Glossary of Terms
As educators become more versed in the behavioral intervention, threat assessment and CARE team process to better assess the risk and determine the intervention in a particular case, having an awareness of key terms will prove helpful.
Leakage is the communication to a third party of intent to do harm (Meloy & O'Toole, 2011). In violence risk assessments, there are often opportunities to detect leakage during the initial interview.Targeted violence is rarely spontaneous, and this offers an opportunity for others to overhear or observe potential leakage that could then be used to prevent an attack. The presence of tills kind of leakage prior to an attack gives evidence to support the idea that those who plan this kind of mass-casualty violence often plan, fantasize and talk about the event prior to an attack. Attending to leakage offers an opportunity to thwart a potential assault.
Silo(ing) occurs when departments or individuals hold on to information in isolation without working collaboratively. These isolated communications occur when each department focuses on their own individual mission, policy and rules without seeing themselves as part of a larger, more complex system. Communications that focus primarily on a single department to the detr iment of seeing threat assessment and behavioral intervention as larger, community-based approach are said to be operating in a “silo.” Much like the tall grain silos that are spotted throughout the Midwest, they are single structures serving their function, separated from the larger overall system (Meloy et al., 2011).
Catalyst Events are recent occurrences in the subject’s life that involve a sense of stark change. Some examples would include the death of a parent, the loss of a job, losing a position in an academic program, not making the cut for a sports team, suspension or expulsion from school, failing a pledge to a fraternity or sorority, police charges or loss of an intimate relationship. The danger here is that the catalyst event can become the match to a pool of gasoline, accelerating the movement towards violence (Van Brunt et al., 2017).
Legacy' Tokens are writings or media content prepared by a perpetrator prior to an attack that are typically designed to be found following the attack as a wav to share a message.The legacv token is a manifesto, written text, online blog, video project, piece of art, diary or journal created prior to an attack and left for someone to find after the attack. It clarifies the motives of the attacker or better defines the attacker's message of infamy. A legacy token merits studv bv those involved in violence prevention because it can help them be better prepared to engage with others who intend to harm (Smith, 2007; Van Brunt, 2015b, 2016).
Costuming is the process of creating a persona or mask that defines or hides the true identity of those planning violence. There are two explanations for the type of clothing and accessories mass shooters choose. First, this is an individual who is dressing tactically to complete a mission. Few retailers that sell tactical vests, knee pads, thigh rigs, and harnesses offer colors in red, pink or yellow. Choices are more typically black, olive drab and camouflage. Colors and styles are designed to allow wearers to have easy access to their weapons as well as to blend into surroundings. Shooters choose these items for similar reasons. The second reason shooters outfit themselves in this style of tactical gear is more psychological in nature. Melov refers to this as identification warning behavior (Meloy et al., 2011).
Zero-Tolerance Policies refer to a straightforward separation based on a single incident of weapons possession or violent threat/rhetoric. Simply separating a subject from school or work under the authority of a zero-tolerance policy creates the potential to take an upset, frustrated individual and escalate them into a rage-filled and potentially vengeful attacker. Careful assessment, intervention and monitoring are the tools that are most effective in mitigating threats of violence in the community. While separating a subject from campus or work may give an illusion of safety, there are numerous examples where angry, disgruntled and disempowered individuals came back to campus or the workplace to seek their revenge (O'Toole, 2000; Scalora et al., 2010).
Hardening the Target is the process of making a target more difficult to attack. This occurs when buildings create a single point of entrance, use closed- circuit television cameras (CCTV), build reinforced doors, install automatic locks, create sign in/sign out policies or have armed school resources officers (SROs). Many attackers have shown in their journals that they specifically consider these factors when can ting out an attack.
Objectification and Depersonalization are ways of distancing oneself from a target and are common techniques used to avoid any lasting emotional connection that might distract from completing the mission at hand. Obj ectification and depersonalization are risk factors, as they allow the aggressor to dehumanize the intended victims. The seeing of another as separate from oneself is one of the building blocks necessary prior to carrying out a rampage shooting or another extreme, violent event (Van Brunt, 2012, 2015a).
Trolling is the term for posting or writing concerning content in order to get a reaction from others. Trolling, when it has a threat quality, is predominantly a tr ansient or “howling” type of threat, with little evidence of an intent to complete the action. An example of trolling is the message below, written on a Resident Advisor’s white board at a college (Figure 1.1). This was reported to the BIT / CARE team and
the school attempted to locate the individual to no avail. They offered a program on suicide prevention for the hall and discussed with students the importance of attending to suicide risk, even if it was meant as a poorly crafted joke (Van Brunt & Solomon, 2019).
Affective Violence is the result of a progressive, biologically driven path towards physical violence. It is poorly planned and a reaction to environmental stressors. Affective violence is based upon the primal instinct of fight or flight, fueled bv adrenaline and characterized bv someone losing control and ultimatelv attacking a victim (Grossman & Siddle, 2000; Hart, 199S; Howard, 1999)
Predatory (Instrumental,Targeted, Mission-Oriented) Violence, in its extreme form, is described as an intent-driven, planned attack.This aggression occurs when a subject becomes isolated, disconnected, lacks trust and feels threatened and frustr ated by a perceived attack. They plot and plan their revenge and execute their plans with a militaristic, tactical precision (Van Brunt, 2012). This violence is a result of a planned, intent-driven action that is more commonly exhibited by a subject engaging in mission-oriented, instr umental violence such as a mass shooting (NTAC, 2018). Predatory violence involves a more strategic, focused attack and a desire to complete a mission.