Fort Hood Shooting, Government Systems are Failing Us!

Current Government Systems are Failing Us:

Current systems in place to identify and manage individuals like Major Nidal Malik Hasan, whose massacre took the lives of 13 soldiers and wounded 29 others, are not working! 

How can anyone make this statement?  Months before the shooting, two Terrorism Task Forces evaluated Major Hasan, one had Department of Defense oversight; the other had FBI oversight, additionally, the CIA is also reported as reviewing his behavior, all failed!  Since Terrorism Task Forces fall under the general purview of Homeland Security, every system that we have in place to identify and manage these threats to our Nation have failed us; and these systems will continue to fail us because they are utilizing the wrong approach.

Mental Health Resources are Failing Us:

We repeatedly hear that Major Hasan had PTSD or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, a form of mental illness.  Although this may be true, using mental health resources as a means to identify these threats of aggression have repeatedly failed us.  The Report to the President on Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy, June 13, 2007 states, “Most people who are violent do not have a mental illness, and most people who have mental illness are not violent.”  “Those with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence, not perpetrators.” In fact, according to U.S. News, August 20, 2009, Virginia Tech’s staff evaluated Seung-Hui Cho more than a year before he killed 32 people, himself and wounding 25 others in that fateful 2007 rampage.  In three separate interactions with the school’s counseling center at the end of 2005, the staff found the Virginia Tech killer, Mr. Cho, to be depressed and anxious but not at risk of hurting himself or others, according to the center’s records.

Isolating Aggressive Behavior and Judging on Its Merits:

Until we isolate aggressive behavior and judge it on its merits, will we be unable to identify, measure and thereby manage emerging aggressive behavior.  According to the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education’s report on Targeted Violence in Schools, there is a significant difference between “profiling” and identifying and measuring emerging aggression; their study found, “The use of profiles is not effective either for identifying students who may pose a risk for targeted violence at school or – once a student has been identified – for assessing the risk that a particular student may pose for school-based targeted violence.”  It continues; “An inquiry should focus instead on a student’s behaviors and communications to determine if the student appears to be planning or preparing for an attack.”  Assessing objective, culturally neutral, distinct body language, behavioral and communication indicators of emerging aggression is the only effective means to identify and management the threat posed by individuals like Major Hasan. 

The Government Continues to Fail Us:

Until now, government has relied on adrenaline-driven aggression (Primal Aggression) to identify an emerging aggressor.  This has failed because it represents an individual who is losing control and who ultimately may lose complete control and attack their victim.  Generated by anxiety, fear, anger, frustration, etc. too often our government in airport security accosts the 85 year old woman going to her late husband’s funeral because she is gripped with anxiety, fear and frustration; yet, airport security continues to use Deception Detection, a system long determined to be inadequate. Different cultures deceive differently and since there are over two thousand cultures, Deception Detection requires far too much sophistication for most to use effectively and therefore it is prone to apply stereotyping, becoming an immediate target of civil libertarians. A failed system out of the box, yet our government continues to use it. 

The only effective means of identifying an individual like Major Hasan:

The only effective means of identifying an individual like Major Hasan is to measure “Hostile Intent” or Cognitive Aggression. Furthermore, Government programs are founded mostly on engagement methods like Conflict Resolution, which presupposes conflict; you are already reacting, you are already past any opportunity to prevent conflict. Additionally, as there are individuals who express their Conflict with violence, if Government truly wants to prevent violence they must first prevent Conflict.  Whether, Conflict, Bullying, Harassment, Assaultive and ultimately Murder/Suicide, the same circumstances apply.  The only effective means to get-out-in-front of any incident is to utilize a continuum of intent-driven Cognitive Aggression, i.e., learning and applying the precursors to an act of violence with objective, culturally neutral, distinct body language, behavioral and communication indicators of emerging aggression.

The Solution can be found in the Cognitive Aggression Continuum:

Here I offer, for your review, one of eight columns of our Cognitive Aggression Continuum, which generates a Meter of Hostile Intent or Aggressionometer illustrating a threat level as Mild, Moderate, Elevated, Severe or Extreme. 

Reading from the bottom, you first find the benign baseline of natural behavior that every venue provides.  Each subsequent higher level illustrates the escalating behavior of an intent-driven Cognitive Aggressor and offers us multiple opportunities to engage this perpetrator of Cognitive Aggression and effectively manage his or her behavior. Finally, as an individual achieves the ultimate objective of, “Giving up their life for a cause,” their body responds by losing animation.  Consider any photo or video of a committed suicide bomber or perpetrator of murder/suicide, like Seung-Hui Cho of Virginia Tech and you will witness the “thousand-yard stare” and a full body and behavioral loss of animation, that the Israelis call the “walking dead.”  This is how we identify future Major Hasans before they reach that horrific Moment of Commitment when they reach for their weapon and begin firing.  


