The Defuse Podcast - Taking the guesswork out of protecting your privacy, reputation and status.

The Online Bodyguard - Workplace Harassment & Violence – The Behavioural response with Dr Stephen White

February 07, 2023 Philip Grindell MSc CSyP - The Online Bodyguard®
The Defuse Podcast - Taking the guesswork out of protecting your privacy, reputation and status.
The Online Bodyguard - Workplace Harassment & Violence – The Behavioural response with Dr Stephen White
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Show Notes Transcript

To many the subject of workplace violence brings up US based scenarios of multiple shootings at work and within educational facilities. In this podcast, Dr White discusses how whether in the US scenario of the less ‘violent’ UK scenarios of harassment, disruption, and non-fatal violence the same principals and behavioural indicators apply. . Dr. White, in collaboration with Dr. Reid Meloy, developed and published in 2007 The WAVR-21. Now in its third edition, the WAVR-21 is an evidence-based structured professional judgment guide for assessing workplace and campus violence risk. He discusses how to use these behavioural indicators to prevent issues escalating towards violence and what steps, in practical terms should we be taking.

 

Dr. Stephen G. White, Ph.D., is a psychologist and the President of Work Trauma Services Inc., a consulting group he originally founded in 1982 to assist employers with serious workplace crises. His extensive work in organizational trauma reduction led to his specializing, since 1989, in the assessment and management of workplace and campus violence risk. Dr. White has consulted nationally and internationally on over 4,500 threat cases for numerous Fortune 500 companies, private and public organizations, law firms and their clientele, colleges and universities, and law enforcement, military and governmental entities. In 2022 he received the Distinguished Achievement award from the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals. 

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Unknown:

Okay

Philip Grindell:

Hello again and welcome to the online bodyguard with Philip Grindell form Defuse. My guest today is Dr. Steven white. Dr. Steven White is somebody who I watched for some time and read his material and in fact very recently went on one of his three day workshops with another former guest and another friend, Reed Malloy. And he is at the very top of his game, but rather than introducing him, I'm going to ask Stephen to do that himself. So Steven, can you can you welcome First and foremost, can you tell us sort of your background? Who are you? What do you do?

Unknown:

Sure, and thanks for inviting me, Philip, it's pleasure to be here. I'm a psychologist, I'm licenced in California. And I've been consulting to organisations on violence risk issues for for many years. I've been doing threat assessment work since the late 80s, actually. But I started my company work Trauma Services in 1982, after I'd finished my postdoctoral work at UC San Francisco, and the the way I got started was to provide trauma reduction interventions for organisations in the aftermath of serious incidents like, like a very serious bank robbery that left people traumatised, or industrial accidents. Earthquake stress, which we're quite familiar with things that have that affect everybody, and including how they, how they feel at work, and how and how they're able to work or not work. And I did a lot of that in the 1980s. And, and unlike some people in his field, I literally got dragged into workplace violence risk threat assessment work. Because employers were looking for help. In situations where people were making threats, angry, were probably going to lose their job for either performance or conduct issues. And the employers were worried about how do we get out of this? How do we assess it objectively? And then how do we defuse this situation without making it worse, which is the real question when you're doing dynamic threat assessment with individuals where they're out there, they're there. They're not incarcerated. They have jobs, they may have families, and there's a lot of information to gather as you consider what steps to take and what steps not to take so So anyway, I that's how I got started. And we figured out that people needed help in organisational or university settings that you needed certain key people involved. You needed security people or campus police, you needed human resource professionals, you needed the attorney to be in the room and you needed assessment expertise. And of course, most organisations did not have that kind of expertise. Some of them do now, they have their own internal threat assessment. The professionals they have their teams, their multidisciplinary teams and huge organisations that are global may have a dozen professionals who screen threats, they may not be mental health professionals, but they're trained to identify to look for the markers, the precursors, the warning signs, the risk factors that suggest somebody could be an actual risk getting started in organisational work, the you got to get in you got to find a way in and way back in the early 80s. When I was doing this I had a couple of colleagues who who were already consulting to organisations and I got invited to join in and my company got started after a serious violent attack of a company in San Francisco and I went in there and did the trauma work and then once you get you know once you get going then the best referrals are word of mouth and people are looking for help and and all and if you do good work of course and and are responsible and know what you're talking about. You get invited in. And from those cases we develop training modules etc. But anyway, I've moved on to do threat work now, since, as I said since about 1990, officially and focused on that, and we have half a dozen CIO, or so consultants in our group who do this work, and also do it globally as well.

Philip Grindell:

So that's an interesting point. So you're not just operating in the US, you're operating across the world, in lots of different environments in lots of different cultures.

