Police Psychology: Stop the Murder!

Posted: June 8, 2017 in Public Information Bureau
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Police Psychology:  Stop the Murder!

by Dr. Gary S. Aumiller

Enough is enough!  In fourteen days, there has been a wholesale killing of people in a concert in Manchester, at a tourist site in England, and a guy with a hammer attacking people in Paris, in the shadow of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  My wife said after the second attack that our 10-year old will never be able to visit Europe like we did without thinking about danger.  She’s at the age where she would be at an Ariana Grande concert and we would have taken her there.  And we certainly have been on the London Bridge when we were in London and at the Basilica when we were in Paris.  These sites are only about 200 miles apart.  It’s like 3 attacks from New York to Baltimore, or San Francisco to Fresno, or Miami to Orlando.  How do we Stop the Murder!

Obviously, allowing Sharia courts of law (the UK has at least 85) and setting up their own government is not going to help terrorism.  Allowing open borders doesn’t seem to help terrorism, circa 2017.  And constantly repeating statements like “we are all immigrants” does not help terrorism.  What is the secret, and where do we go from here?  I mean other groups have assimilated into American culture.  I can’t remember a story about an Amish person killing people or knocking down a building.  The European Jews, Chinese, French, and Italians seem to have assimilated well, sometimes even into their own separate neighborhoods.  As far as home grown, Mormon religions are non-violent, as are the Jehovah’s Witness.  They may be annoying proselytizers, but really we can shut a door on them without worrying about being blown up.   What is the difference and can police psychology help us understand how to handle this new terrorism better?

I go back to an article I co-authored with the Australian terrorism expert Dr. Geoff Dean.  We said you have to consider mental health as important factor, the abuse of women, the type of extreme thought, radicalization, and being disenfranchised and disengaged.  It would seem that true vetting would take these items into consideration.  But the big consideration that needs to be evaluated is the attitude of the people in a country and of the immigrant attitude.  When people go to any country, they need to see that there are set rules and laws that the country operates under.   If you don’t respect the rules you shouldn’t be let in.  If you lose respect for those rules, you should be let out. 

We have laws against making threats against others.  When someone has the means to follow through on the threat and it causes fear, it is called a criminal threat.  The person’s lawyer will argue that it is a first amendment “right” and it is just words, but most states have a criminal threat law and it definitely is not a “right.”  If an immigrant is found guilty of making a criminal threat, they can be deported.  If they are found guilty and the court acts the way it should.  It frequently doesn’t.  (Imagine someone making a threat to blow up the White House to get rid of a certain president on National TV and nothing happened other than a little criticism — couldn’t happen right?).  The question becomes more what happens when someone knows about a criminal threat and doesn’t report it.  This is where the law is more shaky.

Many say you don’t have to report if you know of a crime to be permitted or having been committed.  Again, it can easily be argued away by a good attorney.  This has to change in my opinion.  It is interesting that in New York, psychologists are mandated reporters if there is a child abuse situation, or an elder abuse situation, but if someone threatens to blow up Madison Square Garden full of little girls, I can just walk away (I wouldn’t by the way).   That doesn’t make sense.  We need to establish with our own citizens a mandated reporter sensibility.  Have a well-publicized hotline for criminal threats (not just the local police department), and let’s put some serious limits on what people see as acceptable.  It should be a crime to not report a criminal threat.  People should not use their judgement as to whether it is a viable threat, particularly if it is a family member.  That’s what juries are for.  That much is plain and simple.

Regarding immigrants, it should be a felony and deportable crime to know of someone making criminal threats and not reporting it.  Every immigrant or refugee should know that is the rule in this country, there is no Sharia law here.  When this attitude is communicated and understood, and becomes part of the culture, we will be much better off.  Police psychology could help in this area.  When Donald Trump or his speech writer wrote “Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land, and drive them out of this earth.”  That is the attitude of reporting that we need to have in every neighborhood, whether it is Christian, Muslim or Amish.

I know a few Muslims, Americans and otherwise, and frankly they are very patriotic and stand fast with America and with me as a Christian friend.  With some, I have different political beliefs but we respect the others right to stand strong with their beliefs.  I find it interesting none of my Muslim friends called for a Facebook ban on anyone that voted for Clinton or Trump.  Many of my other friends eliminated people by who they voted for.  If some of the craziness doesn’t stop in America with the constant political news, made up stories and halting of government tasks, we are not going to be giving the right message to anyone.  Both sides are extreme, and yet we are critical of extremism with ISIS.  Let’s look at ourselves first.  Maybe this will finally get us working together at least on the few things we agree upon.


Site Administrator:  Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

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