Home » Violence

Category Archives: Violence

Advertisements

Heart of the Matter

by Brian T. Lynch, MSW

I knew a boy once who had a long red mark on his neck that someone thought was from physical abuse by his father. I talked to the boy. When I asked how he got the mark on his neck, he fell silent. Then he motioned for me to follow him.

He brought me outside to a shed in the back yard and opened the door. He pointed to a piece of rope on the floor and said,”I tried to hang myself, but the rope broke,” I put my hand on his shoulder as we both just stared at the rope.

I went back to the house to speak with his dad, The man clearly loved his son. He said he just wanted his boy to grow up “the right way.” He admitted he yelled a lot, but said he would never touch is son because of the way his own dad had beaten as a child.

I asked the father to show me his scars from those beatings. He pointed to his heart and said, “They are all here inside me.”

“That,” I said, “is where your son’s scars are as well.” Then I told him how his son got the mark on his neck. The man called his son into the room, grabbed him in a hug and wept. The scars that harm us most are almost always the ones no one else can see.

Advertisements

Police Involved Homicides – Where’s Our Outrage?

by Brian T. Lynch, MSW

Here’s a very disturbing story that has not been reported in the national press. You may not have heard about this even though it has been happening for decades.

There is a growing number of African-American men infiltrating local police departments and abusing their authority to intimidate predominately white men within their communities. Some of these black officers are bulking up on steroids. In some cases these black cops are affiliated with Black Power movements. These rogue officers of color are stopping and harassing white men on the street, frisking them without cause or illegally searching their cars. When white citizens object or complain, these black cops turn hostile and become aggressive. Hesitate to comply with an order and these innocent detainees are taken down, handcuffed and arrested. Any further resistance or any small suspicion that these guys are armed leads to the threat or use of deadly force.

In March of 2004 the US Department of Justice issued a report on the use of anabolic steroid abuse by police officers. Reported as specific concerns related to the psychological side effects anabolic steroid use were these:

  • · Mood swings (including manic-like symptoms leading to violence)
  • · Impaired judgment (stemming from feelings of invincibility)
  • · Depression
  • · Nervousness
  • · Extreme irritability
  • · Delusions
  • · Hostility and aggression

The infiltration of American police departments by radical racist cops was document by the FBI in a report and warning written in October of 2006. The report’s release was held up by Congress for years out of fear of the political repercussions.

And despite the growing number of police involved homicides of civilians every year, the FBI is unable to keep accurate statistics on how many white citizens are being killed by overly aggressive black cops. By some non-government sources the number is as high as 600 deaths per year.

Where is our outrage? Where is the media? Why aren’t government officials putting a stop to this carnage? Why aren’t they holding these black cops accountable for the deaths of hundreds of innocent white men every year?

If this reporting shocks you or doesn’t sound familiar, then you are among the millions of American’s who aren’t paying attention. If you can’t see the little white lies I told you above, you are part of a much bigger problem.

The white lie above is that it is actually white cops who are actually abusing their authority and victims of abusive policing are disproportionately African-American. The truth is that it is white supremacists that are infiltrating police departments. The rest is all true. It is true that hundreds of innocent black males are killed in police actions every years. It is true that the FBI is not able to collect accurate statistics on civilians killed in police actions in the US because all such reporting is voluntary. And if you didn’t recognize where my story was going, if you thought black cops are killing white civilians, then you just discovered that the media is failing us and government officials aren’t doing all they can to stop this carnage.

If my story above hadn’t contained those few white lies, if white men really were being killed by overly aggressive black cops,  you would lionize a football player sitting down during the National Anthem to call your attention to the problem. You would recognize his courage and commitment.  As it is, the misplaced outrage of sports fans against Colin Kaepernick for his lonely protest is a self indictment of our complacency and callous disregard for our fellow citizens.

Are Domestic Terrorists A Bigger Threat Than Foreign Terrorists

What follows are a series of clips and snippets of articles concerning domestic terrorism and specifically focusing on the Militia movement to which some veterans returning home from war are being recruited. The question put to me by a friend was are these really domestic terrorist groups? I believe it is fair to say that not all militia group are radically anti-government hate groups, but some are. That is my considered opinion. But it is important for all of us to look at the evidence, some of which is presented below, and draw our own conclusions. I would encourage readers to do their own research and post their findings and URL links to the material in the comment section below. – Brian T. Lynch, MSW

______________________________________________

Sovereign citizen movement perceived as top terrorist threat

New study assesses top threats, preparedness among law enforcement

July 30, 2014 Jessica Rivinius

Sovereign citizen, Islamist extremist and militia/patriot groups are perceived by law enforcement agencies to pose the greatest threats to their communities, according to a new START study.  While sovereign citizens were the top concern of law enforcement, assessments about whether most groups were a serious terrorist threat actually declined for most groups (e.g., the KKK; Christian Identity; Neo-Nazis; Racist Skinheads; Environmental Extremists; Animal Rights Extremists) when compared to a previous study.

