Worker Being Fired Kills Five Employees at Illinois Plant

A 15-year employee also wounded five law enforcement officers before being killed by police. The incident happened at a valve manufacturer in Aurora, 40 miles west of Chicago.

A 15-year employee being fired from a valve manufacturer in suburban Chicago started shooting Friday, killing five co-workers and wounding five police officers before he was killed by police, reports the Associated Press. Aurora, Il., Police Chief Kristen Ziman said  Gary Martin, 45, “was being terminated” before he started shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. in the city 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago. In addition to the five employees killed, a sixth worker was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life threatening.

Ziman said officers arrived within four minutes of receiving reports of the shooting and were fired on as soon as they entered the 29,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. “May God bless the brave law enforcement officers who continue to run toward danger,” said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. John Probst, a fellow employee, told ABC7,  “What I saw was the guy running down the aisle with a pistol with a laser on it.” Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said, “It’s a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country. It’s a shame that a cold and heartless offender would be so selfish as to think he has the right to take an innocent life.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Lessons from Las Vegas Shooting: Focus on First Responders

In a presentation to Nevada lawmakers Wednesday, officials reflecting on the emergency response to the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting said that first responders should be dispersed between the scene of a major incident and area hospitals to help with the influx of patients.

In a presentation to Nevada lawmakers Wednesday, officials reflecting on the emergency response to the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting said that first responders should be dispersed between the scene of a major incident and area hospitals to help with the influx of patients, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Metropolitan Police Lt. Branden Clarkson and Clark County Deputy Fire Chief Jon Klassen gave an hour-long briefing to the Assembly Health and Human Services committee meeting, the first of the 2019 legislative session.

It was the first time a review of the response to the incident was formally presented to legislators. “We should’ve gone to the area hospitals … as opposed to throwing resources at a crowd running past us,” Klassen said, adding that the department is working with hospitals to create a mass casualty incident plan that would allow for emergency responders to help with triage and transport at hospitals.

see also: Would Stricter Background Checks on Firearm Purchasers Prevent Mass Shootings?

from https://thecrimereport.org

Officials Share Lessons from Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Officials said that in the event of an incident like a mass shooting, first responders should be dispersed between the scene and area hospitals to help with the influx of patients.

In a presentation to Nevada lawmakers Wednesday, officials reflecting on the emergency response to the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting said that first responders should be dispersed between the scene of a major incident and area hospitals to help with the influx of patients, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Metropolitan Police Lt. Branden Clarkson and Clark County Deputy Fire Chief Jon Klassen gave an hour-long briefing to the Assembly Health and Human Services committee meeting, the first of the 2019 legislative session.

It was the first time a review of the response to the incident was formally presented to legislators. “We should’ve gone to the area hospitals … as opposed to throwing resources at a crowd running past us,” Klassen said, adding that the department is working with hospitals to create a mass casualty incident plan that would allow for emergency responders to help with triage and transport at hospitals.

from https://thecrimereport.org

FBI Concludes It Cannot Explain Las Vegas Shooter’s Motives

Despite convening a panel of experts and devoting more time and resources to its investigation, the FBI reaches the same uncertain conclusion that local police announced last summer.

Nearly six months after Las Vegas police failed to explain the motive of the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest festival shooter who killed 58 and wounded hundreds more in 2017, the FBI has reached the same inconclusive conclusion, the Las Vegas Reivew-Journal reports. Though the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit convened a panel of expert with access to troves of evidence, the only firm conclusion was that heavily armed gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, firing from a hotel high rise, acted alone.

In a list of 10 key findings, the FBI report — the agency’s first documentation from its investigation of the 10-minute attack — paints a picture of a largely apathetic man, declining in physical and mental health as he aged, who may have seen the attack as a way to attain infamy. Paddock killed himself as police closed in on his hotel room. Stacie Armentrout, co-founder of a Route 91 survivors group, expressed disappointment that the FBI released so much less information in this case compared to the more than 1,500 pages of documents released after the 2012 Connecticut school shooting. “Fifteen months later, and we get a three-page report with little to nothing in it that we didn’t already know?” she told the Review-Journal.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Parkland Shooting One Year Later: A Lesson for the Media

As the first anniversary of the Parkland, Fl.,school massacre nears, two researchers offer some suggestions for how media coverage of mass shooting can avoid the “copycat” phenomenon.

On Feb. 14, the nation will mark the first anniversary of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fl., that claimed the precious lives of 17 students and teachers. In the year following that massacre, there were at least 53 additional incidents of gunfire on high school and college campuses around the country.

As Americans learned the names and saw the faces of these killers and victims, fear and outrage grew.

The 24-hour news coverage of the Parkland massacre was typical, and seemingly based on the assumptions of reporters and TV news producers that consumers are drawn to stories of mass murder because of morbid curiosity. Thus, much of the Parkland coverage focused on the killer’s background and apparent motivation, as well as the plight of his victims.

The grisly scenes of mass carnage, the videos of students running for their lives from the school building, and the tearful responses of the victims’ families and friends undoubtedly aroused collective empathy among news consumers around the country.

Many audience members surely identified with the innocent victims and their families, and also looked to news reports for “red flags” that might prevent future attacks. The problem, though, is that excessive attention to a mass murderer and his victims also fuels the dreaded copycat phenomenon.

In addition to those who sympathize with the victims, unfortunately there are at least a few in the audience who identify with the killer. In these cases, they sadistically enjoy viewing the grisly consequences of a school shooting while studying the details, perhaps in hopes of replicating (or even outdoing) that violence elsewhere in the future.

In this way, news reports about a mass murder may serve as a training session for potential killers who use the tragic circumstances of a school massacre as inspiration.

For nearly 20 years, school shooters in countries around the world have referred to the April 20, 1999 slaughter at Columbine High School as their model for gaining fame and enacting revenge. Some killers, particularly those who do not expect to survive their planned attack, leave behind letters, manifestos, photographs and videos that explain their rationale, often in hopes of media outlets around the world publishing their material.

*The killers who intend to survive may envision their name in the headlines, their image on TV, or perhaps even a documentary about their life. Some killers just want to be recognized and remembered — to live on in infamy — and often that’s exactly what we give them.

As part of efforts to combat these dangerous messages in U.S. news stories and to lessen the inspiration for would-be murderers seeking fame, several crime scholars have applied increasing pressure on news media outlets to change the ways they cover incidents of mass murder.

Stop Publishing Killer’s Name?

Criminologists Adam Lankford and Eric Madfis proposed that news organizations stop publishing the names and photographs of these killers, and the “No Notoriety” campaign adds to that list killers’ self-created content like videos, artwork, and manifestos. The idea is to eliminate the potential for recognition or fame that motivates many of these killers.

It seems that some journalists are heeding the call, as the killer’s name was sparingly used in reports about the Parkland school massacre.

Moreover, CNN’s Anderson Cooper has indicated he will avoid the names and identifying characteristics in future coverage of high-profile mass shootings.

An alternative avenue for news outlets is to focus more coverage on the heroic responders who are involved in mass murder incidents, such as students, faculty, staff members and security personnel who demonstrate bravery in dire circumstances.

It appears that there were more than a few heroes at the Parkland school when the shooting began, including the janitor who ushered numerous students out of the hallway, the 15-year-old student who died holding the door open so that others could escape, the football coach who lost his life after stepping in front of the killer’s bullets to protect students, and the geography teacher who shielded his students from gunfire.

Crime has long been one of the most widely followed news topics, so news outlets may hesitate to change their coverage because of concerns about declining sales. Yet public interest in crime news does not necessarily mean that consumers are getting what they want from that coverage.

An Experiment

In fact, we recently published an experiment that was designed to examine the source of consumer interest in news about extreme acts of fatal violence, and the findings produced some potentially important, if counterintuitive, results.

Jack Levin

Jack Levin

We first developed three versions of a hypothetical news story about a massacre at a high school, including photographs (one of a teenage boy and one of a school building with students filing out), headlines, a pull quote, and a paragraph of the story.  All versions included identical elements and differed only by the story focus: One centered on the life of the killer, one on the killer’s first victim, and one on a courageous student who helped to save lives.

The versions were randomly assigned to more than 200 respondents so that one-third read about the mass killer, one-third read about the victim, and one-third read about the heroic student. All respondents were then asked whether they wanted to read more of the news story.

Our findings revealed that respondents were significantly more interested in reading about the heroic efforts of a student who saved lives, compared to stories about the killer or one of his victims.

Our study suggests that sensational reporting that contains grisly details of a heinous crime may actually repel consumers who are more interested in learning about heroic behavior at the crime scene.

