From 3 Sep 2012
From 3 Sep 2012
The indictment of wealthy investor Jeffrey Epstein by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on charges of international sex trafficking and a wider conspiracy to commit such activity has sent shock waves throughout the political, business, and social strata of the United States and other countries.
Epstein’s fleet of private aircraft and numerous residences have law enforcement investigators looking deeply into various activities, over several decades, involving Epstein’s recent and distant past. Moreover, according to police reports, court filings, and witness statements, Epstein’s circle of friends includes some of the most politically important people in the world, including President Donald Trump; former President Bill Clinton; Britain’s Prince Andrew, the Duke of York; and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. All of these VIPs, as well others, have socialized with Epstein, with Trump, in particular, being well-aware of Epstein’s taste in women that were “on the younger side.” In fact, Trump and Epstein were named as co-defendants in a 2016 lawsuit citing the alleged 1994 rape of a 13-year girl at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion. That lawsuit – Jane Doe v. Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump – has received more serious attention now that Epstein, a previously convicted underage sex offender in Florida, has been indicted on federal sex-trafficking charges.
The Epstein connection to the Trump administration also included Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta, the US Attorney for South Florida who, in 2007 and 2008, crafted a federal and state of Florida non-prosecution agreement that immunized Epstein and his associates from any future state or federal prosecutions related to Epstein’s trafficking in underage girls. In return for such a “sweetheart” plea agreement, Epstein merely had to plead guilty to a few charges of soliciting prostitution from underage girls, serve a virtual “open door” jail sentence for thirteen months in Palm Beach County, and agree to register as a sex offender. Questions about Acosta’s role with Epstein and the agreement resulted in his resignation as Labor Secretary. Part of Acosta’s duties as Labor Secretary was the monitoring of the sex trafficking of women and children for prostitution pursuant to US laws and international treaties.
Epstein was returning on his private jet from Paris on July 6 of this year when he was arrested by federal authorities. The international nature of Epstein’s trafficking operations is highlighted by his ownership of two islands off of St. Thomas – Little St. James and Greater St. James – in the US Virgin Islands. Epstein has also maintained residences in Manhattan, Palm Beach, Florida (close to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort complex), and New Mexico. Epstein used a fake Austrian passport issued under an alias. The use of fake or false identity-inserted authentic passports are a specialty of the Mossad, which maintains a “passport factory” in Israel used to produce bogus travel documents. These have been used for Mossad operations in Australia, Dubai, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Costa Rica, India, Thailand, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Britain, France, Turkey, and North Korea. Epstein used his fake Austrian passport to travel to France, Spain (including the Canary Islands), Saudi Arabia, and Britain.
The upper echelons of the Israeli political and intelligence structure also feature prominently in Epstein’s circle of associates and friends. Epstein’s mysterious links to unidentified national security interests were heightened after revelations that Acosta, while he was the US Attorney in Miami, was instructed by higher authority “back off” with regard to the Epstein case because Epstein “belonged to intelligence” and that Acosta should just “leave it alone.”
While the use of sexual blackmail by intelligence agencies is as old as intelligence operations themselves, the use of minors in such “honeytrap” cases in generally in the purview of only a few espionage organizations, the major one being Israel’s Mossad. And in reviewing Epstein’s Israeli connections, there is a very good chance that it was Mossad for whom Epstein was gathering political blackmail.
First, Epstein handled the financial portfolio for Leslie Wexner, the Ohio-based retail store magnate. The Wexner Foundation has made generous grants to Israeli organizations, including scholarships for Israeli government officials to obtain post-graduate degrees from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Second, Epstein’s longtime administrative assistant has been Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the late British media tycoon Robert Maxwell. Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were, for quite some time, habitués of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.