RATING

BEHAVIOR

“Tactical”

9

Extreme

 Vicious attacks against enemy

Suicidal behavior — takes self-destructive action to destroy the enemy

8

Severe

Attempting to breach security,  makes vicious attacks to the enemy’s vital areas

7

Surveillance activity, Probing security response

Sees victim as the “enemy”, Self-inflicted injury

6

Elevated

Questions about security,  presents the ultimatum,  self-injurious behavior

5

Moderate

Unmasks his victim as an enemy

4

Activity deviates from baseline, verbally attacks the victim’s core identities

3

Mild

Appears detached and self absorbed

2

Distrustful, obstructionist,  fixated on his view

1

Distant, lacking understanding & empathy

0

Activity consistent with baseline

 
For more information, contact John Byrnes at 407-718-5637 or JohnByrnes@AggressionManagement.com

26 Comments

  1. John D. Byrnes

    Hello, Arthur-

    Yes, the United States Government failed us and the poor murdered and wounded soldiers on many levels, virtually every agency looked at Major Hasan and deemed him not to be a threat to himself or others.  However, if we try to profile this man, we too will fail.  A study conducted by the US Secret Service determined that profiling does not work!  What it does is it tell us that within a certain group of individuals there is a greater probability of a Shooter/Terrorist; however, it does not tell us who the next Shooter/Terrorist is! What this study demonstrated is that if we wish to identify a Shooter prior to their Moment of Commitment (When they reach for their weapons and begin firing) we will need to identify a person who is “planning or preparing for an attack,” in other words we must identify “emerging” aggression, which has been the basis of our work for the past 15 years.  I hope this helps.

  2. awarthurhu

    wonder how your system would work on Duane Reasoner, the 18 yr old jihadi in training who was buddies with Hasan, and bascially condoned the shootings, and still has access to Fort Hood, along with his parents.

  3. John D Byrnes

    We have nine levels of Cognitive (intent-driven) Aggression, Arthur-

    The ninth (Highest) level is represented by the murder/suicide, the eighth level is represented by the murderer and the seventh level is represented by the complicit tactician or in this sense the accomplice. Each have their own body language and behavior that defines them.  I would think that Duane Reasoner, like a terrorist handler, etc would be seen as an seventh level Cognitive Aggressor.

  4. I do not accept ‘official’ government statements as it relates to the different agencies that supposedly ‘looked’ at Major Nidal Malik Hasan prior to ‘his’ taking out his aggression on American Soldiers.

    If his ‘aggression’ is the only aspect in this incredible destruction of life is the only part of this people want to examine to prevent carnage like this from happening again, I would say fine, but at the same time then, people are not interested in going into the far deeper reasons behind the attack on Fort Hood.

    First of all, it was an extremely elaborate operation involving an ‘operation and tactics’ team that accepted the operation for the hit with a reward to humiliate the US Military and the people who did this have upset some very capable people.

    Second, the only way to understand how this event was structured many months in advance and how it was carried out, it is imperative this blog linked here be utilized as a source for economic forensics research into these attacks where aggression is a only a corollary aspect.

  5. Bugger the Panda

    I have just stumbled into your blog and thence website by accident and even as I type I a not sure what circuitous route I took.

    So I have bookmarked both.

    Reading into your Metre of Hostile Intent I can recognise, absolutely, James Gordon Brown the UK Prime Minister.

    How any World or regional “leaders” could be well placed well to the top of this scale nevermind Captains of Industry?

  6. Bugger the Panda

    I have just stumbled into your blog and thence website by accident and even as I type I a not sure what circuitous route I took.

    So I have bookmarked both.

    Reading into your Metre of Hostile Intent I can recognise, absolutely, James Gordon Brown the UK Prime Minister.

    How any World or regional “leaders” could be well placed well to the top of this scale nevermind Captains of Industry?

  7. The assertion that we can never profile endlessly frustrates me. As your article documents, the Cognitive Aggressive Continuum is effective indicator of emerging aggression. Why we continue to deny ourselves such tools in the name of political correctness is beyond me.

  8. John D. Byrnes

    Identifying emerging aggression by virtue of the Primal and Cognitive Aggression Continua by its methodology is not profiling. 

    Profiling as a methodology is identifying a person’s proclivities to aggress based upon their culture, gender, education, hierarchy in a community, etc.   Profiling tells us that within a certain group of people there is a higher probability of a terrorist.  It does not tell us who the next terrorist is, hence the rub. According to the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education’s report on Targeted Violence in Schools, there is a significant difference between “profiling” and foreseeing emerging aggression; their study concluded, “The use of profiles is not effective either for identifying students who may pose a risk for targeted violence at school or – once a student has been identified – for assessing the risk that a particular student may pose for school-based targeted violence.”  It continues; “An inquiry should focus instead on a student’s behaviors and communications to determine if the student appears to be planning or preparing for an attack.”  Assessing objective, culturally neutral, distinct body language, behavioral and communication indicators of emerging aggression is the only effective means to foresee and prevent the threat posed by any aggressor who intends harm  to others, whether the perpetrators are students or terrorists. 

    In Tel Aviv, Israel, Ben Gurion Airport bridges the gap between “profiling” and protecting their passengers by interrogating every passenger, a method deemed inappropriate at the much busier Boston Logan Airport because no one would make their flights and the Israelis patently stereotype, therefore their system in the US would never pass a challenge by civil libertarians.  Hence the reason the “Israel Method” will not find success in the United States.

    Our government is charged with keeping Americans safe, what they are actually doing is trying to make us feel safe juxtaposed to actually making us safe.

  9. Nicely presented information in this post, I prefer to read this kind of stuff. The quality of content is fine and the conclusion is good. Thanks for the post.

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