START researchers David CarterSteven ChermakJeremy Carter and Jack Drew recently conducted in-depth surveys with more than 364 officers representing 175 state, local and tribal (SLT) law enforcement agencies to examine perceptions of: the threat of terrorism; the nature of information-sharing; and whether agencies are prepared to deal with terrorist attacks. Their results are published in “Understanding Law Enforcement Intelligence Processes,” available on START’s website.

The Daily Banter – Militias And Sovereign Citizen Groups Are A Greater Combined Terror Threat Than Islamic Jihad

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)reported that law enforcement officials no longer consider Islamic terrorists as the number one source of terrorism inside the U.S. According to the study, the top three most critical terrorist threats in 2013-14 are: 3) Militia / Patriot groups, 2) Islamic Extremists/Jihadists, and 1) Sovereign Citizen groups. (Rounding out the top five are skinheads at #4 and neo-Nazis at #5. Incidentally, these two groups predominantly represented the “right-wing extremists” in Homeland Security’s outrage-inducing report about domestic terrorism. Odd that so many run-of-the-mill conservatives were upset about Nazis and skinheads being labeled terrorists.)

That’s right, the Militia/Patriot movement and the Sovereign Citizen groups are viewed by law enforcement officials as a greater combined domestic threat than Islamic terrorists. And by the way, it’s important to reiterate that this isn’t a poll of random people, not unlike Gallup or any of the other outfits. The nonpartisan START researchers surveyed 364 law enforcement officers from 175 agencies.

http://thedailybanter.com/2014/08/militias-sovereign-citizen-groups-greater-combined-terror-threat-islamic-jihad/

Anti-Defimation League – Are militia groups dangerous?

From its beginnings, a large amount of criminal activity has been associated with the militia movement. A number of members have been arrested on weapons, explosives, or conspiracy charges, among others. These arrests continue to the current day. So physically the movement remains dangerous, although obviously no one can be painted as a would-be terrorist simply because they belong to a militia group.

There are dangers other than direct physical dangers, of course. The militia movement is a very anti-government movement which advocates taking the law (and a very particular vision of the law, at that) into its own hands. It is not only heavily armed, but it preaches an extreme anti-government rhetoric filled with wild conspiracy theories. In addition, although the main emphasis of the militia movement is anti-government in nature, a number of people in the movement are also white supremacists and/or anti-Semites (esp. Christian Identity), and this is obviously an area of concern.

http://archive.adl.org/mcveigh/faq.html#.U-F9WPldUhs

FBI – Domestic Terrorism
Focus on Militia Extremism

Last March, nine members of an extremist militia group were charged in Michigan with seditious conspiracy and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction in connection with an alleged plot to attack law enforcement and spark an uprising against the government.

According to the federal indictment, the nine individuals planned to kill a law enforcement officer and then use bombs to attack the caravan of cars taking part in the subsequent funeral procession, hoping that this violence would incite a larger armed conflict with authorities. Fortunately, the FBI and the Michigan State Police intervened and took the subjects into custody before they could carry out their alleged plot.

It’s just one example of the dangers posed by so-called militia extremists—the latest topic in our series to educate the nation on domestic terror threats that the FBI investigates today. Previous stories have focused on anarchist extremistseco-terrorists/animal rights extremistslone offenders, and sovereign citizen extremists.

Who they are. Like many domestic terrorism groups, militia extremists are anti-government. What sets them apart is that they’re often organized into paramilitary groups that follow a military-style rank hierarchy. They tend to stockpile illegal weapons and ammunition, trying illegally to get their hands on fully automatic firearms or attempting to convert weapons to fully automatic. They also try to buy or manufacture improvised explosive devices and typically engage in wilderness, survival, or other paramilitary training

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/september/militia_092211

Southern Poverty Law Center – Violence and Criminal Activity of Militia Groups

from 1995 – 2011

The following are clear examples of incidents involving militia movement members or former members.

November 9, 1995

Oklahoma Constitutional Militia leader Willie Ray Lampley, his wife Cecilia and another man, John Dare Baird, are arrested as they prepare explosives to bomb numerous targets, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, gay bars and abortion clinics. The three, along with another suspect arrested later, are sentenced to terms of up to 11 years in 1996. Cecilia Lampley is released in 2000, while Baird and Willie Lampley — who wrote letters from prison urging others to violence — are freed in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

November 9, 1995

Oklahoma Constitutional Militia leader Willie Ray Lampley, his wife Cecilia and another man, John Dare Baird, are arrested as they prepare explosives to bomb numerous targets, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, gay bars and abortion clinics. The three, along with another suspect arrested later, are sentenced to terms of up to 11 years in 1996. Cecilia Lampley is released in 2000, while Baird and Willie Lampley — who wrote letters from prison urging others to violence — are freed in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

July 1, 1996

Twelve members of an Arizona militia group called the Viper Team are arrested on federal conspiracy, weapons and explosive charges after allegedly surveilling and videotaping government buildings as potential targets. All 12 plead guilty or are convicted of various charges, drawing sentences of up to nine years in prison. The plot participants are all released in subsequent years. Gary Curds Baer, who drew the heaviest sentence after being found with 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate, a bomb component, is freed in May 2004.