Unknown:

Sure, because the major organisations and we work for some very small organisations, you know, a preschool, this is not fancy, you know, but they can have problems with parents and outsiders. But you know, the larger organisations, they're all global, that with the internet age, everybody's got a global presence, and customers all over the world and employees in various places. So, and there's, of course, cultural differences in the landscape for risk that organisations may face in different areas, the United States, sadly, is the world leader in mass attacks. The the benefit of that, unfortunately, is that we've learned a lot, we've learned a lot, and I've done training in Europe and done virtual training in, in the Asia Pacific area as well. So there's some things you have to take into account that it isn't, it isn't as bad as it is in the United States in terms of our culture of seeking notoriety by attacking people. In these with these grandiose attacks, and all and there isn't a gun culture in Europe, that we have in the United States, which is a huge problem there, just just the access that people have, who are not well put together and angry. But, but the fundamentals are the same in terms of people feeling humiliated, being angry, wanting to respond with revenge for that, and the mental factors that may contribute to violence, like severe paranoia, combined with anger can be a very serious combination, of course. And so it's not all that different. But there are, but there are differences that you have to take into account. Yeah, I

Philip Grindell:

mean, I think that's one of the questions that often comes up around, you know, when I'm chatting to people around this subject matter in the UK is, you know, okay, so a lot of the research, a lot of the kind of expertise is in the US. But that's because they have the guns, and that's because they have these massive tax on what have you. Does that still does? Does that methodology still work in the UK, for instance, where, you know, we don't have that type of incident, thank God. But we do we do have knife attacks, we have other types of attacks. And we have just disruption.

Unknown:

Yeah, oh, yeah. You you, you do have violence, of course. And there's the the risk to public figures and the royal family. And it's the same methodology in terms of knowing those signs. And, and having a system to evaluate incidents of, or communications of concern. So but there isn't the gun culture, where somebody who's 20 years old can go in and buy an AR 15. But you have knife attacks, and car attacks. And there's bombings, you know, there's terrorist issues, of course, so, you know, if you want to kill somebody bad enough, you'll figure out a way to do it. And there's just the lethality issue that we have, because in the United States because, again, of those of those cultural and features, with regard to guns and seeking notoriety, etc.

Philip Grindell:

So we'll come we'll come to that in a moment. I think because we're gonna we're gonna discuss obviously, the methodology that that you and read have created and which I've obviously had the training on as well, which is incredible, but on a sort of larger subject and so what are the problems that you solve? What what what do people come to you to solve?

Unknown:

Well, there's the under toe, or maybe call it the, the obvious, overt cultural landscape here is that Not everybody is aware that the United States has a terrible problem with mass shootings. And so there's a great deal of vigilance, there's the two sided coin, I don't want to believe this could happen in my organisation, but I'm scared to death, it could happen if something comes to their attention. So again, what, what, what employers or university officials or any any work entity of any kind, will be in a situation where someone is making threats to harm people and threats are not very good predictors of what people are actually going to do. They're one indicator, you take them seriously. But somebody says, If you fire me, you will be sorry. Okay, what the hell does he mean? Does he mean he's going to sue you? Does it mean, he's going to post bad information about you trying to ruin your reputation? Does it mean he's going to attack you? So you start with what is the situation that comes to attention then that the clientele asked for your help, we've got a situation we want to get out of it safely. We can't tell if this guy really means it. Or it looks like he really does mean it. So then it becomes more perhaps a security issue, but the threat assessment and security components of this are working together. And, and what the the statistical problem, if you if you will, which is another reason people come to folks like us is there's a great deal of false positives, a great number of false positives, lots of people who are angry and make threats and have firearms, and are really bitter and hateful. And maybe with some mental symptoms, not mental illness, per se, that's that's not the issue. It's the what are the acute symptoms, like violent delusions, for instance, but of all the people who come to attention, who are trying to go through this haystack, and figure out who has the most, who is most likely to have actual intent, they are motivated to act violently, and it's worth the price of their freedom or their life. So we're looking for that homicidal suicidal connection. I have nothing to lose, I'm going down. I'm taking you with me for how you've disrespected me. And so we're looking for levels of severity levels of concern, low, moderate, high imminent, and trying to find the real hot ones within that haystack, so that organisations don't waste time on the so called nothing burgers. And also that they they do not discriminate unfairly against somebody who is say odd or weird, or did lose his temper, but there's a lot of protective factors, the guy has a family has a conscience. He doesn't want to get into trouble. He backpedals he apologises or, you know, he's just a confused individual, but he's not going to harm anyone. So you're assessing things so that the, the organisation can make objective assessments, okay. And you gather data, you gather on the ground information about people just background checks, and doing collateral interviews. So I understand this guy better and you look at their social media presents. And you decide how deeply to go with a case some cases take an hour and some take a year, or longer. And so there's that ongoing assessment, and then the response and then we consider Well, what what could we do to learn more and also keeping in mind that things should be have this attitude of trying to defuse the situation. So I might interview somebody at the right time after gathering a lot of information and say, Look, you know, I've been asked to talk to you he knows that already. As you know, I've been asked to talk to you about some things you said or did that have raised concern, help you understand this? What's your perspective? Okay. And, and then they'll and they understand it's not confidential, and they'll start talking and they'll talk about how they've been treated unfairly. Or, or they might say things that are more reassuring like yeah, I lost my temper or I If I made people scared, but I'm not playing for keeps, I just, I'm not going to go there, I have a family etc. But I mean, those are those are good endings, but you're you're gathering information that then informs the decisions you make about what to do and what not to do like, like, somebody makes a threat and the inexperienced people say, Oh, for heaven's sake, let's call the police. Let's get a protective order. Let's surround the building with with armed security people. And they have gathered very little data. And they've they've, they've amped up and they're going to war. And it just agitates the whole situation. Now, there are situations that are dire. And it's all about tactical response. But that's the science and the art of this is his sorting, so that the it's a focused assessment, and then that that informs the range of interventions from doing nothing to getting people prosecuted and incarcerated, you know, playing hardball, you go from zero to 100. In the response, and it's ongoing. So that's a kind of a long winded answer to

