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NATIONAL THREAT ASSESSMENT MASS ATTACKS IN PUBLIC SPACES: 2016 -2020


Just out this month, The Secret Service Report on Mass Casualty attacks in the United States. Well worth reading.


This five-year study analyzes 173 targeted attacks that occurred from 2016 to 2020 in public or semi-public locations in the United States, including businesses, schools, houses of worship, open spaces, and other locations.


I found this particularly interesting and helpful:


• Most of the attackers had exhibited behavior that elicited concern in family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and others, and in many cases, those individuals feared for the safety of themselves or others.


• Many attackers had a history of physically aggressive or intimidating behaviors, evidenced by prior violent criminal arrests/charges, domestic violence, or other acts of violence toward others.


• Half of the attackers were motivated by grievances, and were retaliating for perceived wrongs related to personal, domestic, or workplace issues.


• Most of the attackers used firearms, and many of those firearms were possessed illegally at the time of the attack.



• Many attackers experienced stressful events across various life domains, including family/romantic relationships, anti- government, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic views.


• Many attackers experienced stressful events across various life domains, including family/romantic relationships, personal issues, employment, and legal issues. In some of these cases, attackers experienced a specific triggering event prior to perpetrating the attack.


• Over half of the attackers experienced mental health symptoms prior to or at the time of their attacks, including depression, psychotic symptoms, and suicidal thoughts.



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