July 29, 1996

Washington State Militia leader John Pitner and seven others are arrested on weapons and explosives charges in connection with a plot to build pipe bombs to resist a feared invasion by the United Nations. Pitner and four others are convicted on weapons charges, while conspiracy charges against all eight end in a mistrial. Pitner is later retried on that charge, convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. He is released in 2001

October 11, 1996

Seven members of the Mountaineer Militia are arrested in a plot to blow up the FBI’s national fingerprint records center, where 1,000 people work, in West Virginia. In 1998, leader Floyd “Ray” Looker is sentenced to 18 years in prison. He is released in June 2012. Two other defendants are sentenced on explosives charges and a third draws a year in prison for providing blueprints of the FBI facility to Looker, who then sold them to a government informant who was posing as a terrorist.

March 26, 1997


Militia activist Brendon Blasz is arrested in Kalamazoo, Mich., and charged with making pipe bombs and other illegal explosives. Prosecutors say Blasz plotted to bomb the federal building in Battle Creek, the IRS building in Portage, a Kalamazoo television station and federal armories. But they recommend leniency on his explosives conviction after Blasz, a member of the Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines, renounces his antigovernment beliefs and cooperates with them. He is sentenced to more than three years in federal prison and released in late 1999.

April 27, 1997

After a cache of explosives stored in a tree blows up near Yuba City, Calif., police arrest Montana Freemen supporter William Robert Goehler. Investigators looking into the blast arrest two Goehler associates, one of them a militia leader, after finding 500 pounds of explosives — enough to level three city blocks — in a motor home parked outside their residence. Six others are arrested on related charges. Goehler, with previous convictions for rape, burglary and assault, is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He is later accused of stabbing his attorney with a shank and charged with attacking prison psychologists.

July 4, 1997

Militiaman Bradley Playford Glover and another heavily armed antigovernment activist are arrested before dawn near Fort Hood, in central Texas, just hours before they planned to invade the Army base and slaughter foreign troops they mistakenly believed were housed there. In the next few days, five other people are arrested in several states for their alleged roles in the plot to invade a series of military bases where the group believes United Nations forces are massing for an assault on Americans. All seven are part of a splinter group from the Third Continental Congress, a kind of militia government-in-waiting. In the end, Glover is sentenced to two years on Kansas weapons charges, to be followed by a five-year federal term in connection with the Fort Hood plot. The others draw lesser terms. Glover is released in 2003, the last of the seven to get out.

March 18, 1998

Three members of the North American Militia of Southwestern Michigan are arrested on firearms and other charges. Prosecutors say the men conspired to bomb federal buildings, a Kalamazoo television station and an interstate highway interchange, kill federal agents, assassinate politicians and attack aircraft at a National Guard base — attacks that were all to be funded by marijuana sales. The group’s leader, Ken Carter, is a self-described member of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations. Carter pleads guilty, testifies against his former comrades, and is sentenced to five years in prison. The others, Randy Graham and Bradford Metcalf, go to trial and are ultimately handed sentences of 40 and 55 years, respectively. Carter is released from prison in 2002.

December 5, 1999

Two California men, both members of the San Joaquin Militia, are charged with conspiracy in connection with a plot to blow up two 12-million-gallon propane tanks, a television tower and an electrical substation in hopes of provoking an insurrection. In 2001, the former militia leader, Donald Rudolph, pleads guilty to plotting to kill a federal judge and blow up the propane tanks, and testifies against his former comrades. Kevin Ray Patterson and Charles Dennis Kiles are ultimately convicted of several charges in connection with the conspiracy. In 2002, Patterson is sentenced to 24 years and five months in prison; Kiles to 22 years.

December 8, 1999

Donald Beauregard, head of a militia coalition known as the Southeastern States Alliance, is charged with conspiracy, providing materials for a terrorist act and gun violations in a plot to bomb energy facilities and cause power outages in Florida and Georgia. After pleading guilty to several charges, Beauregard, who once claimed to have discovered a secret map detailing a planned UN takeover mistakenly printed on a box of Trix cereal, is sentenced to five years in federal prison. He is released in 2004, a year after accomplice James Troy Diver is freed following a similar conviction.

March 9, 2000

Federal agents arrest Mark Wayne McCool, the one-time leader of the Texas Militia and Combined Action Program, as he allegedly makes plans to attack the Houston federal building. McCool, who is arrested after buying powerful C-4 plastic explosives and an automatic weapon from an undercover FBI agent, earlier plotted to attack the federal building with a member of his own group and a member of the antigovernment Republic of Texas, but those two men eventually abandoned the plot. McCool, however, remained convinced the UN had stored a cache of military materiel in the building. In the end, he pleads guilty to federal charges that bring him just six months in jail.

