Concepts and Case Studies in Threat Management: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Concepts and Case Studies in Threat Management

1st Edition

By Frederick S. Calhoun, Stephen W. Weston, J.D.

CRC Press

252 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Professionalization has come to the field of threat management. It has developed a systematic theory unique to the field, recognized authorities have emerged, and it is finding its own ethical code of conduct. It is also beginning to grow its own culture, complete with a vocabulary of its own. Although the field has a way to go, it is well along the path to becoming a profession.

One product of this ongoing professionalization is the identification of certain key concepts that, until now, have been unidentified or undefined. Concepts and Case Studies in Threat Management explores the salient themes essential to the practice and profession of threat management. These concepts include case dynamics and intervention synergy, the importance of determining key factors in each situation, the power of inhibitors, differences among the various venues of violence, and avoiding myopic management strategies and isolationism. The authors illustrate these concepts and more, with detailed examples and real-life case studies that give readers practical, concrete perspectives on the myriad threat management scenarios they may encounter as they practice their profession. The book also introduces a glossary of terms, developed in a joint effort between the authors and researchers at the University of Nebraska’s Public Policy Center, that have emerged during the current professionalization of threat management.

Moving the field towards a more pragmatic approach, the book explores in depth the current state of the threat management process. With a full understanding of the components and challenges in each threat management situation, those charged with protecting the public will improve their approach to the tasks of identifying, assessing, and managing individuals who pose a risk of violence.

Table of Contents

New Concepts Emerging From the Professionalization of Threat Management

Presenting a Practical Approach to Threat Management

Scope of the Book

Organization of the Book

A Brief Review of the Fundamental Elements of Threat Management

Two Forms of Violence

The Paths to Violence

Elements of the Contemporary Threat Management Process

Hunters and Howlers

"At This Time"


The Spectrum of Threat Management Strategies for Defusing the Risk

Format for Threat Assessments

1. What Do We Know About the Situation at This Time?

2. What Is the Assessment of the Known Facts at This Time?

3. What Is the Recommended Protective Response?

4. What Are the Recommended Threat Management Strategies?

Case Study: Piecing Together the Puzzle



A Brief Note on the Silo Effect and Its Impact on This Case

Lessons Learned

Case Dynamics and Intervention Synergy

The Dynamics of Threat Management

The Role of Time

The Role of the Uncontrollables

Accepting Good News

Intervention Synergy

Ethics of Threat Management

Sending the Problem to Someone Else

Solving the Problem but Leaving Others or the Public at Risk

Assessment to Enhance Security Profits

Inappropriate Influence

Intervention Proportionate to the Threat

Abandoning the Weak to Protect the Powerful

Case Study: The Dynamo


Lessons Learned

The Need-to-Knows

Understanding the Need-to-Knows

The Need-to-Knows

How Did the Subject Choose to Approach the Target?

What About the Situation Indicates the Subject’s Identity and Physical Proximity to the Target? In Other Words, Who and Where Is the Subject?

What About the Situation Indicates Whom or What the Subject Is Targeting? In Other Words, Who Is the Target?

What About the Situation Indicates the Type of Venue Being Targeted and What About the Venue Gives Insight Into the Subject’s Intent, Motive, and Ability?

What About the Situation Indicates Whether or Not the Intimacy Effect Is in Play? In Other Words, What Is the Nature of the Relationship Between the Subject and the Target?

What About the Situation Relates to the Subject’s Choice of Context, Content, and Circumstances?

Is the Target Currently Accessible to the Subject?

Does the Subject Have the Ability and Motivation to Take Advantage of Any Current Accessibility to the Target?

Is There a Known History of Previous Contacts With the Target or Other Targets by This Subject?

Does the Subject Have a History of Violent or Threatening Behaviors, Including Any Criminal Behavior?

What Is the Subject’s Knowledge About the Target’s Current Situation?

Is the Subject Seeking Knowledge About the Target and the Target’s Current Situation?

Does the Subject’s Behavior Indicate Mental Health Issues, Including Suicidality?

Does the Subject Possess, Have Access to, or Give Evidence of a Fascination with Weapons?

Is the Subject Currently Seeking to Obtain a Weapon?

What Is the Status of the Subject’s Inhibitors, Including Any Recent Losses?

Has the Subject Exhibited Controlling, Isolating, or Jealous Behaviors Toward the Target?

Does the Subject Have a History of Abuse of Alcohol, Drugs, or Prescription Medicines?

Does the Subject Have Any Relevant Medical Issues?

Has the Subject Engaged in Any Final-Act Behaviors?

Not All Need-to-Knows Are Created Equal

Final Thoughts on Gathering Information for Assessment

Case Study: Knowing What You Need

The Facts

The Assessment

Recommended Protective Response

Recommended Fact Finding

Recommended Threat Management Strategy

The Denouement


Protective Response

Lessons Learned

Inhibitors and Their Impacts

The Power of Inhibitors

The Domino Effect

Using Inhibitors Positively

Disinhibiting a Subject

Propping Up a Subject’s Inhibitors

The Toppling Inhibitors

Lessons Learned

Differences Among the Various Venues of Violence

The Concept of Social Ecosystems

The Role of Motive in Distinguishing the Venues for Intended Violence

Why Public Figures Attract Violence

Guidelines for Assessing Threats to Public Figures

Why Intimate Partners Attract Violence

Guidelines for Assessing Threats to Domestic Partners

Why Gathering Places Attract Violence

Guidelines for Assessing Threats to Gathering Places

Why Workplaces Attract Violence

Guidelines for Assessing Potential Workplace Violence

Why Representative Targets Attract Violence

Guidelines for Assessing Potential Attacks Toward Representative Targets

Case Studies on the Different Venues for Violence

Why Public Figures Attract Violence: The Reluctant Public Figure

Why Domestic Partners Attract Violence: "If I Can’t Have Him/Her…"

Why Gathering Places Attract Violence: "Thank God, This Is a Sunday…"

Why Workplaces Attract Violence: An Eye for an Eye

Why Representative Targets Attract Violence: "A Man Who’s Dangerous, Who’s Not Rational, and He Has Weapons"

Lessons Learned

On Cutbacks, Silos, Bunkers, and Myopic Management Strategies

Diminishing Access to Intervention Strategies

Information Silos (The Silent Silos)

Bunker Mentality (Bogus Bunkers)

Myopic Intervention Strategies

Case Studies on Cutbacks, Silos, Bunkers, and Myopia

Events Leading Up to April 16, 2007, at Virginia Tech

Events Leading Up to January 8, 2011, at Congresswoman Giffords’s "Congress on Your Corner" Event in Tucson, Arizona

Lessons Learned

Appendix A: Glossary of Threat Management Terminology

Appendix B: Association of Threat Assessment Professionals’ Code of Ethical Conduct


Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Security / General
LAW / Forensic Science
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism