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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 8, 2013/ 28 Iyar, 5773

Hunting Down the Deadly

By Roger Simon




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It seems so obvious: If we do a comprehensive study of domestic terrorists, assassins, school shooters and violent stalkers, we can come up with a "profile" of who they are. Then law enforcement can look for the people who fit that profile and stop them.

If only it were that easy.

Robert A. Fein is a forensic and national security psychologist. He has pioneered in the field of threat assessment. He worked for more than 20 years with the Secret Service and co-directed two major studies, one focusing on assassination and the other on school attacks. He left the Secret Service about 10 years ago and is now on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Harvard Medical School.

"Early in the 1990s, my colleague, Secret Service Agent Bryan Vossekuil, and I were asked to do an operational study of assassination," he told me, "a study that might help Secret Service agents prevent attacks on those it protects.

"We studied 83 persons involved in 74 attacks and near-attacks from 1949 to 1996. We interviewed 20 of them. Their targets were persons of prominent public status: presidents, other Secret Service protectees, governors, major Hollywood stars, even baseball players."

Fein and Vossekuil talked to people whom history has forgotten and some whom it may never forget, like Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Robert Kennedy in 1968. But did these killers and would-be killers have common demographic backgrounds or psychological traits that could lead to a "profile" that law enforcement could use?

No.

"For many years, people thought perhaps we could find a profile of assassins, attackers, school shooters," Fein said. "After Columbine, many thought that there was a 'profile' of a school shooter: a depressed, alienated, male teenager."

But there was no profile. Fein and Vossekuil found shooters who did well in school and others who did poorly. Some had friends; others did not. Some had disciplinary problems, and others didn't.

"When we teach this (to law enforcement agents)," Fein said, "we say that there is no descriptive, demographic or psychological profile of a school shooter. But let's just imagine that there is a profile. The profile is of a Caucasian male between 14 and 17 who dresses in clothes that grown-ups think are a bit weird, who is not doing well in school, who is grumpy much of the time, and who has problems in his social relationships. Does anyone know a kid like that?"

Yeah, just about everyone.

"So, if there was a profile — and there is not — the profile would not be useful in identifying potential school shooters because so many kids would fit the profile," Fein said. "And very, very few of these kids would ever be a school shooter."

The same dynamic is true for other killers. "Too many persons fit any profile of assassins and terrorists for a profile to be useful in figuring out who is likely to act," Fein said. "Plus, a given assassin or terrorist may not fit a profile."

All presidential assassins have been male, for example. But in 1975 both Lynette Fromme and Sara Jane Moore, two women, broke the "profile" by attacking Gerald Ford in separate assaults. An assassination profile would not have identified them in advance.

Threat assessment, on the other hand, searches for "pre-attack" behaviors of people who have come to the attention of law enforcement. According to Fein, pre-attack behaviors by potential assassins or terrorists might include making efforts to find out where a target is or might be, deciding what kind of weapon to use, obtaining weapons, investigating what kinds of security might be present at a site where a target might be and deciding whether or not to try to escape.

If some of this seems obvious, some of it is. But it also has proven effective, though Fein hastens to add that threat assessment does not "predict" future violence, which is notoriously difficult to predict. What it does do is assess how far a person is down a pathway to violence.

In terms of domestic terrorism, a person who has extreme ideas will not necessarily ever act on them. "But if someone engages in pre-attack behavior, such as researching how to make a bomb, concern might grow," Fein said. "If the person tries then to buy ball bearings, concern would be increased because it appears that they are moving on a path toward mounting an attack."

Another threat assessment expert I interviewed who has worked with high government security agencies for many years told me: "We will never have enough agents to watch everyone who makes threats on the president. This was especially true during the administration of George W. Bush and now is true during the administration of Barack Obama. Threat assessment allows us to identify the ones to be most worried about."

The same is true for bombers and other terrorists.

"We have encouraged protectors and investigators to examine a subject's motives and planning capacity," Fein said. "Is there information that suggests a person is on a path to attack? If so, where is the person on the path? How fast is he or she moving? And what needs to be done to stop them?"

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