Once again, a mass shooting has occurred that could have been prevented. Robert Card shot and killed 18 people and wounded 13 others at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewistown, Maine, last week. A review of the shooting revealed that Card had been housed in a mental institution prior to the rampage. He was well known to law enforcement. Card had made threatening statements that he intended to kill fellow national guardsmen either before his stay at the mental institution or while he was a patient. Card had an arsenal of weapons and had significant training in shooting with the national guard. Despite the obvious threats and his incarceration at a mental institute, he was allowed to keep his weapons after his release from the mental hospital. The question begs to be answered, why was he allowed to keep his weapons after he made the threats and his stay in a mental hospital? Obviously, there was either a breakdown in communication, or law enforcement failed to act on the threats by taking his weapons.
Maine has what is deemed “Yellow Flag” laws that indicates only law enforcement can evaluate and seize weapons after they have deemed him to be dangerous to himself or others.
Other states have “Red Flag” laws that authorizes relatives, or close associates to bring allegations that a person is a threat. If there is corroborating evidence to the allegations, law enforcement has the authority to seize the suspect’s weapons and take steps to protect citizens from the threat.
In California, if a person with a mental history attempts to purchase weapons, a database will alert on a background check, and the purchase will be denied.
Unfortunately, Card owned weapons prior to his admittance to a mental hospital, and his threats were either ignored or discarded.
Perpetrators of targeted violence display the following behaviors:
- Threat Posturing – making veiled or direct threats, The more specific the threats are made, the more dangerous the person becomes.
- Preparatory Behaviors – perpetrator engages in stalking, surveillance, purchasing weapons.
- Rehearsal Fantasies – perpetrator plots and plans the attack in their mind and “leaks” their intentions.
- In every targeted violent event except for the Las Vegas mass shooting on October 1, 2017, the perpetrator produces “red flags” that telegraph their intentions.
Talon trains HR and company executives in detecting behaviors that indicate a person has intentions of acting out and becoming an active threat. Additionally, Talon trains people how to respond to an active shooting response.
For more information on how to engage our professional training services please call our office at 714-434-7476 for an appointment.
Ron Williams, CFS
United States Secret Service-Retired