February 8, 2002

The leader of a militia-like group known as Project 7 and his girlfriend are arrested after an informant tells police the group is plotting to kill judges and law enforcement officers in order to kick off a revolution. David Burgert, who has a record for burglary and is already wanted for assaulting police officers, is found in the house of girlfriend Tracy Brockway along with an arsenal that includes pipe bombs and 25,000 rounds of ammunition. Also found are “intel sheets” with personal information about law enforcement officers, their spouses and children. Although officials are convinced the Project 7 plot was real, Burgert ultimately is convicted only of weapons charges, draws a seven-year sentence and is released in March 2010. Six others are also convicted of, or plead guilty to, weapons charges. Brockway gets a suspended sentence for harboring a fugitive, and is sent to prison for violating its terms. She is released in early 2008. On June 21, 2011, sheriff’s deputies outside Missoula, Mont., stop Burgert on a suspicious vehicle report. Burgert leads them on a pursuit and fires multiple rounds at the deputies before fleeing on foot. He is wanted on two counts of attempted murder for the shootout, and his current whereabouts are unknown.

October 10, 2003

Police arrest Norman Somerville after finding a huge weapons cache on his property in northern Michigan that includes six machine guns, a powerful anti-aircraft gun, thousands of rounds of ammunition, hundreds of pounds of gunpowder, and an underground bunker. They also find two vehicles Somerville calls his “war wagons,” and on which prosecutors later say he planned to mount machine guns as part of a plan to stage an auto accident and then massacre arriving police. Officials describe Somerville as an antigovernment extremist enraged over the death of Scott Woodring, a Michigan Militia member killed by police a week after Woodring shot and killed a state trooper during a standoff. Somerville eventually pleads guilty to weapons charges and is sentenced to six years in prison. He is released in August 2009.

April 26, 2007

Five members of the Alabama Free Militia are arrested in north Alabama in a raid by federal and state law enforcement officers that uncovers a cache of 130 homemade hand grenades, an improvised grenade launcher, a Sten Mark submachine gun, a silencer, 2,500 rounds of ammunition and almost 100 marijuana plants. Raymond Kirk Dillard, the founder and “commander” of the group, pleads guilty to criminal conspiracy, illegally making and possessing destructive devices and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Other members of the group — Bonnell “Buster” Hughes, James Ray McElroy, Adam Lynn Cunningham and Randall Garrett Cole— also plead guilty to related charges. Although Dillard, who complained about the collapse of the American economy, terrorist attacks and Mexicans taking over the country, reportedly told his troops to open fire on federal agents if ever confronted, no shots are fired during the April raid, and the “commander” even points out booby-trap tripwires on his property to investigators. Dillard draws the harshest sentence, and is released in May 2012. Cole is released in December 2009; Cunningham in June 2009; Hughes in January 2009; and McElroy in August 2010.

June 8, 2008

Six people, most of them tied to the militia movement, are arrested in rural north-central Pennsylvania after officials find stockpiles of assault rifles, improvised explosives and homemade weapons, at least some of them apparently intended for use in terrorist attacks on U.S. officials. Agents find 16 homemade bombs during a search of the residence of Pennsylvania Citizens Militia recruiter Bradley T. Kahle, who allegedly tells authorities that he intended to shoot black people from a rooftop in Pittsburgh and also predicts civil war if either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is elected president. A raid on the property of Morgan Jones results in the seizure of 73 weapons, including a homemade flame thrower, a machine that supposedly shot bolts of electricity, and an improvised cannon. Also arrested and charged with weapons violations are Marvin E. Hall, his girlfriend Melissa Huet and Perry Landis, who allegedly tells undercover agents he wanted to kill Gov. Ed Rendell. Landis is sentenced in 2009 to time served plus two years of supervised release. Hall is sentenced in January 2010 to time served with three years of probation. Huet spends years trying to get the charges against her – helping a convicted felon possess a firearm – dismissed. In July 2013, federal prosecutors drop gun charges against her.

June 12, 2009

Shawna Forde — the executive director of Minutemen American Defense (MAD), an anti-immigrant vigilante group that conducts “citizen patrols” on the Arizona-Mexico border — is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for her role in the slayings of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter in Arivaca, Ariz. Forde orchestrated the May 30 home invasion because she believed the man was a narcotics trafficker and wanted to steal drugs and cash to fund her group. Authorities say the murders, including the killing of the child, were part of the plan. Also arrested and charged with murder are the alleged triggerman, MAD Operations Director Jason Eugene “Gunny” Bush, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, a local member of MAD. Authorities say that Bush had ties to the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations in Idaho, and that Forde has spoken of recruiting its members. Forde is sentenced to death in February 2011, and Bush is sentenced to death in April 2011. Gaxiola is sentenced to life in prison.

