It has happened again, a Virginia Tech “Near Miss!”

It has happened again, a Virginia Tech “near miss!” at our second largest university, the University of Central Florida (UCF).  Had it not been for one frightened roommate, who called 911, all other means of detection would have failed.   

  1. UCF’s former student, James Oliver Seevakumaran, was housed in an on-campus suite of four rooms and rarely made contact with his roommates. It was only when one roommate found himself in front of Seevakumaran who had an assault weapon that the roommate retreated to a bathroom and call 911. This was the first moment that anyone realized his lethality.

  2. Had Seevakumaran been in a single dorm-room this horrific massacre would likely have occurred.  He had a checklist and as he completed each task, he crossed through it.  His next step was to pull the fire alarm (he did), which would corral the students in one specific area (they did) so he could easily shoot as many as possible.  However, the police arrived and Seevakumaran took his own life with a bullet to the head. 

  3. Seevakumaran had not paid his tuition and housing and therefore was being evicted from his room. His electronic key card no longer worked barring him from the residence, so how did he get in?  His roommates and others buzzed him in!  Security continues to fail us because humans circumvent those controls put in place to protect us.   These security measures may make us feel safe but do they actually make us safe?

  4. He purchased his assault weapon, including the material for four improvised explosive devices online, his ammunition from a local gun range, none of his roommates were aware of these items being brought into the suite of rooms.  UCF sophomore Tori Thorpe said, “People were shocked. They were like “How could he possibly get explosive devices in the room? How did he get the stuff in there?” But I wasn’t surprised at all. There’s nothing. Everyone walks in with bags and duffle bags. No one questions it.”

  5. Grant Heston, Spokesperson for UCF said, “He (Seevakumaran) has never been seen by UCF Counseling Services and never had any conduct issues.” In other words, Seevakumaran never came under the scrutiny of professionals.

  6. Police also said there was no visible motive or manifesto, and he was not involved with any groups that would indicate his lethal intentions.

Once again the protections we put in place to protect us continue to fail because we are looking for motives that we don’t see and means, i.e. weapons and explosives, we don’t detect.  Yet, the one thing that we miss or don’t do well is “identify someone on the path to violence,” the only accepted means of identifying the next shooter.  We, at the Center for Aggression Management, have spent the past 18 years developing our Aggression Continuum and the Meter of Emerging Aggression so as to identify “the next shooter.” This man was a 9th Phase Cognitive Aggressor, “whose goal is to give up his life for a cause;” the most lethal of aggressors and he went unnoticed until just before his attack.  The Meter of Emerging Aggression would have provided 8 precursor-phases of opportunities to have identified this person prior to his reaching this lethal stage of his intentions.  Few will bemoan the loss of this lethal perpetrator but would it not have been a better solution to have had the opportunity to reach out to Seevakumaran prior to his committing suicide?

Learn how to identify someone “on the path to violence,” watch our 3-minute Critical Aggression Prevention System (CAPS) Movie:  

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