In the ever-evolving realm of crime and punishment, some things still remain constant. From stalking and harassment to insider threats, and from active-shooter incidents to high-stake heists all initial incentives can still be categorized into the three main motivators of mayhem:
Need, Profit, and Revenge.
NEED: Needs are a motivating force that compel an act toward satisfaction. Beyond food and sleep, they are found in the physical need of the addict who steals in support of a habit all the way through to the emotional needs of the love-sick stalker in need of reciprocation.
PROFIT: Money has always been a manipulator of moral flexibility. There is no shortage of enticing offers where hard-to-acquire collectables, corporate insights, and state secrets can be easily sold for cash. This however, does not discount the motivation for profit that can be easily obtained through a breach of contract. The betrayal of confidentiality in support of TV, movie, or book deals has proven time and again to be a lucrative and not-entirely-punishable venture. The 24hr news cycle demands new, sexy, and sensationalized stories each and every day, and the producers of these programs not only pay very well, but seal the deal with promises stemmed from the additional faculties of fame.
REVENGE: Revenge is of course the most concerning of the three motivators, because much like loyalty, one never knows where the ideation of revenge is born. The jaded ex-lover, the passed-over-for-promotion employee, and the religious crusader all have separate but equal investment in their willingness to exact some measure of revenge. They all want justice for whatever real or imagined grievance they feel they experienced, and they all invest in the ideation than they have within themselves the ability to bring about righteous resolve.
Protective Intelligence is the process for collecting and assessing information about persons who have interest, motivation, intention and practical capability to do harm. A person doesn’t just snap anymore than a pot of water just boils over. They are both the result of a slow burn; a motive-fueled ideation finally reaching a tipping point that compels them to act. To combat these aggressions, we must realize that regardless of circumstance or scenario, all motivations of mayhem have all followed the same simple pathway from grievance to action: Grievance, Ideation, Research and Planning, Preparation, Breach, and Attack.
The crippling infrastructure of our society is not limited to our bridges and highways. Our protective systems and strategies are crumbling as well. Many of the the antiquated security measures in place today are designed to doing nothing more than passively wait for the sirens to announce an intrusion. The strategies in place to respond to those alarms are rooted in effective response rather than proactive prevention. The problem of course is that today’s attackers aren’t wearing black ski masks and breaking-in through back windows. Instead, they have found it much more effective to simply walk through the front door.
Even within the realm of cyber crime, the reality is that those with nefarious intent are much more likely to steal keys than they are to pick the locks. It’s much easier to steal a username and password and then exploit the inherent privileges of a legitimate user. Much like a modern day “Manchurian Candidate” they are turning innocent users into insider threats.
Workplace violence and school shooters are no different. These violent acts aren’t being conducted by outside actors. They are the direct result of insider threats. Why? Because the single most influential factor of target selection is likelihood of success. These actors already know the layout of their target. They have likely participated in the response drills to the very acts they plan to carry out. Perhaps most disturbing is that they have the ability to breach and enter their target without raising so much as an eyebrow until their initiation of violence erupts.
“In today’s schools and corporations, there is all too often an emphasis placed on analyzing a specific act within the context of an isolated incident, rather than taking the “totality of circumstance” into consideration before rendering an assessment.” ~Spencer Coursen
Imagine a jigsaw puzzle who’s pieces had been thrown to the wind. Someone is bound to stumble across an individual piece. And while they may find that unique piece interesting, it’s easy to see how it may not be viewed as altogether significant.
However, if that individual piece was then matched up with other pieces of the puzzle — piece by piece — the bigger picture would begin to take shape. Protective intelligence is no different. It’s the little pieces coming together that helps the hazard on the horizon to be more clearly seen. The more pieces collected, the more effective those protective strategies become.
Awareness, threat assessment, and protective intelligence are three separate but equally important components of public, structural, and personal safety. We can no longer afford to live in a world where we simply hope that nothing will happen, and then solely rely on the first responders to save us when something does. Today’s safety requires a communal concern; an everyday responsibility toward vigilance we all must accept. A keen eye open for the motivators of mayhem is an effective first step toward preparing today for a safer tomorrow.
Awareness + Preparation = Safety
Spencer Coursen is the President of Coursen Security Group. He is an expert security consultant, threat assessment advisor, and protective strategist who is dedicated to reducing risk and preventing violence. His systems and strategies help corporations, non-profit organizations, schools, and at-risk public figures ensure the certainty of safety for all involved.
@SpencerCoursen / @CoursenSecurity