Although there have been a number of allegations concerning Robert Maxwell’s links to various intelligence services, his burial on the revered Mount of Olives in Jerusalem – reserved for loyal servants of Israel – attests to his lifetime of assistance to the Israeli state. In his 1991 eulogy of Maxwell, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir stated Maxwell “has done more for Israel than can today be said.” That loyalty to Israel extended back to the time when Maxwell served not only as a United Kingdom Member of Parliament for the Labor Party but as an insurance policy that Labor would adhere to a pro-Israeli stance. Maxwell and Donald Trump were also close social acquaintances, often see together at events for New York’s high and mighty.
Robert Maxwell maintained a close relationship with the Communist leaders in Eastern Europe. Epstein trafficked in underage girls from Eastern Europe, including from the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, the latter Robert Maxwell’s nation of birth. Epstein’s travels have also taken him to Slovakia, Mexico, South Africa, and Morocco.
Epstein always had a ready supply of money and a lot of it. He used it to buy two islands in the US Virgin Islands and outfit one with a massive mansion and guest houses. Epstein also had a fleet of jets, including a Boeing 727, nicknamed the “Lolita Express,” a Gulfstream IV, a Gulfstream GV, and a helicopter. Epstein built a huge ranch in New Mexico, complete with an aircraft hangar and runway. He also owned an apartment on Avenue Foch, near L’Arc de Triomphe in the most expensive neighborhood of Paris. Epstein’s seven-story townhouse in Manhattan’s Upper East Side was used to entertain the nobility of politics, entertainment, and even science. While some of Epstein’s wealth was undoubtedly made from handling the portfolios for Wexner and investments for the now-defunct Bear Stearns Wall Street securities firm and the late Saudi business tycoon Adnan Khashoggi, the steady stream of Epstein’s finances, during both bull and bear markets on Wall Street, has puzzled financial experts. Epstein’s use of a series of shell companies to move his money around strongly suggests that some of it originated from Israeli intelligence with other cash flows originating from blackmail payments by those implicated in Epstein’s activities.
Epstein’s movement of large amounts of money from the United States to accounts abroad triggered JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank to sever ties with him. Epstein’s movement of funds through Deutsche Bank branches in New York and Jacksonville, Florida during 2015 and 2016 prompted the bank to inform the US Treasury Department through suspicious activity reports. Coincidentally or not, the Jacksonville branch also reported suspicious money movements through Deutsche Bank by Kushner Companies, the firm owned by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and the Trump Organization.
Epstein’s residences were outfitted with sophisticated eavesdropping and camera surveillance systems. Epstein’s Little St. James Island has an island-wide WiFi and mobile phone network that lent itself to eavesdropping on phone calls, emails, and text messages sent and received in the coverage area. In a lawsuit against Epstein filed by one of his many victims, it is alleged that Epstein installed concealed cameras throughout his properties to record sexual activity with underage girls by prominent people for purposes such as blackmail.
On his state visit to London, Trump’s primary chaperone was Prince Andrew. Not only does Andrew feature prominently in Epstein’s circle of friends but Britain continues to recover from the pedophilia activity of longtime BBC entertainer Jimmy Savile. Implicated in Savile’s debauchery over several decades have been Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, former MI-6 Secret Intelligence Service official Sir Peter Hayman, Liberal Democratic MP Cyril Smith, Liberal Party MP Sir Clement Freud (the grandson of famed psychopathologist Sigmund Freud), and Labor Party peer Lord Greville Janner.