March 27-28, 2010

Nine members of the Hutaree Militia are arrested in raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, and are charged with seditious conspiracy and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction. The group, whose website said it was preparing for the imminent arrival of the anti-Christ, allegedly planned to murder a Michigan police officer, then use bombs and homemade missiles to kill other officers attending the funeral, all in a bid to set off a war with the government. Joshua Clough pleads guilty to a weapons charge in December 2011. A federal judge dismisses charges against seven members of the group during a trial in March 2012, saying their hatred of law enforcement did not amount to a conspiracy. Militia leader David Stone and his son Joshua Stone plead guilty to gun charges two days after the trial. In August 2012, a federal judge chooses not to send the Stones back to prison. They are each fined $100 and placed on two years’ supervision. Another member, Jacob Ward, is acquitted in 2012.

November 1, 2011

Four members of an unnamed North Georgia militia are arrested in an alleged plot to bomb federal buildings, attack Atlanta and other cities with deadly ricin, and murder law enforcement officials. The men – Frederick Thomas, 73, Samuel J. Crump, 68, Dan Roberts, 67, and Ray H. Adams, 65 – allegedly discussed “taking out” a list of officials to “make the country right again” and scouted buildings in Atlanta to bomb. Authorities say the plot was inspired by an online novel, Absolved, written by longtime Alabama militiaman Mike Vanderboegh. Thomas, the accused ringleader, and Roberts plead guilty in April 2012 to charges of conspiring to possess explosives and firearms. Each is sentenced in August 2012 to five years in federal prison for conspiring to obtain an unregistered explosive device. Crump and Adams are convicted in January 2014 of conspiring to produce a toxic agent to poison government officials.

December 10, 2011

Four Army soldiers at Fort Stewart, Ga., later identified as members of the terror group Forever Enduring, Always Ready (FEAR), are arrested in the murder of 19-year-old former soldier and FEAR member Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York. The two were apparently killed because FEAR leader Isaac Aguigui, 22, feared Roark would talk about the group’s plans to take over the Army base, overthrow the government, assassinate a future president, and blow up a dam and poison the apple crop in the state of Washington. Pfc. Aguigui funded the group, buying $87,000 in weapons and a large amount of drugs with a $500,000 insurance payment he received after the death of his pregnant wife. Pfc. Michael Burnett pleads guilty and agrees to testify against his FEAR comrades. In 2012, seven more people are arrested in connection with FEAR’s activities. In April 2013, the Army charges Aguigui with killing his wife, whose death was initially ruled accidental, and their unborn child. In July 2013, Aguigui pleads guilty in the murders of York and Roark, and is sentenced to life in prison. Two other soldiers, Pvt. Christopher Salmon and Sgt. Anthony Peden, are expected to be tried in the double murder in 2014. A court martial for Aguigui in his family’s death was also expected

The Dark Side of Saudi Petro-dollars

Did you know that the Syrian government has agreed to send peace envoys to Geneva?  According to Robert Parry at Consortium News, the problem is that the rebels have refused to negotiate. Some rebel groups are insisting on a long list of unacceptable preconditions. On the surface, according to Parry, ” The real problem seems to be how divided the Syrian opposition is, with schisms from pro-democracy moderates to violent jihadists including some who film themselves eating the internal organs of dead Syrian soldiers and executing defenseless captives. ” But the underlying problem is actually, “… the obstruction from al-Qaeda-connected jihadists who are beholden for their military and financial support to Saudi Arabia and other oil sheikdoms operating under Saudi Arabia’s political/diplomatic wing.” Consortiumnew –  http://j.mp/1gWqrfv

SaudiPetro

Photo: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2010/01/13/76933/foreign-oil-tea/

The scope and depravity of Saudi sponsored violence in the world is enormous and yet hard to spot. It surfaced on July 31st in Moscow when Prince Bandar in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, offered to protect next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi from terrorist attack if Russia agreed to end support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The offer by Bandar came with inducements as well. What amounted to a diplomatic shake down angered Putin, who believes that Saudi oil money is already helping to finance Chechnyan terrorist that target innocent Russian civilians. http://j.mp/14DEu7w

Saudi oil money seems to turn up in many places where terrorist violence stains the ground with blood from innocent civilians. In a recent piece in the Vancouver Sun, Jonathan Manthrope wrote:   “The ultimate responsibility for recent atrocities like the Boston Marathon bombing and the butchering last week of an off-duty British soldier is very clear. It belongs to Saudi Arabia. Over more than two decades, Saudi Arabia has lavished around $100 billion or more on the worldwide promotion of the violent, intolerant and crudely puritanical Wahhabist sect of Islam that the ruling royal family espouses. http://j.mp/1b26280

