kitchen table math, the sequel: from the Secret Service report - "signaling the attack"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

from the Secret Service report - "signaling the attack"

I'm not sure whether this passage is apropros to the Newtown murders since the killer was an adult. Have just begun to look at it.

I find the first paragraphs astonishing.
Signaling the Attack

Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker’s idea and/or plan to attack.

In most cases, other people knew about the attack before it took place. In over three-quarters of the incidents, at least one person had information that the attacker was thinking about or planning the school attack (81 percent, n=30). In nearly two thirds of the incidents, more than one person had information about the attack before it occurred (59 percent, n=22). In nearly all of these cases, the person who knew was a peer–a friend, schoolmate, or sibling (93 percent, n=28/30). Some peers knew exactly what the attacker planned to do; others knew something "big" or "bad" was going to happen, and in several cases knew the time and date it was to occur. An adult had information about the idea or plan in only two cases.

In one incident, for example, the attacker had planned to shoot students in the lobby of his school prior to the beginning of the school day. He told two friends exactly what he had planned and asked three others to meet him that morning in the mezzanine overlooking the lobby, ostensibly so that these students would be out of harm’s way. On most mornings, usually only a few students would congregate on the mezzanine before the school day began. However, by the time the attacker arrived at school on the morning of the attack, word about what was going to happen had spread to such an extent that 24 students were on the mezzanine waiting for the attack to begin. One student who knew the attack was to occur brought a camera so that he could take pictures of the event.

Most attackers did not threaten their targets directly prior to advancing the attack.

The majority of the attackers in the targeted school violence incidents examined under the Safe School Initiative did not threaten their target(s) directly, i.e., did not tell the target they intended to harm them, whether in direct, indirect, or conditional language prior to the attack. Only one-sixth of the attackers threatened their target(s) directly prior to the attack (17 percent, n=7).

Most attackers engaged in some behavior, prior to the incident, that caused others concern or indicated a need for help.

Almost all of the attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the attack that caused others–school officials, parents, teachers, police, fellow students–to be concerned (93 percent, n=38). In most of the cases, at least one adult was concerned by the attacker’s behavior (88 percent, n=36). In three-quarters of the cases, at least three people–adults and other children–were concerned by the attacker’s behavior (76 percent, n=31). In one case, for example, the attacker made comments to at least 24 friends and classmates about his interest in killing other kids, building bombs, or carrying out an attack at the school. A school counselor was so concerned about this student’s behavior that the counselor asked to contact the attacker’s parents. The attacker’s parents also knew of his interest in guns.

The behaviors that led other individuals to be concerned about the attacker included both behaviors specifically related to the attack, such as efforts to get a gun, as well as other disturbing behaviors not related to the subsequent attack. In one case, the student’s English teacher became concerned about several poems and essays that the student submitted for class assignments because they treated the themes of homicide and suicide as possible solutions to his feelings of despair. In another case, the student worried his friends by talking frequently about plans to put rat poison in the cheese shakers at a popular pizza establishment. A friend of that student became so concerned that the student was going to carry out the rat poison plan, that the friend got out of bed late one night and left his house in search of his mother, who was not home at the time, to ask her what to do.

The Final Report and Findings of the Safe Schools Initiative


Glen said...

You might appreciate this.

Catherine Johnson said...

oh my gosh Glen - I just saw this comment!

(After I posted "Mother of Adam Lanza.")

Yes, I sure did appreciate it - thank you.

My own personal horror story in this realm concerns a woman in town who adopted children from another country after raising her own kids.

The children she adopted turned out to have severe problems, and one of the two - the girl - is dangerous.

She tried to set her parents' house on fire, and she may have made a more direct attempt on her parents' lives as well, beyond the fire. (I don't remember now.)

The parents are now divorced - and this is a long lasting marriage that was not in any kind of trouble that I know of when the couple adopted the children.

Now they are divorced and the mother is going into hiding.

When I spoke to her last, the daughter was in prison but the mother believed that once the girl was released she would come back to kill her mother.

btw, I knew the daughter a little bit, from field trips. She was sweet -- and took a shine to me. She would follow me around and tell me about things. I would never, ever have imagined or predicted what occurred later on.

With that child, there was something ***wrong*** that no one could fix, and that prison does not address, not least because this young woman has to hurt someone badly before she is removed from the community.