There is no arguing that the upper echelons of the British security and intelligence establishment have been rife with pedophiles. The extent to which MI-5 and MI-6 have used such dark proclivities to advance their agendas is up for debate. One thing is known, however. Politicians and media trying to uncover the extent to which pedophiles populate senior positions in government, religion, entertainment, and other sectors is often met with threats. On the other hand, Epstein’s money has, up until recently, ensured silence from the government of the US Virgin Islands, New Mexico, Florida, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
“The Miami Herald” and its reporters and editors who uncovered details of the Epstein case have been threatened. So too have politicians who have pursued Epstein’s political enablers in Florida. Among those threatened has been Florida State Senator Lauren Book. Because of her dogged pursuit of pedophiles in Pennsylvania state government, Commonwealth Attorney General Kathleen Kane was indicted on trumped-up charges, forced to resign from office, and sentenced to prison. The Isle of Jersey’s former health minister, Stuart Syvret, was branded by the media a “conspiracy nutter” for his investigation of child sexual abuse at the Haute de Garenne orphanage on the island. In a 2007 interview with a French magazine, French President Nicolas Sarkozy shocked France by saying he was “inclined to think that people are born pedophiles and that it is also a problem that we do not know how to manage.” There is also the strange matter that the current French President, Emmanuel Macron, began a relationship, while he was 15, with his schoolteacher, who is now his wife and First Lady of France. Even though Epstein was arrested at a New Jersey airport after returning on his private plane from Paris, French authorities have been slow to open an investigation into Epstein’s activities in France.
It was the cover-up of his past pedophile activity that landed former Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives Dennis Hastert, at one time the second-in-line to the US presidency, in prison.
Epstein’s federal trial is scheduled to begin during the summer of 2020, right in the middle of the US presidential campaign. The evidence produced, said to number over a million pages, is bound to affect the outcome of the election. Trump’s one-time close relationship with Epstein may be the reason why so many Republican members of the House of Representatives are jumping ship. What was expected to be a rout of Republicans in 2020 may be a tsunami if the Epstein trial produces the expected explosive information on the billionaire residents of Palm Beach island in Florida, home to Epstein, Trump, and other mega-wealthy movers and shakers.
The Philippines has declared a “national dengue epidemic” after at least 622 people lost their lives from the mosquito-borne disease this year.
At least 146,000 cases were recorded from January to 20 July – a 98% increase on the same period last year – the health department said.
The epidemic was declared so that officials can identify areas in need of emergency attention.
The infection causes flu-like illness, but occasionally becomes more severe.
The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Philippines declared an initial “national dengue alert” in July.
“It is important that a national epidemic be declared in these areas to identify where a localised response is needed, and to enable the local government units to use their Quick Response Fund to address the epidemic situation,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a statement.
Western Visayas had the most recorded cases with more than 23,000, with significant outbreaks also in Calabarzon, the Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao.
The sanctions target Venezuela’s government assets in the US, as well as individuals, companies, and countries doing business with Caracas.
“All property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States… are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in,” the executive order signed by US President Donald Trump reads.
The announcement was reinforced by a barrage of threats issued by US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who said “anyone” dealing with President Nicolas Maduro and his government will face secondary sanctions. He singled out Moscow, which has been engaged in economic and military cooperation with Venezuela for a long time.
“The United States is acting assertively to cut off Maduro financially, and accelerate a peaceful democratic transition,” Bolton said. “We say again to Russia, and especially to those who control its finances: ‘Do not double down on a bad bet!’”
The US will not recognize any elections held in Venezuela as long as Maduro stays in power, Bolton warned, adding that countries, companies, and individuals must choose between doing business with Caracas or Washington.
The aggressive move and rhetoric prompted an angry reaction in Caracas, which branded the US’ actions acts of “economic terrorism,” but said the US’ decision is hardly surprising. The new sanctions only “formalize a criminal economic, financial, and commercial blockade that has already started,”Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry said. It also vowed to not allow the “escalation of aggressions” to affect “political dialogue processes.”
Relations between the US and Venezuela have not been smooth for the past two decades, but the past few months have seen them taking a nosedive. Earlier this year, the political situation in Venezuela rapidly deteriorated after the leader of the National Assembly (which opposes Maduro’s government), Juan Guaido, proclaimed himself ‘interim president’ of Venezuela.
Washington and its allies rushed to recognize the self-styled ‘president’ as legitimate, but Guaido’s repeated attempts to install himself in the presidential palace have failed so far. Russia, China, and many other countries have voiced their support for the elected government and have condemned the attempts to push through the US-backed coup.
Whenever a tragic act of violence makes national headlines, the calls to give up more of our freedoms and liberties in exchange for the promise of increased security become deafening. But if we take another step toward becoming an authoritarian society every time something horrible happens, eventually we won’t have any of the basic liberties and freedoms that previous generations of Americans fought so hard to secure for us. Unfortunately, voices like mine are becoming increasingly rare, and the American people seem to want a society that will shelter them from anything that could possibly go wrong. Of course, there has never been such a society in all of human history, and we won’t be able to create one either. No governmental system can eliminate the problem of evil, and bad things sometimes happen to good people. And without a doubt, the mass shootings that we witnessed over the weekend were absolutely horrific. In less than 24 hours, 29 American lives were lost between these two mass shootings, and this has greatly shaken the entire nation…
On Sunday, Americans woke up to news of a shooting rampage in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio, where a man wearing body armor shot and killed nine people, including his own sister. Hours earlier, a 21-year-old with a rifle entered a Walmart in El Paso and killed 20 people.
In a country that has become nearly numb to men with guns opening fire in schools, at concerts and in churches, the back-to-back bursts of gun violence in less than 24 hours were enough to leave the public stunned and shaken.
Sadly, these are not isolated incidents. As our society has become less moral, we have seen an escalation of violence all over the country.
According to USA Today, so far in 2019 there have been more mass shootings than days in the year…
As gunfire ripped through America in an unprecedented 24 hours, a bleak milestone in a nation pocked by gun violence was marked: There have been 251 mass shootings in 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
A shooting spree early Sunday at an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio – which left at least nine dead and more than two dozen injured – notched an even darker statistic: It occurred on the 216th day of the year, meaning there have been more mass shootings than days so far this year.
As I have been warning for years, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is steadily disappearing.
At one time, you could walk down the streets in most communities in America without worrying that someone would suddenly gun you down, but that is no longer a safe assumption.
And in some areas, things are getting really, really bad. Just check out what happened in Chicago over the weekend…
In Chicago at least three people have been killed and 37 more injured since Friday evening in shootings within city limits, including 22 people shot Sunday in less than four hours, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
In particular, a mass shooting that took place near a children’s playground was particularly tragic…
As The Epoch Times’ Jack Phillips reports, at least seven people were shot and wounded on Aug. 4 as they gathered near a children’s playground on Chicago’s West Side. The people gathered at 1:20 a.m. as they stood in the park on the 2900 West Roosevelt Road when a person opened fire from a black Chevy Camaro, said Chicago Police.
So why didn’t this mass shooting get the same kind of coverage that the other mass shootings received?
Could it be that it is because it didn’t neatly fit the agenda that the mainstream media is trying to promote?
The city of Baltimore is another major American city where violence is completely and utterly out of control. In fact, there is only one nation on the entire planet that has a higher homicide rate than Baltimore…
Only one country in the world has a higher per capita homicide rate than the city of Baltimore.
According to WorldAtlas, the murder capital of the globe is Honduras — where there are 90.4 homicides per 100,000 people.
Baltimore, with 56 homicides per 100,000 people, edges out the number two spot ahead of Venezuela, where there are 53.7 homicides per 100,000 people.
As the violence across our country continues to escalate, the calls to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights are going to become overwhelming.
But taking away our 2nd Amendment rights is not going to solve the problem. Instead, it will just take the guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.
The truth is that the El Paso shooter picked a gun-free zone for a reason. When they know that their targets will be sitting ducks, that just makes things even easier for the mass shooters.
And the bad guys will always find ways to get guns. Just look at the city of Chicago – they have some of the harshest gun laws in the entire nation, but they also lead the country in gun deaths.
Unfortunately, logic doesn’t tend to work with those that love authoritarianism. Whenever something happens, they want the government to do “something”, and that “something” almost always involves eroding our most basic rights.