Saudi Arabian petro dollars are bankrolling global terrorism, but the actual funding transactions within the country are complex, filled with shadowy connections and courtyard intrigue. The following diplomatic cable obtained and released by Wikileaks provide a glimpse of the inside game:

:… one leaked cable sent by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December 2009 noted that “it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.” It adds: “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide” — running into millions of dollars. “Riyadh has taken only limited action to disrupt fundraising for the UN 1267-listed Taliban and LeT-groups that are also aligned with al-Qaeda,” the cable from Clinton says.”  CNN – http://j.mp/1fy6RIP

The record of Saudi funded global terrorism is clear even if it isn’t well publicized in the press. The strategic importance of Saudi Arabia for US interests in the region is hard to overstate. And then there are the political connections between Prince Bantar and moneyed interests here and abroad, including a long friendship with the Bush family. The Syrian sponsored news organizations portray the Bush family connection in an extreme and self-serving conspiratorial way. http://j.mp/14DHhgM

It doesn’t require a conspiratorial mentality to see that Saudi Arabia is complicit in supporting global terrorism.  They are dealing from both sides of the deck. Even so the Saudi’s receive special treatment from the US and our allies. It is time for a clear-eyed reassessment of our relationships. If we want the global bloodshed to end and diplomacy to succeed in the world, the Saudi regime must terminate it’s financial support for global terror.

New Study – Sword Violence at an All Time Low

by Brian T. Lynch, MSW

A new study released by the O.K. Institute of Lake Woebegone, Minnesota, confirms that the rate of injury or death by swords continues to be exceeding rare in the 21st century. Once the leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults, both the incidents of sword play injury and sword related homicides remain at an all time low as a percentage of the population. In many US cities, even those with extraordinarily high homicide rates, the rate of sword related homicide was nearly zero between 2001 and 2012.

sword

Researchers speculate that the low sword homicide rate may be the result of the present low rate of sword ownership in the United States. Less than one in one-hundred households currently own a sword and fewer than 1 person in 100,000 openly carry a sword. This is in stark contrast to the 18th Century when it is estimated that 1 out of every 20 men owned swords. Sword ownership rates may have been considerably higher in some urban areas where swords were openly carried in the streets for protection.

In their remarkable analysis, the researchers believe they have found a direct correlation between the decline of sword ownership and the decline in sword related deaths. This correlation remained robust even when compensating for variables such as sword safety training, blade size and such demographic differences as age, race, religion and economic status of the sword owners.

A spokesman at the O.K. Institute, speaking on behalf of the researchers, speculates that the results of this study could have practical implications for understanding the current high rate of gun violence in the United States. Further studies will be needed to confirme these results and to explore whether these findings can be generalized to the prevalence of violence by other types of lethal weapons.

[Obviously satirical]

Tragedy in Newtown and Our Changing Culture

The slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut has fundamentally altered the public debate on gun regulations. This change is long overdue.  Ultra-lethal guns are the instruments that make these acts so deadly.  Assault weapons and extra-lethal types of ammunition have no place in our communities. We must have meaningful gun regulations.

We can’t stop there.  The existence of assault weapons alone don’t explain these violent rages.  We concurrently need to strengthen our system of identifying and treating people with mental illness and anti-social conditions. And we need to do this without letting it distract us from pursuing better gun regulations. Effective mental health treatment is incredibly labor intensive. Building helping relationships with other human beings takes time and commitment. It is therefore also expensive.  Decades of budget contraction for mental health services has created a history of having to do more with less which has lead to service gaps and poor outcomes.

But we can’t stop there either. Significant weaknesses in our mental health systems don’t explain societies growing fascination with guns and violence or our loss of empathy towards “others”.  While we press for better gun regulations and improved mental health systems, we need to examine the social factors that are shifting our American cultural in a dangerous direction.

Identifying connections between shifting cultural attitudes and extremely rare events is difficult. Scientific methods are not suited to the study of rare events, yet connections between cultural shifts and extremely rare behaviors are no less real.

This last point is very important.  It is easy for those who oppose change to challenge the influence social factors might have on culture or to manipulate these factors for self-gain.  Whether we are speaking about violent content in video games or the proliferation of guns in American homes, the influence of each on culture is subtle and hard to measure.  We can easily see how being raised in a home where religious values are prominent effects development, but we don’t often consider how social development is influence in homes where deadly weapons are prominent features.  Additionally, it is always difficult to perceive cultural changes as they occur. To help explain why this is so a little though experiment might be helpful.

Start by picturing a normal “bell curve” depicting the aggressive tendencies of every person in the country.  The vast percentage of us would always fall within the normal rage.  The very middle of the bell curve is the median, or average value.  So in this case the middle represents people who have an average level of aggression.  But there are always a few extraordinarily passive or aggressive individuals at the far ends of the bell curve. Statistically, these are called outliers, but if we are plotting aggression, the furthest outliers on the aggressive end might represent those who commit mass murders.