Philip Grindell:

that I say, it's a good answer. And I think one of the points that I've learned over the, you know, the period of time is around, when you do have that problem individual not rushing to sack them as a cause, right? And do that you don't get the opportunity to then interview them potentially.

Unknown:

Right, they're gone. And you don't you can interview them, the law enforcement can and we work with law enforcement, they're learning the same things we are over the last 30 years. But yeah, you've the hasty termination is the number one mistake that organisations make, hey, I'm the CEO, I'm responsible for keeping the place safe. So I need to get him out of here. Well, you just kicked him to the curb, you sacked him. And he's now you've rubbed it in his face. Well, what am I supposed to do? You're supposed to slow down. There are emergencies, but let's just slow down and let's gather info for the next hour or so. And then let's I'll give you my impression, and we'll talk about the options. And things like that gives us the you see the fear. I didn't quite finish this part. But people are so afraid of terrible things happening, especially at the schools and you know, these terrible school shootings a little kids. So everybody wants access active shooter training. And that's the last step. Yeah, it doesn't work very well. And the training erodes and and it makes, it makes people anxious. And there's, you know, two thirds of these people who eventually do these things, leak out their intent. You know, they tell a co worker, Tomorrow's the day, you should stay home, but keep watching CNN. So they, they have to be strategic and be quiet. But the same time they can't help themselves, they spill it out, they spill out that they're thinking about it. You want people to know and it makes them feel good that they've got this plan, you know, I'm in power. Now I'm going to show everybody I'm going to flip the power structure. And they leak out these things. And that's what, that's what we're going after. But people immediately get afraid. So what we say to organisations is, the reason for having these programmes, proactively is number one, for safety. And they say, well, it doesn't happen very often. But it could happen anywhere, nobody's immune. But the second reason is, even if their risk is low, the risk of disruption and fear is high with anything. And the place can get into chaos quite quite quickly. And employees and others there. If people are afraid of being harmed, and you don't show up with recognition of that, and some sort of protocol, they're going to get angry. And it affects morale and productivity. You know, if you're a cashier at a supermarket, a female, you're 10 feet away from the door. And her ex husband or boyfriend can come right into that store and attack her. And she's scared to have that job. And there's lots of people in those jobs where, you know, they're just very vulnerable with where there's public access. So that's, you know, it's like you got to get there and you got to show people you know what you're doing, and that you're confident and you're competent, and, and you're not going away until things are resolved as much as they can be.

Philip Grindell:

So you mentioned specialty. I mean, you mentioned about, obviously the US companies that obviously, yeah, understandably concerned about the the active shooter and I'm and I'm this week we've had, I think a child of six shooting his teacher, which is just extraordinary. Yeah. What are the fears that your clients outside of the US Express? What are they worried about?

Unknown:

Well, it's interesting, and I know you've had, you've interviewed our good friend, Braun Vandermeer. And Rahm invited read, and I did do a training with the Netherlands National Police number of years ago, and it was just really a pleasure to, to work with them. But you as Brahm says, You can't have a hang on a sign that says, hey, I'm a violence risk expert, and I'll help you prevent homicides. Your organisation says it doesn't work. And what people like him do and what organisations present is that you know, we have trouble with conflict. We have mobbing we have, you know, gang bullying. We have assaults, we have knife attacks, we have intimate partner violence issues that creep into the workplace. But they don't categorise as violence risk states that, you know, we've got, we got problems with people getting along, and they're kind of angry. And then people like Brahm, go in there and start listening. And they'll uncover situations that really involve intimidation, and fear of violence, possibly violence. But you you come at it from a different angle, and it isn't as severe. But it's, it's there, but you, you, you it's not, it's not framed the same way. As in the USA, it's more about conflict, bullying, intimidation, mental symptoms, because, you know, mental illness has mental illness, and may have different manifestations, but if there's violent ideas and fixation with with violent themes, and, you know, it's, it's the same thing. So that makes sense.

Philip Grindell:

Absolutely, absolutely. And I think, I think that's, that's such an interesting point, isn't it? Because when we, when we hear the term workplace violence, for instance, in the UK, you know, people often don't resonate with that, particularly because they think, well, we have violence in a way that others do. But but, you know, I think I think it's the same thing. It's just, it's just semantics about how you label it,

Unknown:

you know, and then and then there's really significant cultural differences, like, some some languages or cultures, there's no word for stalking. There isn't a word for it. You know, that's just the way it is. These are heavily patriarchal societies. You know, men have their way. You know, you know, there's aggressive courtship rituals. And that would be considered harassment. In the USA, in some ways, we're advanced with all of our laws about stalking and and, and abuse of women and all that, but in other cultures or other countries, it isn't. It isn't seen that that way. And there's so there's, there's there's those differences.

Philip Grindell:

Yeah, I think that's a great point. And I think certainly, in Europe, we experience a huge amount of immigration from North Africa and the Middle East and that part of the internet and what have you and so we've seen some of these these issues, particularly playing out in Germany.

Unknown:

Yeah, you do you have the you have the domestic terrorism issue. I mean, Europe has deeper history with terrorism than than we do but but the violent extremists who right wing racially motivated extremism, those are those happen all many places. So that's, that's a similarity.

Philip Grindell:

Yeah, and of course, we've just had the anniversary here, or you have rather I should say, of the, the SEC from what happened a year or so ago, but so let's move on to the waiver. 21 Because I think that's a really important thing that people perhaps may not be familiar with. So I mean, what is waiver 21?

Unknown:

WAVR21 is an acronym, the name, the full name of the instrument is workplace assessment of violence risk. 21 refers to the 21 indicators, 19 of which are risk factors for targeted violence in organisational settings. There's one item that is the protective factor, we could have had three and three or four, but it's the good news. The good news, the guy has things to live for. And then the last item is not a risk or protective factor. It's a case impact factor that we included because it's relevant, as I've been saying, and it's it's the the degree of disruption and fear created by any scenario, regardless of the objective opinion of a risk. And so that helps people keep track of that, like people are staying home, their family members are calling and saying Why don't you do something about that terrible bully, you know, the, the people are upset. They're, they're all focused on talking about this, nothing's getting done, and they're afraid. So we have that now, the waiver, Reid Malloy and I, I asked him to help me with this way back in 2005, after I had been working for Bob had been in organisations for a Gosh, 25 years anyway, but we started this threat work in 1990. So after 15 years of doing threat work, I wanted to develop an instrument, a guide. And the waiver is an example of what are known as structured professional judgement guides, or SP J's. And they are not quantitative instruments. They're not like a psycho, they're not a psychological test, there's no number that you get from zero to 100, that somebody's going to attack you. But SP J's have really come into prominence now as the as this is the state of the assessment technology that you have an instrument with risk factors for violence, as well as protective factors in certain settings, like sexual violence, or spousal assaults, or stalking, stalking risk profile. These are all instruments that are for use with different kinds of potential violence or context. And the waiver is one to use in a workplace setting. And all of the items, all the risk factors have some association that's shown with research and case studies and professional practice to have either a clear statistical association with eventual violence or their items that are highly relevant item relevance may not show a statistical relationship. But it's a very important thing to understand like the waiver includes an item number four is access to firearms. And it means access in a troubled context, what we're not trying to get rid of everybody owns a gun, the country would be empty. But we include in that item, not only that they have access and proficiency, but also brought a firearm to work. There are people who bring a firearm to work. If I'm Charlie security, and somebody says, Joe brought a gun to work, he's going to security is going to be there right now, because we don't know what it means. What it usually means is the guy wanted to show it to a co worker, or he's pushing the boundaries, he thinks it's his right to bring it okay. Or he forgot, or he wanted something delivered at work because he wanted to get it rather than at home. So this gets discovered and there's an inquiry and statistically vast majority of the time. It's nothing. It's it's stupid behaviour. However, who wants to miss the situation where a guy is bringing it in with intent to harm. So it's not a very good predictor, but it's incredibly relevant, right?

Philip Grindell:

But it's about context, isn't it? It's about

Unknown:

context. It's about context, and we wanted security people and others to learn Standard look for somebody doing that. Okay? Another. Now there's SP J structure professional judgement guides. They're not they're not actuarial instruments. It's not like how insurance companies figure out what to charge for insuring a 19 year old versus a 50 year old. Okay, guess who's more at risk statistically, okay. But we don't have those numbers. We don't have those numbers. But, but we know what to look for. We know there's lots of false positives been that that's the work. But the SPJ keeps you on track, it's a map, it says this is what you should be looking for. You should be looking for paranoid delusions, you should be looking for threats, you should be looking for loss, acute loss or acute accumulated loss target advises a lot about loss, I'm going to lose my job, my wife is divorcing me, my mortgage is upside down. I don't see a good future. I don't like how they're treating me, this is not good. You know, the world sucks. And I'm going to have something to say about it, I'm not going to be a helpless victim. So we're looking for those things. And one unique item in that waiver, because it's for workplaces or universities, is extreme job or academic attachment. So the guy says, You can't fire me, I'm the best engineer you've ever had, I have no future, I'm lost. You can't, my family sent me from across the world to go to this famous university in America, I can't fail here, you have to understand, I don't have any other choice. I can't go home, I'll be shamed. I'll be shamed, which is an emotion we look for. And it's a social emotion. And socially mediated. Shame is, you know, real or imagined. Audience looking down on you as, as defective. As, as you know, not a member of the community, it's isolating. So the guy, the student who says I can't go home, he's trapped. He's psychologically trapped. So that's, that's the bind. We're looking for people who are who are in that bind. And so the waiver and by the way, there's we had a second edition in 2010, and a third edition in 2016, which was greatly expanded to include more campus material. Now highly relevant item and campus context is alcohol abuse and use. It's, that's one of the reasons you go to college, you go to parties, and they emphasise heavy drinking, and scoring. Okay, I have to tell you what scoring is anyway. So, you know, that's a different context. That's part of the culture, you know, an organization's culture and the nature of their business influences the definition of their risk landscape. Okay, if I'm a public utility, I have to deal with terrorists wanting to attack my electrical grids, because they're trying to start a revolution by disrupting the infrastructure, okay. So that because of the nature of my business, that's a risk factor I have, if I'm an academic setting, and I've got foreign students are from America, who, who are sent to school, to bring pride to the family, and they fail. They flee because there's, those are contextual, or cultural issues. Yeah. Yeah, go into in the assessment of an individual, we have

Philip Grindell:

very similar issues in the in the UK, we know we have students that come so as you know, you'll be aware some of them some of our significant universities here. And again, if they're, you know, a there's the financial contribution their family have made and the sacrifice and all that sort of stuff. And there's the reputation and what have you, and, and, you know, it's a slightly different story, but But an interesting way of looking at is, I don't know if you're familiar with the Gurkha soldiers. So these are these soldiers that come from the mountains of Nepal. Right. And they're, they're an elite part of the British army. But what they had to do was they have these training camps every year where all these young boys travelled from various parts of Nepal to this British army training camp. Yeah. And to fail was considered to be shameful for your family. Yeah. And so over the revealing

Unknown:

universal risk factor, that's a universal human situation. Go ahead.

Philip Grindell:

So the so the, on the on the ravines, as you kind of approach to training camps, that they had big nets and what have you, because of course, traditionally what there's kids, these young boys would throw themselves off the ravine, rather than go home in shame. So it's, you know, it's the same emotion, different contexts, perhaps, but it's the same issue in terms of

Unknown:

you got notes the same issue and it reminds me of not a clinical factor, but there's the ethical concept of honour and dishonour. And it's not something you measure. But I've talked about it and read about and we bring it into training, it's like, you know, what, what is honour for a man? And honour is a, there's the implication that you, you are you have mastered or are mastering something of importance, you're, you're doing something worthy, okay? And, and you are honoured by a, an a peer group qualified to say, this is an honourable guy, okay, he's pursuing a good path. He's respected. He's getting somewhere, that's a good thing. He's a provider. Okay, this is another issue we have here, people losing jobs, and large scales. And so if I fail, in that I'm dishonoured. The peer group does not reflect back to me that I'm an honourable person, you know, and we're very hard on people who, who lose out in the workforce, in these large numbers. And this is one of the reasons this is an attraction to the conspiracy, theory, theory, groups and extremism. Because on the internet, you can find a new group, a community that you will belong to who will restore your honour, you can be one of us. And we know things that other people don't know. And we have explanations for why you got screwed, and we're going to do something about it, or talk like we're going to do something about it. So all of a sudden, I'm, I'm emboldened I belong. And if you look at the histories of people who get attracted to these extremist groups, there's very often a very hard life. They've had losses, rejections, failures. And some of it's their own doing. But also, there's social factors. I mean, we have not been very good to the blue collar workers here in the last 50 years. And now we're paying for so with with, with the internet, you know, amplifying all these alternatives to just be in a nobody in a trailer somewhere in the mountains, drinking and looking at your firearms,

Philip Grindell:

if that makes sense. That brings in the kind of Insell community as well, isn't it in that same context around a disenfranchised group of people who feel dishonoured or disrespected? or what have you?

Unknown:

Yeah, yeah, they're Insell. The involuntary celibate, it's mostly young men. And to be fair, the vast majority are they do not endorse violence, but they have a belief that they put all the blame on, on the women and women are dehumanised. And they're seen as you know, sex is rejected, except for procreation, and continuing the population, but you get a belief that validates you a belief system that validates you that what's wrong is outside of you, not inside of you, you know, in courtship and dating, now, those are difficult things. For a lot of people, it's stressful in an adolescence, it's, it's hard, you know, when there's pressure to have a relationship or to have sex or whatever. And if it's not happening, then you can get depressed and unhappy. And then somebody speaks to you like, you know, what, you know, what's really going on. And we see those cases in, in workplace scenarios. As well, as you know, there's a fair number of cases that involve some level of paranoia, an irrational fear of malicious intent from others, you know, that there they are going to attack you. And we're very concerned about the paranoid individual who, who harms himself or even herself, waiting for that persecutor to show up, I'm going to be ready, if they come from me, or I'm even going to attack them before. They come to me. And it's all delusional. And it's a serious problem and they can be secretive, even though they leak things out. So you have that but the point I want to make is the paranoid individuals have functioning, you know, they're not just babbling psychotically they have jobs, you know, but they're suspicious and mistrustful and humourless, and they and they keep journals about coworkers they think are up against them. And what happens is now that we get cases where they've been on these websites, that are a convention of paranoid people, and the message is, you're right, there really is a virus coming through the ventilating system. People really are hacking your computer, you're not crazy, you're not paranoid. It's other people really doing these bad things to you. So you have this messaging. You know, the internet's great for buying a shirt without having to go downtown, but there's a lot, it's not so good. But that's, but it's like you have these counter narratives that reinforce people's beliefs, and make them feel like they belong. Now, I, I before at times, I gotta, I got to say one more thing about the waiver. I mean, come back to these other things. But the the waiver is a map. But you always will need your professional judgement, or your clinical judgement, if you're a clinician, you have you know, you have 21 factors on the waiver. Well, this case, so far, looks like we have seven or eight factors. Okay, so but then how do we put that all together? How do we see the dots, identify the dots, connect the dots and interpret the dots? See, and that's the computer between your ears. And that's the judgement that's necessary in his work that comes with increasing experience, of course, the more the more cases you do, the more you understand all these nuances. I look back on my career, and I realised, you know, how uncertain I was, and how uncertain the people around me were, who were doing this work, we just had the guts to jump in, and try to figure it out. And then eventually, you get more competent, but the judgement and and the dynamics among the people doing the work on the team that matters. Some people are great at it, some people are not, some people are very black and white. He did this, we do that. No, no, no, no, no, we're going to do it this way. And, and it's that influences the whole, the whole process. So there's a we look for people on to be on these teams who play well in the sandbox have good judgement, they're stable, they're resilient, they're willing to be in a hot kitchen, and respect to other people, and to speak up. And that's, that's the team dynamic. You know, we've learned from studies of airline cockpit crews and surgical teams, you know, some nurse didn't speak up, when the doc was about to cut the wrong thing, or the copilot was afraid to speak up to the captain. And, you know, those those studies influenced this, this kind of work, it's like, you got to go speak truth to power?

Philip Grindell:

Do you foresee it anyway? Do you foresee a time Stephen where, you know, artificial intelligence and machine learning will take over this and be able to sort of, you know, you, you feel like you check all your boxes on your waiver, and it comes up and tells you what you should do?

Unknown:

Well, I suppose so. Because it's, it's all over? I'm not an expert in that in that area. And but everything I see seems to say like we're all going to be replaced by an intuitive robots. I don't I don't know. But, but sure. I mean, there there is great work going on with with the cyber field about this, and how much more can we improve things by by using complex algorithms and all and it's fine. You know, what we do is we use things that that help, you know, like, the physician takes your temperature, he takes your heartbeat he, he does all these different things, takes your history and he puts it all together, tell you how sick you are, what to do, and whatever is helpful. But you also recognise the limitations of certain things like if we have a case, but we never got to interview the guy. We're not going to be as confident in our opinion as we would if we did do an interview at cetera. So AI may may help I'm sure it will. It'll be interesting to see as time goes on, but I certainly can't speak to the details of the research that's going on but you know that I'm sure they'll there'll be a bunch of

Philip Grindell:

for me, it's always been about context and everything you Yeah, everything you have to deal with is context. And so yeah, that's where the judgement comes in. Because if you're just ticking a box, yes, you just ticking boxes along it and it comes out,

Unknown:

you can't. You can't check boxes. We tell people that but at least they have a map. You know, if I'm in San Francisco, and I want to go to New York, I know if I just get in the car and start driving east. I don't know when or where. Wind up. Yeah, but if I have a roadmap, is it okay, it says to get on this highway? Yeah. But it doesn't tell me where that it's going to snow in Missouri. Yeah, or that the road is out in, you know, Illinois, unless I have data systems that show me that or, gee, should I keep driving after 5pm? Because I've been driving since 6am. So I'm kind of tired. I have to make a judgement. You know,

Philip Grindell:

but we're looking at we're looking at home, we we're looking at behaviours, fundamentally.

Unknown:

Yeah. behaviour and motive that the bottom line is, who's motivated, to act violently, to make a point, to solve a problem, to end pain to bring attention to something to get revenge who's motivated to do that, knowing that it's going to cost them their life, or their freedom. And they're willing to pay that price. It's like the violence is, this goes back to de Becker and others, it's like, I have an issue which and the alternatives to solving it do not work for me legal, or just working, getting over it, you know, morning, whatever, none of those work for me. I've been humiliated, the violence is justified. And I'm willing, I have the means to do it, have the capacity to do it, and are willing to pay the price. See, I'm looking for the guy who, for whom violence is a restoration of pride. James Gilligan is a psychiatrist who studied the worst murderers, in prison. And he done some very good writing. But he said, in his opinion, violence is an attempt to restore to overcome unbearable feelings of shame, and replace it with pride. I killed a bunch of people, you have to respect me now. You have to pay attention and respect me now. I'm gone. But I'm, I'm living on the internet with all the other antiheroes. And it's a, it's a logical decision for me, and I'm fine with it. And that's the that's the scenario that that we hope is not present. But what we're looking for.

Philip Grindell:

Can we can we just touch briefly on the pathway to violence? Because because it's something that I think it's a fantastic model. And you know, can you just talk about that in terms of how that fits into the waiver and your work about? Well about this?

Unknown:

Yeah, this the pathway, originally, ideas from the US Marshals and great writing, by Ted Calhoun, and Steve Weston. And then, you know, further developed by a lot of others, but it's the pathway shows how someone gets from a grievance, a very broad sense of grievance to an attack, okay. And the thing that I tell people is look at, if you're going to kill somebody, it's a project, you have to plan it. I mean, there's impulsive violence, but then there's predatory targeted planned violence. It's, it's, there's emotions with it, but not during the attack, you know, those are all under control. You have to, if you think about, okay, I'm, I'm going to kill somebody, how am I going to do that? Let's see, I have to get access, I have to figure out how to do it. I have to have a good reason. Because it's, it's the end. And and that's, it's all, it's all got to be figured out. And some pathways they go, it starts with a grievance. It very gentle someone's very specific, you know, you fired me. But then there's all the backdrop that says, I can't tolerate these kinds of things. I've been putting up with it my whole life. But it could just be I'm a young man, I'm marginalised. I'm going nowhere. Everybody else is. My life's a dead end. I'm depressed. I have no friends. Well, this was this will show people and so there's the grievance. There's loss, anger, humiliation, and blame. Okay. and blaming is very big in this, okay, so we've all had grievances, we've all been rejected, we've all had disappointments, but we get over it, it's part of growing up and maturing, you know, and you can think back on things and get all upset again, but you get over it, you get on with it, more or less. The next step, though, is violent ideas. And we've all had fantasies, where we, you know, things we think about doing that we're not going to do, but they make us feel good. You know, gee, would feel good. If that girl rejected me in high school, if the next her next boyfriend would reject her, and hurt her feelings, that would feel good to me. But I'm not going to do anything about that. But so the violent ideas, boost esteem and people hold on to them, it's like, you know, this feels kind of good. Okay, and they may nurture it. Okay, it could be very quick pathway or years in developing, I go from that to violent ideas. And then I start to think about the actual preparation and the planning, okay, the planning that you know, the details that the sitting down and figuring it all out, so to speak. And then you go to the next stage of, Okay, it's time to go practice at the firing range, I gotta, I gotta get a weapon or another weapon. The one I want to use for this attack, as opposed to hunting or target shooting. And I got to, I got to get competent and in practice, okay, I got to figure out where everybody's going to be Where's, where's the target rich place? Am I going to go to a mall where there's lots of people and eat targets will be easy? Am I going to go to the team meeting at work, where I was humiliated by my supervisor, I'm going to go into that same meeting, and I'm gonna kill everybody there. So I'm thinking of the place the time, the method how I'm going to keep secrecy. At the same time, I'm leaking out. You know, as Paul Gill says, you know, these guys can't help themselves. They just kind of tell somebody, they're not Navy SEALs, you know, they don't know about operational secrecy. Very good. They're sloppy, their guns jam, you know. But of course, they do. Great, terrible harm. So then there's, there's that final preparation for the attack. And maybe there's these these can be very subtle, the goodbye, nuances. A guy who calls his mother and says, Mom, I just want you to know I love you. And it's, you know, it's July the 20th. It's not Mother's Day. It's not her birthday. Why are you Why is he calling me? Why he's never does this, you know, he usually forgets about his day. Now he's telling me he loves me wonder what's going on? Please, saying goodbye. You know, Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista mass murderer, I wrote a case study of him. He didn't say goodbye to people. And they knew he was suicidal. They were worried about him. But he, he he videotaped visiting parks and public parks where he is nostalgically that he really enjoyed was when he was a kid. He said, There's the swing. There's, there's the the jungle gym that boy, this was so nice. When I did this as a little boy, he was saying goodbye. And if you only saw that video, you wouldn't get it. But if you had other contextual information when he's saying goodbye, you know,