I wish that it wasn’t true, but this is where our country is heading. Americans have been trained to believe that the government should take care of them from the cradle to the grave and should do all that it can to shield them from everything bad that can possibly happen in life.
Sadly, every time such a totalitarian “utopia” has been attempted throughout human history, it has always ended very badly, and that will be the case here as well.
About the author: Michael Snyderis a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The Endand Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.
“In 2011 then-Congressman Ron Paul told Politico that “the Patriot Act was written many, many years before 9/11,” adding that the attacks simply provided “an opportunity for some people to do what they wanted to do.”
“…if Americans really want to address the problem then the best place to start is to do the first-ever honest and in-depth study on the effects of domestic propaganda on the American mind, particularly war propaganda.”
Two mass shootings have rocked the United States in less than 24 hours, leaving dozens dead and many more wounded. The first in El Paso, Texas was allegedly perpetrated by a white supremacist whose racist motives are outlined in a rambling “manifesto”, the second allegedly by a self-described “leftist” whose motives, like the 2017 Las Vegas shooter, are presently unknown. These incidents occurred a week after another mass shooting in Gilroy, California.
All the usual US gun control debates have of course reignited, which is understandable. Alongside this debate, however, we are seeing another, far more pernicious agenda being raised that I would like to address here.
— La Femme Nikita (@LaF3mm3Nikita) August 4, 2019
In an interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, notorious liar and propagandist Malcolm Nance claimed that existing laws aren’t sufficient for prosecuting the El Paso shooter, because there are no laws designating his act of mass murder as “domestic terrorism”.
“I think that Congress needs to take up right away a series of domestic terrorism laws,” Nance said.
“It’d be very simple: just match them to the words ‘international terrorism’, so that a member of al-Qaeda and a member of a white nationalist terrorist cell or a militia that thinks they’re going to carry out international acts of terrorism are equal all the way around. Right now there are no laws called ‘domestic terrorism law’. They can get you for firearms, they get you for hate crimes, but you are not treated as a terrorist. This act in El Paso was clearly by all definitions a terrorist attack in the United States, but of course by the nature of the person being white and American he can’t be treated like a member of ISIS or al-Qaeda. He can’t even be detained, he can only be treated as a murderer.”
(The accused, for the record, is in fact under arrest currently, and prosecutors say that they are treating it as a domestic terrorism case for which they are seeking the death penalty. This is in Texas; he’ll be dead before the next Fast & Furious movie. Nance’s notion that prosecutors’ hands are somehow tied here is silly.)
“But he’s a murderer with a political intent who is spreading an ideology,” Nance continued.
“So Congress should take that up immediately. And let’s see if the White House won’t sign that legislation. That would be very revealing.”
In other words, shove the legislation through and call anyone who opposes it a Nazi lover.
Years of misguided alarmism over “Islamic terrorism” resulted in the erosion of civil liberties, militarization of police, and a host of other bad outcomes. Applying the same alarmist logic to “white nationalist terrorism” is likely to produce a host of similarly bad outcomes
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) August 4, 2019
“Years of misguided alarmism over ‘Islamic terrorism’ resulted in the erosion of civil liberties, militarization of police, and a host of other bad outcomes. Applying the same alarmist logic to ‘white nationalist terrorism’ is likely to produce a host of similarly bad outcomes,” tweeted independent journalist Michael Tracey in response to the chatter.
Political commentary is flooded with the word “terrorism” today. People are demanding that the El Paso shooter in particular and white supremacists in general be labeled terrorists by the narrative-making commentariat, and you know what? I totally get it. The push since 9/11 to tar Muslims as “terrorists” has been extremely obnoxious and fueled by hate and bigotry, so it makes sense for progressive-minded people to push for the egalitarian usage of that term. But before doing so, please reflect on what lessons we learned from the post-9/11 “Islamic terrorism” scare.
“I am telling you now that the government will use the violence that Trump himself has rallied as an excuse for more militarization, more surveillance, more violations of civil liberties – and a lot of people are going to welcome these things because they are afraid,” tweeted Truthout’s Kelly Hayes.
“I’m not guessing or being creative here. This is about having a sense of history and a sense of how these systems function in the present. I would love to be wrong. I would celebrate being wrong. But I’m not.”
Indeed, it is an established fact that the US government will use the narrative about the need to fight terrorism to advance pre-existing agendas. The first draft of the massive USA Patriot Act was introduced a week after the 9/11 attacks, far too fast for anyone to have gathered the necessary information from all the relevant government bodies about what changes were necessary and typed out the hundreds of pages of the bill. Legislators later admitted that they didn’t even have time to read through the densely worded bill before passing it the next month, so to believe that it could have been written in a week would be childish.
High-altitude surveillance balloons have been deployed over America to “deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats” via “hi-tech radar”. To be clear, this is not something they’re considering or opening up for public debate. This has already happened. https://t.co/q7IKr5WMLN
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) August 3, 2019
In 2011 then-Congressman Ron Paul told Politico that “the Patriot Act was written many, many years before 9/11,” adding that the attacks simply provided “an opportunity for some people to do what they wanted to do.” Paul was serving in Congress when the Patriot Act was passed. The Act has since been used to erode human rights at home and abroad by destroying Fourth Amendment protections and legalizing Orwellian surveillance, and it’s safe to assume that the opaque and unaccountable government agencies who were greatly empowered by it had already wanted this to happen.
I have no easy answers for America’s mass shooting epidemic, and as an Australian, I see the gun control debate as outside my sovereign territory. I will simply suggest, as I so often do, that if Americans really want to address the problem then the best place to start is to do the first-ever honest and in-depth study on the effects of domestic propaganda on the American mind, particularly war propaganda. There are only so many times a certain type of mind can be told violence-glorifying lies before it snaps; if anyone researches mass shootings in the light of the constant psychological abuse that Americans suffer at the hands of their mass media, I guarantee they’ll find a connection. Americans are the most propagandized people on earth because of their proximity to the most strategically crucial part of the empire; it’s not a coincidence that they’re also by far the most prone to mass shootings.
One thing I can tell you won’t fix your problems, America, and that’s listening to the propagandists who want you to hand over even more control to a government that has already begun floating high-altitude surveillance balloons over your country without your permission.
Don’t let them bully you with fear.
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Last weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton (following the devastation in Gilroy the weekend before) prompted the usual evidence-free avalanche of political point-scoring, blaming “the other side” for all the world’s woes.
“Did George Bush ever condemn President Obama after Sandy Hook. President Obama had 32 mass shootings during his reign. Not many people said Obama is out of Control. Mass shootings were happening before the President even thought about running for Pres.” @kilmeade @foxandfriends
An exhaustive new study from the CDC reveals that the leading cause of gun violence in America is your political opponents. Researchers looked at a number of potential causes of gun violence such as mental health, family situation, cultural shifts, gun laws, rap music, videogames, sugar consumption, and the actual gunman, but by and large, the most prominent cause of gun violence was what most already suspected. The fault lies with those who you disagree with politically.
But, as Jillian Peters and James Densley write in an LA Times op-ed, instead of apportioning blame based on the narrative being pushed, analyzing and understanding data about who commits such massacres can help prevent more lives being lost.
For two years, we’ve been studying the life histories of mass shooters in the United States for a project funded by the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. We’ve built a database dating back to 1966 of every mass shooter who shot and killed four or more people in a public place, and every shooting incident at schools, workplaces, and places of worship since 1999. We’ve interviewed incarcerated perpetrators and their families, shooting survivors and first responders. We’ve read media and social media, manifestos, suicide notes, trial transcripts and medical records.
Our goal has been to find new, data-driven pathways for preventing such shootings. Although we haven’t found that mass shooters are all alike, our data do reveal four commonalities among the perpetrators of nearly all the mass shootings we studied.
First, the vast majority of mass shooters in our study experienced early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at a young age. The nature of their exposure included parental suicide, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and/or severe bullying. The trauma was often a precursor to mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, thought disorders or suicidality.
Second, practically every mass shooter we studied had reached an identifiable crisis point in the weeks or months leading up to the shooting. They often had become angry and despondent because of a specific grievance. For workplace shooters, a change in job status was frequently the trigger. For shooters in other contexts, relationship rejection or loss often played a role. Such crises were, in many cases, communicated to others through a marked change in behavior, an expression of suicidal thoughts or plans, or specific threats of violence.
Third, most of the shooters had studied the actions of other shooters and sought validation for their motives. People in crisis have always existed. But in the age of 24-hour rolling news and social media, there are scripts to follow that promise notoriety in death. Societal fear and fascination with mass shootings partly drives the motivation to commit them. Hence, as we have seen in the last week, mass shootings tend to come in clusters. They are socially contagious. Perpetrators study other perpetrators and model their acts after previous shootings. Many are radicalized online in their search for validation from others that their will to murder is justified.
Fourth, the shooters all had the means to carry out their plans. Once someone decides life is no longer worth living and that murdering others would be a proper revenge, only means and opportunity stand in the way of another mass shooting. Is an appropriate shooting site accessible? Can the would-be shooter obtain firearms? In 80% of school shootings, perpetrators got their weapons from family members, according to our data. Workplace shooters tended to use handguns they legally owned. Other public shooters were more likely to acquire them illegally.
So what do these commonalities tell us about how to prevent future shootings?
One step needs to be depriving potential shooters of the means to carry out their plans. Potential shooting sites can be made less accessible with visible security measures such as metal detectors and police officers. And weapons need to be better controlled, through age restrictions, permit-to-purchase licensing, universal background checks, safe storage campaigns and red-flag laws — measures that help control firearm access for vulnerable individuals or people in crisis.
Another step is to try to make it more difficult for potential perpetrators to find validation for their planned actions. Media campaigns like #nonotoriety are helping starve perpetrators of the oxygen of publicity, and technology companies are increasingly being held accountable for facilitating mass violence. But we all can slow the spread of mass shootings by changing how we consume, produce, and distribute violent content on media and social media. Don’t like or share violent content. Don’t read or share killers’ manifestos and other hate screeds posted on the internet. We also need to study our current approaches. For example, do lockdown and active shooter drills help children prepare for the worst or hand potential shooters the script for mass violence by normalizing or rehearsing it?
We also need to, as a society, be more proactive. Most mass public shooters are suicidal, and their crises are often well known to others before the shooting occurs. The vast majority of mass shooters leak their plans ahead of time. People who see or sense something is wrong, however, may not always say something to someone owing to the absence of clear reporting protocols or fear of overreaction and unduly labeling a person as a potential threat. Proactive violence prevention starts with schools, colleges, churches and employers initiating conversations about mental health and establishing systems for identifying individuals in crisis, reporting concerns and reaching out — not with punitive measures but with resources and long-term intervention. Everyone should be trained to recognize the signs of a crisis.
Proactivity needs to extend also to the traumas in early life that are common to so many mass shooters. Those early exposures to violence need addressing when they happen with ready access to social services and high-quality, affordable mental health treatment in the community. School counselors and social workers, employee wellness programs, projects that teach resilience and social emotional learning, and policies and practices that decrease the stigma around mental illness will not just help prevent mass shootings, but will also help promote the social and emotional success of all Americans.
Our data show that mass shooters have much in common. Instead of simply rehearsing for the inevitable, we need to use that data to drive effective prevention strategies.
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Perhaps wannabe-politicians like Beto O’Rourke should wind their ‘Trump is hitler and therefore to blame’ soundbites in and focus on the real issues facing Americans.