Now, imagine that social conditions shift the national average in a more aggressive direction. The whole bell curve would move slightly in that direction.  Most people within the normal range wouldn’t notice the change.  Their own aggressive tendencies and those of everyone around them would be changing in unison. It’s difficult to perceive change when there is no fixed reference point. What everyone might start to notice, however, is what happens at the statistical extremes. As average levels of aggression increases in society, the frequency of rare acts of violence also increases.

To illustrate this last point, consider an analogy to climate change.  Suppose there was no scientific or public awareness of climate change or its impact on weather prior to Hurricane Katrina or super storm Sandy.  After these events the public might reasonably demand to know why such bad storms are becoming more frequent.  Answering that question by simply studying each storms would not be very fruitful. It could improve our knowledge of the particular weather patterns that produced each storms, but it wouldn’t answer the question of why these preconditions were happening so often.

Fortunately, scientists have been studying climate change for decades, so we know why super storms are becoming more frequent.  We also know how we can respond to this threat even though convincing those with conflicting interests is another matter. It sometimes takes a super storm to form a consensus for action.

The same logic holds true for trying to understand what happened in Newtown, Connecticut.  Studying what made Adam Lanza snap might be helpful from a mental health perspective, but it won’t explain the preconditions in his life.  The killing efficiency of his weapons helps explains why the shooting was so deadly, but it won’t explain why his mother and others are so drawn to deadly weapons. It is our changing attitudes towards guns and violence that we must understand. The study of cultural change is far less advanced than the study of climate change, so we are ill prepared for the challenge.  This needs to change.  In fact, it is clear that we all need to change if we ever hope to end the rash of senseless violence in America.

Mental Health Screening in Schools – In the Wake of Newtown

The horror of the mass killings of six faculty and twenty Sandy Hook Elementary School children is still painfully fresh, but it isn’t too soon to begin thinking about what needs to change to try and prevent this from happening again somewhere else.  Much of the discussion following this tragedy will rightly focus on adopting some sensible gun regulations.  But there are other areas that we need to focus on as well because our propensity for social violence is a broad and multifaceted problem.  Our mental health system is another important area to address.  Particularly with respect to children, our ability to identify and treat behavioral problems and mental illness needs to be strengthened.  One aspect of this involves early mental health screenings.  What follows here is a brief and partial list of articles, studies and references on the topic.    It’s not too soon to start educating ourselves.

American academy of pediatrics

MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS: CAPACITY TO IDENTIFY, REFER, MANAGE

http://www.nationalguidelines.org/guideline.cfm?guideNum=4-06&gn=d2b44dba-4780-430e-bda1-ef0771de7409

Summary: The purpose of Health, Mental Health and Safety Guidelines for Schools is to help those who influence the health and safety of students and school staff while they are in school, on school grounds, on their way to or from school, and involved in school-sponsored activities. The guidelines recognize that the primary mission of schools is to educate students. Schools also have a responsibility for students’ health and safety while they are at school. By addressing health, mental health, and safety issues (including transportation and motor vehicle safety), schools can improve students’ academic performance today and contribute to their increased longevity and productivity long after they leave school.

Excerpt: Early identification of students with, or at risk for, transient or on-going mental disorders, followed by early intervention can mitigate the severity and duration of these problems and reduce personal, social, educational, and financial costs to the student and family and the educational and health systems. Up to three-quarters of U.S. children receiving professional care for a mental health problem obtained services through a school-based program.

Citations: Suggested citation, prior to written publication:
Taras H, Duncan P, Luckenbill D, Robinson J, Wheeler L, Wooley S: Health, Mental Health and Safety Guidelines for Schools. (2004); Available at http://www.schoolhealth.org 

Mental Health Screening in Schools

http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=schools_and_education&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=43074

Summary: This article discusses the importance of screening students in

schools for emotional/behavioral problems.  Elements relevant to planning and implementing effective mental health screening in schools are considered. Screening in schools is linked to a broader national agenda to improve the mental health of children and adolescents. Strategies for systematic planning for mental health screening in schools are presented. Careful planning and implementation of mental

health screening in schools offers a number of benefits including enhancing outreach

and help to youth in need, and mobilizing school and community efforts to promote

student mental health while reducing barriers to their learning. When implemented with appropriate family, school, and community involvement, mental health screening in schools has the potential to be a cornerstone of a transformed mental health system.

Excerpt: “Youth with internalizing disorders such as depression, anxiety, or suicide ideation are not as easily identified as those with acting-out or externalizing disorders. Individuals with internalizing conditions comprise a significant population; the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a nationally representative sample of more than 15,000 high school students throughout the United States, found that in the 12-month period preceding the survey, 16.9% had seriously considered attempting suicide, 16.5% had

made a plan for attempting suicide, 8.5% had attempted suicide 1 or more times, and 2.9% had made an attempt requiring medical attention.

