The news is filled with stories of horrific violence. It would seem that violence and terrorism is common due to the amount of coverage of these events by the media. In fact, violent crime is down in America, with only rare exceptions.
When should we be concerned? The slogan promoted by the Department of Homeland Security is SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. Do you know what to watch for?
Most acts of violence are preceded by warning signs. The following is a list of warning signs of violence, that though rare, should cause us to take notice if we observe or experience them:
- Threatening, speech, text messages, social media postings. These threats could be direct, implied, or veiled
- Workplace bullying, threats, erratic behavior, bizarre behavior, angry fired employees
- People nursing grudges, perceived injustices, or rejection
- Obsessions with extreme or radical political or religious views
- Preoccupation with violence and violent people
- A person researching means of violence
- Obsession with and access to weapons
- A person that is rapidly deteriorating in their thinking or behavior
- Obsessional Stalking
- Rejected obsessed lovers
- Intimate partner violence
- Cyber threats
- School bullying or other violence, such as fighting
- School threats
- Suicidal attempts or threats, direct, veiled
This is not an exhaustive list. No one of these factors conclusively predicts a person is a danger, however, a combination of these factors significantly increases the risk of violence. Reporting concerning behaviors is saving lives across America. Violent acts are being stopped before they happen because observant citizens are watching out for danger and making appropriate reports.
If you believe a person could be a danger to you or others, SAY SOMETHING. Immediate concerns should be reported to friends and family. Call 911 to report your concerns.
Also, tips can be reported to the local field office of the FBI in Oklahoma City at (405) 290-7770.
If a threat involves a student, or a threat is made toward students or a school, contact the Administration of that school directly, as well as calling 911. Also, a national online reporting system takes anonymous tips online at: www.saysomething.net. This system is operated by Sandy Hook Promise, a national non-profit organization.
If you are concerned about an eminent threat, call these options until someone will listen.
For more information on preventing violence see the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) at: https://www.secretservice.gov/protection/ntac/
If you have been traumatized by violence, or threats of violence, contact a mental health professional specializing in trauma and threat assessment and management.
If you would like further training for your organization, please contact me:
Written by Dale R. Doty, Ph.D.