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Threats and Predictions of Violence
Q: Your article that appeared recently contained a reference to becoming educated about threats and predictions of violence. After a student at my son's school wrote a ''shoot to kill'' list, I contacted a couple of adolescent psychiatrists to get more information about threats and predictors, but was essentially told there was not enough quantative data available to help forecast when writers of letters take the next step to violence. Do you have any more information?
A: Only a few psychiatrists or psychologists have experience or genuine familiarity with the field of predicting violent behavior. Many elements of society have to evaluate threat letters and develop the best management plan for each case: the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, every Governor's office, U.S. Capitol Police, and on and on. There are strategies for these high-states evaluations that improve predictions and case-management of situations that might escalate to violence.
After Littleton, an Emergency Conference was held in Los Angeles on the very question you ask, and there is a 4-hour video you can get for your own information, and for your local high school. It includes these experts:
For more information, visit my firm's public web site (www.gdbinc.com) and click on Preventing School Shootings.
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Gavin de Becker is widely regarded as the leading U.S. expert on the prediction and management of violence. His work has earned him three Presidential appointments and a position on a congressional committee. He is currently co-chair of the Domestic Violence Council Advisory Board, and a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy.