Sunday, April 20, 2014


Never gets old...

But I do so hate it when my peer professionals use it to forward the security agenda.

In an 11 April 2014 op-ed in The Epoch Times, Vincent J. Bove, CPP, told the American people:

Active shooter tragedies have reached staggering proportions in America and each company, school, facility, house of worship, agency, and community is a potential victim. Law enforcement and private security must exercise leadership, vigilance, and collaboration to protect those entrusted to their care...

If only that leadership took the form of telling and retelling an irrationally frightened U.S. populace some important facts.

Misuse of the term "active shooter" has become problematic. In most cities across America violent (as well as property) crime has been falling since the 1990s. Workplace homicide is at its lowest since tracking began in 1992. The rate of mass murder has not changed in decades. Less than 2% of all homicides of children ages 5-18 occur in school. Our children are safer at school than they are at home.

Mr. Bove is not alone in shaping the message to suit his narrative. His op-ed also told us:

Addressing police chiefs in Philadelphia on Oct. 21, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder said the United States saw an average of five active shooting incidents a year between 2000 and 2008. “Alarmingly, since 2009, this annual average has tripled. We’ve seen at least 12 active shooter situations so far in 2013,” Holder said.

The crisis we face is one of perception, perceptions fed by a 24 hour news cycle that frantically grasps at our eyeballs with lurid crime coverage, perceptions encouraged in the craven pursuit of political and institutional agendas. Too often thought leaders choose to contribute to the moral panic of the day rather than engaging in a productive public discussion of the facts.

We can do better, if only we summon the will to examine the facts and tell the truth.

Until that day, pay very careful attention to politicians, talking heads, and other persons described as experts. Remember: Workplace Violence ≠ Targeted School Shooting ≠ Mass Murder ≠ Active Shooter ≠ Mass Shooting. Anyone who does not care about the differences is selling something. What is it they want to do? What is it they want you to do?

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Also Been Reading Some Science Fiction

To cleanse the palate between courses...

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville Steam-punk, science-fiction, mytho-poetic, horror-fantasy novels aren't my usual thing but Mieville is so viciously skilled a writer he makes it work even for me.

The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt A well-paced read. Priscilla Hutchins is an interesting enough character I may come back for more.

3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Otherwise, I'm still chewing on the serious stuff; The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood (almost done), the Bible (Exodus 23:19...), and From Babylon to Bethlehem: The Jewish People from the Exile to the Messiah by H.L. Ellison (just started).

Been Reading...

...more that I care to on targeted school shootings at institutions of higher education.

I suppose it's a good thing such exotic violence is so rare. If early detection, intervention, and treatment fail, the policy, training, and equipment needed for mitigation are daunting. Here's the bibliography for a report we've been working on:

Aveni, T. (2003) Officer-Involved Shootings: What We Didn’t Know Has Hurt Us. The Police Policy Studies Council, August 2003.   
Blair, J. and Martaindale, M. (2013) United States Active Shooter Events from 2000 to 2010: Training and Equipment Applications.  Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, Texas State University, 2013  
Counterterrorism Bureau of the New York City Police Department. (2012) Active Shooter Recommendations and Analysis for Risk Mitigation. NYPD Printing Section, 2012
Drysdale, D., Modzeleski, W., and Simons, A. (2010). Campus Attacks: Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education. U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, U.S. Department of Education, and Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice. Washington, D.C., 2010.
Farren, K. (2013) Justifying Weapon Mounted Lights. IALEFI, Control 13-11
Good. J. (2014) The Deployment of Illumination Tools: Law Enforcement Primer. Night Reaper Systems, 2014.
IACP National Law Enforcement Policy Center Board. (2007) The Patrol Rifle: Considerations for Adoption and Use. The Police Chief, February 2007.
List of School Shootings in the United States. (n.d.)  In Wikipedia.  Accessed April 10, 2014. 
Paparazzo, J., Eith C., and Tocco, J. (2013) Strategic Approaches to Preventing Multiple Casualty Violence: Report on the National Summit on Multiple Casualty Shootings. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 2013..
Schweit, K. (2013) Addressing the Problem of the Active Shooter. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, May 2013.
Smith, L and Supiano, B. (2008) Major Shootings on American College Campuses. Chronicle of Higher Education. Februay 18, 2008.
Timeline of Worldwide School and Mass Shootings: Gun-related tragedies in the U.S. and around the world. (n.d.) Information Please Database, Pearson Education, Inc. Accessed April 10, 2014.
United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation.  (2013).  Crime in the United States, September 2013.  Retrieved April 10, 2014, from  
Vossekuil, B., Fein, R., Reddy, M., Borum, R., and Modzeleski, W. (2002) The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States. United States Secret Service and United States Department of Education, May 2002.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

A Used Bookstore in Prescott!

I found a new favorite place to hang out...

Paperback City 3196 Willow Creek Rd, Ste A104, Prescott, AZ 86301 (928) 445-2299. It's a cozy little storefront joint just across the parking lot from where I buy my groceries but I had not noticed it until now. It's no Half Price Books I guess, but then Prescott is no Apple Valley either. I felt right at home and bought two books: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss and an old volume on Teilhard de Chardin. I didn't have time to browse the Science Fiction aisle so I'll be back.  I know it's pretty nerdy to love hanging out in bookstores but it's safer, cheaper, and quieter than going to the bar.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Not Thelma and Louise

Gramma Kay and Grampa Larry visit the South Rim...

Mom and Dad are visiting Prescott, Arizona, this month. I was out of town on business all week so come Sunday the 16th we got together for a day trip to the Grand Canyon. It's less than three hours to the north of my new digs. Mom had not been there since 1955. This was Dad's first visit. It was cool and windy (it is winter even in Arizona after all) but the sun came and went often enough to make for some fine vistas.

Mom made up for her nearly 60 year hiatus by purchasing a little bit of everything in the gift shop. I finally bought a copy of Over The Edge: Death in Grand Canyon, the Expanded 10 Year Anniversary Edition by Michael P. Ghiglieri (Author), Thomas M. Myers (Author), M.P. Ghiglieri (Editor), Kim Besom & Bronze Black (Illustrator). "They have to keep updating it," lamented the clerk who sold it to me, "There's just no end to stupid!"