By Katherine Kuhlman, PsyD
Yesterday, the FBI released a report on Lone Attacker Terrorism. The BAU examined 52 lone offender terrorist attacks between in 1972 and 2015, with the goal being to understand motivating factors, social networks, behavioral characteristics, and more. Lone Attacker Terrorism is really a subset of generalized targeted violence, the difference being that the motivation or injustice is based on ideology. The individuals that carried out these attacks did so outside of any ideological group.
You can read the whole report here.
10 Key Takeaways
What can we do to prevent these attacks? The good news is that targeted violence, whether based in ideology or not, can be prevented.
As an individual, awareness of some key characteristics, and knowing where to report them, is key. Standing by and monitoring does not prevent anything, and action must be taken. If you are in a school or workplace, do you know where to report concerning behaviors? If not, find out. Do you feel like your concerns are taken seriously if/when you report them? If not, encourage change or use another avenue (such as notifying law enforcement). If you’re concerned about a neighbor or a family member, do not keep the concerns to yourself. Check and see if your local law enforcement has a Threat Management Unit who specializes in being the central data collection point for this type of information. If that doesn’t exist, see if they have an Intelligence Unit that can serve the same purpose. You can notify federal law enforcement, such as the FBI, easily. It’s most important to make sure you aren’t silo-ing information. You might think it’s nothing, but it could play a role in the big picture. Some of they key behaviors to look out for include:
As an employer, it is your duty to protect your employees. You have a powerful role in the prevention of violence, whether at your agency/facility or elsewhere. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on security for this either (although it surely doesn’t hurt!).
Ultimately, targeted violence can be prevented with education, awareness, multi-disciplinary cooperation, and disruptors. Please contact me if you would like to implement this at your place of business.