Julie Wiest

Julie Wiest

Moreover, focusing on heroism at the site of a horrific school shooting may offer an additional advantage for society: If the copycat effect works to inspire potential killers, it might also work to motivate rescuers who risk their lives to save others.

 Levin is professor emeritus and co-director of the Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University. Wiest is an associate professor of sociology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. They are co-authors of The Allure of Premeditated Murder, published in 2018. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Gunman Kills 5 at Florida Bank

A gunman killed five people at SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Fla. Wednesday afternoon before surrendering to a SWAT team.

A 21-year-old man entered a SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Fl., Wednesday afternoon, shot at least five people dead, then barricaded himself in the bank before surrendering to a SWAT team, The Miami Herald reports. Sebring police and the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office named the murder suspect as 21-year-old Sebring resident Zephen Xaver. The identities of the five people killed haven’t been released yet. According to reports, the man contacted the Sebring police around 12:36 p.m. and said he’d fired shots inside the bank, drawing officers to the SunTrust branch. “After negotiations to try to get the barricaded subject to exit the bank were not successful, the HCSO SWAT team entered the bank and continued the negotiations,” the Sebring police said. “The suspect eventually surrendered to the HCSO SWAT team.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Criminals And Guns-Why Cops Are Concerned

Highlights A very high percentage of violent offenders use or carry firearms per federal sources. What this means for police-involved shootings and public policy. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former […]

The post Criminals And Guns-Why Cops Are Concerned appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

Highlights A very high percentage of violent offenders use or carry firearms per federal sources. What this means for police-involved shootings and public policy. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former […]

The post Criminals And Guns-Why Cops Are Concerned appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

After Mass Shooting, Public Wants Stories of ‘Heroes’, Not Shooters: Study

A series of studies of news coverage of mass shootings also found that whites involved in mass shootings are more likely to be associated with mental illness than African Americans.

Americans are more interested in reading stories that focused on courageous bystanders  after a mass shooting than on the shooters or their victims, according to a study in the American Behavioral Scientist.

Researchers who conducted an electronic survey of 212 adults, aged 35 to 44 years, to examine their interest in reading different kinds of news coverage of a school shooting, called it an example of “information-seeking behavior.”

The study “Covering Mass Murder: An Experimental Examination of the Effect of News Focus — Killer, Victim, or Hero — on Reader Interest” was part of an aggregate of studies compiled by the Jack Levin, a professor emeritus at Northeastern University, and Julie B. Wiest, a sociologist at West Chester University.

“Although all stories suggested a certain threat, those that focused on the killer and victim offered uncertain solutions … which may explain why they were less interesting to subjects.”

A second study conducted by Ohio State University researchers found that whites involved in mass shootings are more likely to be associated with mental illness in media coverage than African Americans.

Researchers concluded that “the odds that white shooters will receive the mental illness frame are roughly 19 times greater than the odds for black shooters.”

The study, “Mental Illness, the Media, and the Moral Politics of Mass Violence: The Role of Race in Mass Shootings Coverage,” was based on an analysis of news articles written about mass shootings between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2015, in an effort to examine how journalists portray perpetrators of different ethnicities.

“The odds that a Latino shooter will receive the mental illness frame are roughly 12 times greater when compared to Blacks,” the study said.

The study was published in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. 

In a third study, researchers examined journalists’ attitudes about news coverage of mass shootings in the U.S. and found that journalists, though by a small margin, agreed that coverage is “sensational” and most agreed that the way newsrooms cover these events “is an ethical issue.”

“Most journalists were in favor of perpetrator coverage and did not believe it glamorized suspected perpetrators,” the study concluded.

“Most news workers likely do not want to believe that their work contributes to further carnage and suffering, despite evidence showing that fame-seeking mass shooters and a contagion effect do, in fact, exist.”

The study “Covering Mass Shootings: Journalists’ Perceptions of Coverage and Factors Influencing Attitudes” was published in the Journalism Practice journal.

In a fourth study, researchers examined The New York Times’ coverage of 90 mass shootings between 2000 and 2012 to see how to see how factors such as victim counts, the location of a shooting and the shooter’s race affect the newsworthiness of each event.

The researchers found that race/ethnicity and victim counts are the most salient predictor of whether or not a shooting was covered, with perpetrators of Asian and other descent and those events with higher victim counts generating more prominent coverage. The also found that incidents occurring in locations other than schools garnered less coverage.

