How to Fight the New Domestic Terrorism

This is a comprehensive essay done by a former FBI Special Agent and executive at of the of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Toward the end of the article the author proposes several fixes for the recent uptick in domestic terror related mass shootings – some new, some we have discussed on this distribution list, many already proposed, but all have merit. Best, Rusty

How to Fight the New Domestic Terrorism

Are video games or mental illness causing America’s mass shootings? No, research shows.

This timely article on mass shooting may be of interest. Among the points it makes which I consider of value are the following:

This article offers strong arguments that it’s not mental illness or violent video games that can be identified as causal factors in mass shootings.

There is no simple cause to be identified or simple solution to be applied to mass shootings/shooters. On this point I would agree and point out that mass shooters as a group have some similarities to spies and their crime to espionage. The DOD and DOJ “Slammer Program,” began in the 1980s with the goal of identifying a pattern/profile of a spy. The program consisted of teams of security, counterintelligence and psychological professionals who interview scores of convicted American spies in prison over the next two decades. The interviewers use a modified, week-long questionnaire, which was based on the work done in the FBI’s Violent Crime Program (VICAP). The VICAP profilers are now the subject of numerous movies, TV crime dramas and legends because they were able to successfully identify a profile for serial murders and sex offenders. The “Slammer Program,” though successful in identifying numerous clues helpful to espionage investigators, was not able to identify a profile of a spy, as there was none found. However, one of those helpful clues discovered by Slammer was, like with mass shootings, there is no one cause for espionage, but a variety of causes.

People see suspicious behaviors but don’t report them.

Another of the “Slammer” discoveries, similar to those found in mass shootings, is that spies exhibited suspicious behaviors that were noted but not acted upon/reported to authorities or law enforcement by friends, family and co-workers. There are always people see the troubling behaviors but don’t come forward with their observations until after the act. This is a significant point where law enforcement can have an impact to prevent the act. But it requires time, effort and resources to be spent on public awareness and police training programs that do three things;

  • Make the public aware of the specific behaviors related to mass shooters.
  • Develop creative programs that increase interaction and trust between the public and law enforcement agencies to enhance their willingness to come forward and report the suspicious behaviors they observe to the police or company security personnel.
  • Allocate at least equal resources to police training programs that focus on prevention/interdiction to those that now fund new equipment and tactical response training.



Yesterday I posted this article and my comments on it.
Our colleague, Dick Held, was kind enough to share his thoughts on part of what I had to say and I want to make them available to you. Thank you Dick for taking the time to share your observations.

On your point number three, there has long been a hesitancy of people to “get involved.”  They want something done, but they want someone else to do it.  Where we find a failure to come forward in these shootings (terrorist or otherwise) I genuinely believe we need to seek charges against those involved.  We all would pray if someone suspected we could be victims that they would warn us ahead of time.  We need to be equally prepared to do the same for someone else.  In my experience, that frequently doesn’t happen.

As always, I appreciate you sharing these articles.

Are video games or mental illness causing America’s mass shootings