The single most effective immediate tip in preventing a workplace or school shooting
Addressing mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, and more stringent gun laws to remedy the continuing workplace and school violence problem we face constitute possible long term solutions.
The aforementioned does little to nothing to stop the future shooter who is seriously considering, even planning an imminent attack.
What step can be done right now, as in today, to possibly prevent tomorrow's disaster in the making?
Capitalize on Leakage of Violent Intent
"Leakage of violent intent" is defined by the F.B.I. as "the communication to a third-party of the intent to harm someone" by the future active shooter. Past active shooters studied by the F.B.I. engaged in pre-event leakage in 56% of all cases.
"Leakage" may occur in interpersonal communications, as when a co-worker discloses the intent to do harm to a co-worker or when a student leaks this intent on social media.
Some past active shooters leaked violent intent not once but many times. Each time they did and the leakage was ignored or missed represented a lost opportunity to prevent the episode.
The F.B.I. advises when active shooters leak violent intent, the #1 reaction by the individual who notices the leakage is to "do nothing" or address the concerning observable behavior directly with the active shooter.
Neither response is appropriate.
To help avert imminent disaster:
1. Roll out an education program addressing leakage of violent intent.
Explain what it is and what should be done if and when employees (workplace) or students, faculty and staff (schools) observe leakage of violent intent.
2. Develop reporting mechanisms that may be used when witnesses observe leakage of violent intent
We recommend two:
(1) a traditional reporting system with a dedicated and named person/persons to whom these complaints should be directed;
(2) an anonymous reporting system.
Each complaint must be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. Appropriate immediate responses must be initiated.
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Source: A Study of the Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Justice (June 2018).