By Dr. David Charney

I have a friend who is a senior executive in an important Intelligence Community agency who commented on my latest white paper focusing on Prevention. Here’s what he wrote:

“I am very intrigued with the “broadness” of the psychology as you described. I am finding that the “psychological perfect storm” and the “extreme sense of personal failure as privately defined by that person” concepts are very applicable to workplace violence/prevention of mass casualty shooters and insider threats of all types. It is indeed a broad based approach to a vast amount of specific violence prevention issues.

I remember a paper from a training class I had with a Dr. Larry Barton some years ago. I find the NOIR principles at play in the issues studied by Dr. Barton as they relate to workplace violence issues, and a combination of these principles and mitigation strategies would be VERY applicable in the modern day workplace (government and corporate) when dealing with insider threat/workplace violence prevention.

I am actively dealing with that very issue now in my current threat management position. We in society today place very little emphasis on “active shooter” prevention and spend all of our resources and training on “active shooter” response. This is a backwards approach in my mind, as people have to die to implement our “response.” They are all still alive before the violence takes place when we still have the chance to enact “prevention” using your mitigation tools and the associated concepts of management of the human mind.

Mass casualty shooters all start with a decision by one person and no amount of security screening, physical force protection, or other technology will overcome that completely. You have to address the “psychological perfect storm” that the employee is facing up front and early by giving the employee an “exit ramp” before the dead end. That way, they can solve their problems with dignity—because if they lose that last ounce of dignity—they will usually act out in a violent fashion.”

Read part three of the NOIR White Papers: Prevention: The Missing Link for Managing Insider Threat in the Intelligence Community