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Old 12-19-2012   #1
davidbfpo
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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:
Quote:
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?
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Old 12-19-2012   #2
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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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Old 12-20-2012   #3
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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.
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Old 12-20-2012   #4
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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.
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Old 12-20-2012   #5
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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:

Quote:
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:

Quote:
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 aren’t we protecting our kids? Our babies.
Regards

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Old 12-20-2012   #6
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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.
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Old 12-20-2012   #7
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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.
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Old 12-20-2012   #8
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Firn:

the way I look at the Second Amendment is that is primarily to allow the citizens some viable recourse to oppose the government if it comes to that. With that in mind, citing European weapons laws as a model to be followed doesn't hold much water given European history over the last hundred or so years.
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Old 12-20-2012   #9
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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.
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Old 12-20-2012   #10
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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.
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Old 12-20-2012   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carl View Post
Firn:

the way I look at the Second Amendment is that is primarily to allow the citizens some viable recourse to oppose the government if it comes to that. With that in mind, citing European weapons laws as a model to be followed doesn't hold much water given European history over the last hundred or so years.
As a matter of fact I'm not at all concerned about this or that Amendment. I just pointed out an aspect from a European point of view which may explain partly the stark difference in terms of murders and mass murders between the two big Western continents in the last fifty or so years.

How to deal with it is a different, American problem. Other countries reacted various ways, we will see how things go in the US after this tragedy.

P.S: European history is hardly a factor in this case and it is pretty hard to see a positive effect of a more liberal gun policy during the last hundred years. In a much poorer Europe price would have in any way kept the volume down, especially in the Eastern areas. A slightly bigger availabilty for small wars against a foreign aggressor mght have been the only plus while it would have changed even less in internal affairs.
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Old 12-21-2012   #12
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Carl,

Reasonable minds differ. Unreasonable minds even more so.

We can discuss symptoms and tactics, and certainly there are symptoms that must be addressed and one should have the best tactics possible for dealing with those symptoms.

We can also explore and discuss the fundamental aspects of such symptoms and the strategic frameworks that must be addressed to get to better trends over time.

I for one agree with Sun Tzu: "Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." Currently the airwaves are swamped with a lot of "noise" on this topic. Not much strategy though. To say there are no root cause for anything is simplistic and a dodge of taking on the hard work necessary to break a problem down to its components and attempt to understand why it is and how it works. We do this avoidance often, and nearly as often achieve predictably poor results.
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"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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Old 12-21-2012   #13
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Bob:

I don't like looking at the big picture in these things because I don't think there is a big picture. These are crimes committed by individuals and looking for a so called 'root cause' is a distraction from that. What motivates these criminals is irrational and their objective is evil, but the planning and execution are a perfectly rational series of decisions and actions by an individual. They decide and they decide what they can pull off. It seems to me that it is much more productive to look at these occurrences as crimes that take advantage of some obvious vulnerabilities and the most productive way to address them is to remove those vulnerabilities to the extent possible.

Beyond that the additional factor is the specific publicity given to these crimes. The world knows the name and faces of these criminals. Some of this is the result of a simple reward system. If you want everybody to know who you are, there is a surefire way to do it. The media will oblige the desire to be known. If something is rewarded, there will be more of it...so stop giving the reward.

As far as specific remedies, except for streamlining commitment procedures, I don't think there is much more than that. If you want more that is to be found in religious philosophy and perhaps the concept of original sin. People do evil.
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Old 12-21-2012   #14
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Well, then by all means, attack the symptoms (repeat as necessary).
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"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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Old 12-21-2012   #15
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Default NRA's Future Coarse of Action

The NRA's Press Conference today was headlined by the Wash Post, NRA’s Wayne LaPierre: Put ‘armed police officers’ in every school (Sean Sullivan, December 21, 2012) (LaPierre has proposed this before).

The Post also has provided the transcript, Remarks from the NRA press conference on Sandy Hook school shooting, delivered on Dec. 21, 2012 (Transcript). It includes closing remarks by Asa Hutchinson (Wiki bio), which outlines a two-pronged approach to school security:

Quote:
HUTCHINSON: We all understand that our children should be safe in school. But it is also essential that the parents understand and have confidence in that safety. As a result of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, that confidence across this nation has been shattered. Assurance of school safety must be restored with a sense of urgency.

That is why I’m grateful that the National Rifle Association has asked me to lead a team of security experts to assist our schools, parents, and our communities.

I took this assignment on one condition, that my team of experts will be independent and will be guided solely by what are the best security solutions for the safety of our children while at school. Even though we are just starting this process, I envision this initiative will have two key elements.

First of all, it would be based on a model security plan, a comprehensive strategy for school security based upon the latest, most up-to-date technical information from the foremost experts in their fields. This model security plan will serve as a template, a set of best practices, principles, and guidelines that every school in America can tweak as needed and tailor to their own set of circumstances.

