After more than twenty years of active professional analysis I am convinced that in the majority of rage killing and terrorist situations, someone, after the fact, came forward and said, “I knew this was going to happen.”
Why are people so reluctant to report their concerns? Is it fears of being wrong, being accused of discrimination, fear of defamation, or is it lack of confidence that employer or authorities will properly manage the situation? And, recently the Director of the FBI spoke to congress about his agents overwhelming workload and the agency’s serious lack of resources.
Here are three steps that can be taken immediately by government, the media, and others to help:
1. Legal protection from reprisal and lawsuit.
2. A victim-focus in the media and law enforcement on-camera reports.
3. A significant increase in resources to the FBI.
Protection from reprisal and lawsuit:
The most important thing that the government can immediately do is to pass specific legislation to liberate the reporting parties and people who evaluate these situations from threat of retaliation and lawsuit. It will also help to strengthen mandatory reporting requirements for psychologist, doctors, and educators. These congressional measures should provide whistleblower protections and protection from reprisal for reporting parties – parents, teachers, employers, counselors, law enforcement, even neighbors.
Focus on the Victims
Focus not on “Crime Scene Investigation” type, moment by moment news blitzes on the killers and police activities as the investigation moves forward. Instead focus on the victims – their stories, the families, and the aftermath. Encourage outrage at the perpetrator’s actions and overriding sympathy and support for the victims. As a collective attitude, this may dissuade people being enticed into jihad, or the warped people looking for their moment of glory though the shedding of innocent blood. Certainly, more of a victim focus will encourage more people who have seen something, or know something, to come forward and say something . . . Just recently in San Bernardino most of the immediate focus was on the terrorists themselves, which is recruiting fodder for ISIS; there was little focus on the victims as individuals and families. Contrast that with the Paris coverage, where many weeks afterward, the media is still reporting on the victims and the public’s sympathy with the victims.
Give the FBI the resources they need:
Take some of the billions of dollars wasted on overlapping federal law enforcement agencies and low priority programs and double the resources of the FBI. The FBI, the Secret Service, various DHS directorates, the EPA, FERC, even the U. S. Coast Guard are all spending resources on overlapping law enforcement and, especially, cyber security efforts. Overlap and silos, in the fight against terrorism, are wasting dollars and diluting the effectiveness of the efforts. Give the money to the FBI.
Donald E. Greenwood, CEO, Don Greenwood & Associates, Inc., Risk Assessment and Security Management Consultants, Houston, Texas greenwoodsecurity.com