Philip Grindell:

we get there. We had a terrorist in the UK a couple of years ago, a few years ago, when, when I was working in the Houses of Parliament who attacked parliament. Yeah, and killed one of our colleagues. And one of the interesting things he did was he went and saw his mother who he who he was estranged from. And when he left her, he said, they're gonna say I'm a terrorist, but I'm not. You know, and I always sort of say, if I said that, to my mom was I'm leaving the house. My mom's thinking, how do you want about? You know, it was him saying goodbye to her. And, you know, he won't, you know, he was a stranger that was, he turned up to say goodbye. And they're gonna say things about me, but they're not true.

Unknown:

Yeah, interesting point here is that sometimes families are the ones who stopped these things, you know, the thwarted attacks, they can see their father, their husband, their son, going sideways, and they'll plead with him, or they'll call in and say, you know, we're worried about our son. And we appreciate that they call we say, Thank you, you know, we don't want anything to happen to your son or anybody else. So let's, let's do something about this, you know, because they're afraid you're gonna just hammer the guy. I mean, it all depends, but families are, they're a wildcard, but they can be a great help in these situations. But so that's the that's the pathway. And we're looking for those indicators that people have these the motive, they they have the capacity. And they have the opportunity. The last stage which things are shifting from assessment to tactical response, and just waiting

Philip Grindell:

to be diffused? I'm sorry, does it have to end in violence? Or could they go on the same pathway with the end objective to cause mass disruption rather than mass violence

Unknown:

they could they could just want to sabotage and cause disruption. Case many years ago, a guy who took his wife to accompany party and coworker flirted with her and they wound up having an affair, she had an extramarital affair, and the husband of cuckolded husband sent out this mass email telling everybody in the company, what a rat, this guy was. And I interviewed and I said, Help me understand what's going on. He was a decent guy who was terribly hurt. And he said, I just wanted to ruin this guy's reputation, that's all dark, you know, I'm not going to kill him. And if they fire me, okay, I'm willing to pay that price. See, it's like, what's, what was he trying to accomplish? What he felt. And I, I felt empathic for him empathy for him, you know,

Philip Grindell:

he's humiliated. And then he's responding to remediate it.

Unknown:

And he was trying to correct that. And, and I understood that and see, and I could help the company understand that so that they don't miss label him as Oh, god, he's gonna go on and do what the guy did last week at some post office or other organisation, and no, no, no, want to understand what's at stake and what price people will pay or not pay. And, frankly, you save some people from being discriminated against, and the lawyers like that they like to do due process of objective assessment and fairness. And, and the workforce will. The word will get around, you know, this protocol, it's pretty good. You know, these guys know what they're doing. And they're respectful. And, you know, women aren't afraid to bring forward that their ex boyfriends threatening them at work, you know, because they don't want to lose their job. They're embarrassed all of that. And as long as they cooperate with our investigation, then we're good. Not gonna lose your job. It's not your fault. He's a solid. So. So anyway, that's, that's, that's the path when we're looking for people who are we're looking for ambivalence. I'm thinking about it, but I don't want to do it. I'm thinking about it. But I don't want to do it. You know, can we bring them down? Can they bring themselves down? Or not? Like, nope, I'm on the way. And it feels great.

Philip Grindell:

Steven, I could carry on talking to you all night. But I'm conscious that your time is precious. And you've given us nearly an hour of it already. So I just wanted to say a huge thank you. It's been, it's been a real privilege for me to sit here and chat with you for the last hour and our previous conversation as well. I'm so so grateful for you for coming on this podcast. It's going to be invaluable to the listeners to hear your thoughts and your wisdom on this subject.

Unknown:

Well, I certainly appreciate being invited Philip, as grant talking to you and I appreciate the work that you're doing and these podcasts and listened to several and it's it's really, it's really cool thing. So I thank you and the next time I'm in London, I expect you to take me to your favourite pub. Absolutely have a fight to get

Philip Grindell:

everybody privileged. Yeah, definitely. Well, Steven, thank you so much. Thank you so much for that, and it'll be out very soon.

Unknown:

Okay, very good. Phil. Thank you, James. Thank you. Record