The study, “Mass Shootings and the Media: Why All Events Are Not Created Equal,” was published in Journal of Crime and Justice.

In the final study of the compilation, researchers examined New York Times articles stretching back 50 years and found that massacres at schools, government buildings and religious institutions got more coverage than those occurring at businesses.

Also, shooters of Middle Eastern descent received more coverage than shooters of other races.

The study, “The Media’s Coverage of Mass Public shootings in America: Fifty Years of Newsworthiness,” was published in the International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice.

This summary was prepared by TCR News Intern Gabriel Ware.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Could ‘Red Flag’ Laws Reduce Gun Violence Among the Elderly?

A University of Arizona researcher argues that special protection orders allowing police or family members to remove access to guns from dangerously unstable individuals, now in place in 13 states, can reduce firearm deaths among the elderly, who are most at risk for committing suicide with a firearm.

Although the recent development of red flag laws across several states is intended to prevent mass gun violence, these laws also have the potential to reduce gun violence among older adults, according to a research paper published in Arizona Legal Studies.

More than 30 states have introduced or plan to introduce red flag laws, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders. These laws allow law enforcement⸺and, in eight states, family or household members⸺to file a petition for a court order to temporarily remove a person’s access to guns when they show “red flags” in exhibiting dangerous behavior.

Tara Sklar, a health law professor at the University of Arizona, surveyed the 13 states that have enacted variations of red flag laws, and examined how these laws could be applied to older adults. He concluded that the most effective laws in regard to protecting older adults are those that allow family members and health professionals to file court orders rather than giving law enforcement and state attorneys sole authority.

“The red flag laws that limit petitioners to law enforcement only, or in Vermont’s case the state’s attorney or the office of the attorney general, may be too restrictive for families and household members of elderly gun owners who are much closer to observing a pattern of violent behavior,” Sklar wrote.

Sklar argued a key positive element in the passage of state red flag laws was that they encouraged family members and health professionals to have a conversation about aging and the escalated risk of violence when elderly people suffering from associated health or behavioral problems had access to guns.

Suicide in late life is a growing issue across America.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that older adults commit suicide at a disproportionately higher rate compared to the general population. Men aged 65 and over are more likely to commit suicide than Americans of all other age groups, and three-quarters of them use a gun.

This year, a study found red flag laws in Connecticut and Indiana have been effective for preventing gun violence among older adults when they may be at risk of committing harm to themselves. The authors found a nearly 14 percent reduction in suicides with a gun in Connecticut since 2007.

Indiana’s red flag law was associated with 7.5 fewer suicides following the law’s passage in 2005.

The number of states with red flag laws has doubled since the mass school shooting in Parkland, Fl., in February 2018. Over a quarter of states have enacted such laws.

Aside from red flag laws, there is no clear legal process to restrict access to guns, even temporarily, for non-mentally ill people displaying dangerous behavior.

“Until there is federal action, states will likely continue to draft and pass red flag laws or similar variations,” Sklar writes.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

J. Gabriel Ware is a TCR news intern. Readers’  comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

CA Bar Killer Posted on Social Media Before, During Attack

“I hope people call me insane,” said Ian Long on Facebook before he killed 12 people at a California bar last week. Facebook and Instagram, where Long also posted, deleted his accounts.

Ian Long, the gunman who killed 12 people at a California bar, posted on Facebook and Instagram immediately before and during the massacre, the Wall Street Journal reports. Investigators are trying to determine why Long, 28, opened fire Wednesday night at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Ca., during its weekly country-music dance party for college students. A Facebook post published to his account around the time of the attack said, “I hope people call me insane… (laughing emojis).. wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah.. I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’.. or ‘keep you in my thoughts’… every time… and wonder why these keep happening…”

Long’s profiles on Facebook and Instagram, which the social-media giant owns, were deleted after the attack because Facebook doesn’t allow mass killers to have a presence on its platforms. Those who served in the military with Long recalled him on Facebook as a “great marine.” Some posted their phone numbers and implored fellow soldiers to call them if they are having any mental-health issues. The Ventura County Sheriff said Long may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. After leaving the military in 2013, Long made an effort to enroll in the Department of Veterans Affairs system, but quit the process before receiving any health-care benefits. It wasn’t clear why  Long didn’t complete the VA application process. The agency has made an effort to promote health care, especially mental health services. “Almost no one gets turned away for mental health,” said Lou Celli of the American Legion.

from https://thecrimereport.org