we manage to move forward and prosecute while meeting these legal requirements when dealing with child-rapists and serial killers. There is no reason, other than expediency, that we shouldn't be able to prosecute the terrorists effectively as criminals. They are all criminal scum, and the terrorists shouldn't be seen by anyone as different from the rest of that ilk.

    Just my .02

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    Okay, if we agree that terrorists are really criminals and should be treated as such, shouldn't we then prosecute a war rather than fight a war? In other words, in a post-Iraq world, wouldn't we be better off pursuing some type of high-intensity law enforcement strategy to capture them? Slapout and I have discussed this before. Although there are definitely international law issues to address, I see something along the lines of how the Isrealis capture Adolph Eichmann and tried him.
    -john bellflower

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    "You must, therefore know that there are two means of fighting: one according to the laws, the other with force; the first way is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first, in many cases, is not sufficient, it becomes necessary to have recourse to the second." -- Niccolo Machiavelli (from The Prince)

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    This has always been my issue with it as well. I tend to get a little uncomfortable about the military being described as "making arrests." Not sure what the solution would be at this time, though....
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawVol View Post
    Okay, if we agree that terrorists are really criminals and should be treated as such, shouldn't we then prosecute a war rather than fight a war? In other words, in a post-Iraq world, wouldn't we be better off pursuing some type of high-intensity law enforcement strategy to capture them?
    In many ways, Iraq and even the continuing fight in Afghanistan are tangential efforts, although they damn sure are critical.

    The real fight against the true terrorist threat has been going on in much the way that imply with your question - a high-intensity effort, fusing law enforcement, intelligence and SOF resources with the cooperation of many nations. This has been going on behind the scenes since 9/11.

    Of course, it is certainly not as seamless nor quite as professionally smooth as it sounds - aside from the expected interoperability problems, there are still plenty of interagency turf battles and petty squabbles, let alone all the cross-border multinational legal issues throwing up obstacles to ops. Not to mention that the op-tempo in the major campaign areas has diverted limited SOF and intel resources.

    I believe that we are well set up to refine and intensify that effort in the post-Iraq op environment - given the requisite support from our national-level policy makers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    The real fight against the true terrorist threat has been going on in much the way that imply with your question - a high-intensity effort, fusing law enforcement, intelligence and SOF resources with the cooperation of many nations. This has been going on behind the scenes since 9/11.

    I believe that we are well set up to refine and intensify that effort in the post-Iraq op environment - given the requisite support from our national-level policy makers.
    Agree big time Jed. It never ever fails you guys get going on a good discussion while I am at my day job and I have a lot of catching up to do.

    I have a couple of links for you guys I am going to dig and post later.
    Last edited by slapout9; 11-17-2007 at 01:26 AM. Reason: fix stuff

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    Below is a pdf on how to get an inter-active CD about school security programs. Incudes role playing interview exercises with actors playing potential school shooters.

    Selil if you will contact your local Secret Service office they let you know the next time a class is taught or give you a contact at the department of education.

    http://www.secretservice.gov/press/G...NTAC_CDRom.pdf

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    I'll contact them. I sit on the University police board so I'll show it to them too..
    Sam Liles
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