Every school and community is different, but this model security plan will allow every school to choose among its various components to develop a school safety strategy that fits their own unique circumstance, whether its a large urban school or a small rural school such as we have in Arkansas or anything in between.

Armed, trained, qualified school security personnel will be one element of that plan, but by no means, the only element. If a school decides, for whatever reason, that it doesn’t want or need armed security personnel, that, of course, is a decision to be made by the parents and the local school board at the local level.

HUTCHINSON: The second point I want to make is that this will be a program that does not depend on massive funding from local authorities or the federal government. Instead, it will make use of local volunteers serving in their own communities.

In my home state of Arkansas, my son was a volunteer with a local group called Watchdog Dads (ph) who volunteer their time at schools, who patrol playgrounds and provide a measure of added security. President Clinton initiated a program called Cops In School, but the federal response is not sufficient for today’s task.

Whether they’re retired police, retired military, or rescue personnel, I think there are people in every community in this country who would be happy to serve if only someone asked them and gave them the training and certifications to do so.

The National Rifle Association is the natural obvious choice to sponsor this program. Their gun safety, marksmanship, and hunter education programs have set the standard for well over a century. Over the past 25 years, their Eddy Eagle (ph) gun safe program has taught over 26 million kids that real guns aren’t toys, and today child gun accidents are at the lowest levels ever recorded.

School safety is a complex issue with no simple, single, solution, but I believe trained, qualified, armed security is one key component among many that can provide the first line of difference as well as the last line of defense.
Regards

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Old 12-21-2012   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Well, then by all means, attack the symptoms (repeat as necessary).
Bob:

I done my bit by providing some superficial tactical things that attack only the symptom, mass shootings.

How about some stategicals to go with it?
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Old 12-21-2012   #17
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IMO carl is generally right. It is very hard to use Strategy and stuff against Psychos!
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Old 12-21-2012   #18
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We continue to perpetuate the myth that we can address underlying issues for all things. It is definitely worth addressing as many symptoms as holistically as possible, but the fact remains we don't have a cure for mental illness, stricter gun controls may have a limited impact in select cases (but we'll never know when it works), guards at schools "may" work sometimes, etc. I suspect the government will aggressively pursue improvements and should, but we'll still mourn losses to these type of hideous crimes in the future. The reality is a lot of the so called underlying issues that drive people to act this way are well beyond our control.
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Old 12-22-2012   #19
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Default The four above Posts are pretty well correct.

Can't guard against nut cases with ANY Strategy; the NRA missed a chance to be part of the solution sez this Endowment Member, Slap and Bill as always add common sense. This isn't going away, the media does more harm than good and the fact that most the recent crowd of shooters were big time gamers isn't a strategic pivot...
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Old 12-22-2012   #20
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I take a unique perspective on strategy (I find how unique this is as I deal with others who blend the word into their job titles with no apparent impact on it actually affecting the jobs they do, or with no particular training, experience or aptitude for strategic thought)

Some thoughts:

1. on "Root Causes" vs. "Energy Sources": Most things have roots of some sort, and many things have common aspects in their roots. But roots are below the surface and therefore impossible to see and hard to assess. Better, perhaps, to think in terms of "energy sources." Do not ask "what are the root causes" as this will spark knee jerk responses on complexity, impossibility, difference of opinion, etc. Instead look for and discuss what energy sources might be at work driving the particular activity one is concerned about.

2. One key way Strategy and Planning are the same: Like planning, it is not having a strategy that is important (most strategies are, IMO, vague, highly biased documents of questionable value; while most plans are overly detailed guidelines for some program of tactics with little connection to truly solving a problem in any kind of enduring way); but rather it is the process of thinking about a problem in holistic and fundamental ways to better understand the energy sources behind it that is important. Too often we skip this step, and either just go with what the boss or some "expert" feels, or we take a doctrinal answer off the shelf and dive straight into a hasty plan followed by a long, frustrating program of engagement.

3. Thinking about questions is often more important than knowledge of answers. I admit, I sometimes state what I currently think in far too certain of terms. That is a flaw I am working on. But I also abandon concepts when necessary and evolve them continuously as this is all part of thinking. Once one "knows" the answer they are almost certainly wrong. The military is a culture that prioritizes knowledge and action far more highly than understanding and thought. Nature of the beast. There is a time when action is critical, but most times we could use a lot less smoke and noise and a little more pause and think.

So, do not presume one can find the "root cause" of excessive gun violence and mass murder such as this recent event. But do resist the urge to knee-jerk action and pause to think about it holistically and in ways that force one to step outside their particular paradigm to do so. Identify some energy sources and considers ways to disconnect from or to turn down those sources. To just put armed guards in every school and to put greater restrictions on guns is the same type of senseless, symptomatic approach we applied to 9/11. Have we learned nothing? We cannot simply cling to things we do not want to change while generating powerful programs to guard against and attack the products of those things. We must evolve. But first we must think.
__________________
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)

Last edited by Bob's World; 12-22-2012 at 12:57 PM.
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