Citation: Weist MD, Rubin M, Moore E, Adelsheim S, Wrobel G. Mental health

screening in schools. J Sch Health. 2007; 77: 53-58.

Screening Mental Health Problems in Schools

http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/policyissues/mhscreeningissues.pdf

Summary:  This brief highlights the following issues:

• How appropriate is large-scale screening for mental health problems?

• Will the costs of large-scale mental health screening programs

outweigh the benefits?

• Are schools an appropriate venue for large-scale screening of mental

health problems?

Excerpt: 

• Advocates for large-scale MH screening in schools see major benefits to individuals and

society of finding many more students with problems in order to treat them before the

problems become severe. In citing benefits for screening children and adolescents, the

assumption is that those identified will receive effective treatments. Based on this

assumption, key benefits claimed are preventing problems from becoming worse and

enhancing student success at school, which generates other benefits for students, their

families, and their teachers and for the society in terms of future productivity and which

reduces costs because there is less need for intensive treatments and special education.

In citing benefits for using schools as a venue for public health programs, as compared to

other community venues, matters of ready access and reduced costs are stressed, as well

as the benefits to schools of having students with problems treated.

• Those who oppose large-scale screening raise a host of concerns (i.e., potential costs). For some, there is a fundamental fear that society will mandate such screening and thereby interfere with what should remain a personal family matter and will violate rights to privacy,  consent, and parental control. Others are concerned that screening will increase referrals for nonexistent treatment resources and that the dollars budgeted for screening will reduce the dollars allocated for treatment. Still others point to the evidence that available screening methods used in schools produce too many errors (e.g., false positive identifications, inappropriate over-identification of subgroups such as some ethnic groups and boys with externalizing problems and girls with internalizing problems). Relatedly, they argue there will be insufficient follow-up assessment resources to correct for false positive identifications.  And, some argue there are significant costs resulting from selffulfilling prophecies and stigmatization.

In arguing against using schools, there is the social philosophical argument that mental

health is one of those matters that should remain a domain for family, not school,

intervention. More pragmatically, it is argued that scarce school time and resources should not be used for matters not directly related to teaching. Others point to the lack of enough competent school personnel to plan, implement, and evaluate large-scale screening.

Examples of documents covering the issues:

Screening Aimed at Preventing Youth Suicide (2005)

by Ellie Ashford for the National School Board Association’s School Board News

http://www.nsba.org/site/print.asp?TRACKID=&VID=55&ACTION=PRINT&CID=682&DID=36189  Provides a quick overview for school boards of some of the controversies and places them in the context of current events.

Screening for Depression: Recommendations and Rationale (2002)

by U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/3rduspstf/depressrr.htm  and

Screening for Suicide Risk: Recommendation and Rationale (2004)

by U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/3rduspstf/suicide/suiciderr.htm

 

Citation: The Center is co-directed by Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor and operates

under the auspices of the School Mental Health Project, Dept. of Psychology, UCLA,

Write: Center for Mental Health in Schools, Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA90095-1563

Phone: (310) 825-3634     Fax: (310) 206-5895    Toll Free: (866) 846-4843

email: smhp@ucla.edu website: http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu

Mental health screening in schools

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17222155

Summary: This article discusses the importance of screening students in schools for emotional/behavioral problems. Elements relevant to planning and implementing effective mental health screening in schools are considered. Screening in schools is linked to a broader national agenda to improve the mental health of children and adolescents. Strategies for systematic planning for mental health screening in schools are presented.

Excerpt: When implemented with appropriate family, school, and community involvement, mental health screening in schools has the potential to be a cornerstone of a transformed mental health system. Screening, as part of a coordinated and comprehensive school mental health program, complements the mission of schools, identifies youth in need, links them to effective services, and contributes to positive educational outcomes valued by families, schools, and communities.

Citations:  Weist MDRubin MMoore EAdelsheim SWrobel G.

Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for School Mental Health Analysis and Action, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. mweist@psych.umaryland.edu

 

Study pushes early identification of kids’ mental health problems

http://www.theday.com/article/20120914/NWS12/120919796/1018

Lisa Chedekel, Conn. Health I-Team Writer

Publication: theday.com

Published 09/14/2012 12:00 AM

Updated 09/15/2012 12:13 AM

Josue, 15, was born to a 12‐year‐old mother. Exposed to domestic violence and abuse, he struggled in school early on and received a special education evaluation in Grade 4 that found weaknesses in reading, math and writing.

By 13, he had been diagnosed with symptoms of bipolar disorder, depression, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. Yet, he started high school with limited support services and ended up suspended from school and referred to the juvenile justice system.

[SNIP]

“Red flags for mental and behavioral health problems are often clear before the end of second grade,” said Andrea Spencer, educational consultant to the Center and dean of the School of Education at PaceUniversity, whose work was funded with a grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation. “It is imperative that we improve screening and identification, so support for these children can be provided before their academic careers are at risk.”

Please go to the above URL address to continue reading.