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Mass Shootings: Driven by Evil or a Desire for Celebrity Status?

If all a gunman, who opened fire and randomly killed nine people, wanted was 15 minutes of fame, he could have achieved this running naked into the field at a major league baseball game.

At least one criminologist believes that the driving force behind mass shootings is a desire for celebrity status. According to Adam Lankford, a criminologist at the University of Alabama, they want to be famous.

But this theory has holes. You don’t have to kill people to be famous, and since when are murderers treated like celebrities? Since when does celebrity treatment include prison food?

If it all came down to wanting to be famous, then why do these mass murderers always have troubled pasts, particularly a history of being victimized by bullying?

However, many criminologists do believe that most shooters are seeking infamy – even though, certainly, anyone who’s planning a shooting spree knows there’s a good chance they’ll get killed in the process – in which case, they won’t be alive to revel in their infamy.

In an attempt to prevent future mass shootings, the media has decided not to mention the killers’ names more than once, such as with the 2012 movie theatre slaughter in Colorado and the 2017 Las Vegas concert massacre.

This tactic has proved futile, given the shootings that occurred the first week of August 2019 in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, plus many additional (smaller) shootings since 2012 and even 2017.

Nevertheless, supposedly the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter kept a journal detailing decades of mass shooting events.

If a man has suffered a corrupt childhood and is seething with hatred towards people, feels no hope for his future and knows how to get an AK-47, or AR-15, do you really think that he cares whether or not his name is mentioned after a killing spree?

Sure, he’d like to gain a lot of notoriety – as long as he’s going to commit the deed. But notoriety isn’t the reason he wants to kill people.

Are killers born or made via childhood environment?

These killers may have come from “privileged backgrounds,” but a big house, a swimming pool in its backyard and tennis lessons can still be part of a childhood environment that’s conducive to creating a soulless, evil person who hates humans so much that he one day decides to shoot into a crowd.

We can argue till the cows come home whether or not years of bullying led to the Columbine massacre, or if while growing up El Paso murderer Patrick Crusius frequently heard his father rant that Mexicans didn’t deserve to live.

But at the end of the day, it really makes no sense that wanting to hear your name on CNN would make a well-adjusted man go on a homicidal rampage.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Woman Murdered after Man Tricks Her with Lost Puppy Ruse

This entire post is brutal and for some, hard to read. But if there is a woman or girl in your life that might benefit from being freaked out, read it, forward and share it.

We’ve all heard about the man approaching a child, showing her a picture of his “lost” puppy, asking the child to help him look for “Truman” or “Roxie.” The child goes off with the predator – never again seen alive.

You’d think that no ADULT could ever fall for this scheme. But at least one woman, 36, did. Now maybe Kimra Riley, mother of a toddler, had never heard of the lost puppy ruse.

But according to ID Channel’s “Swamp Murders: A Dark Place to Die,” there were several blaring red flags that Rodney O’Neal Hocker was a predator.

  • Take note of these red flags.
  • Teach them to your kids.
  • Teach them to YOURSELF!

In March 1996, Kimra’s decomposed body was discovered near the shore of the Tennessee River after being reported missing two months prior. Tied to the body were bricks. An autopsy revealed that she had been alive when forced into the water; she had drowned.

Lost Puppy Trick

The docudrama depicts Kimra telling her boyfriend she was headed to the Bama Club to meet a female friend. There, she ran into Rodney, who recognized her as his server at a diner several days prior.

After small-talk, he asked if she wanted to see his puppy which was in his truck outside.

  • RED FLAG: What adult asks a stranger in a building to come outside to see his puppy?
  • When in doubt: Ask yourself if it’s easy to imagine the man asking another man if he’d like to see this puppy!
  • What to do: Tell the stranger to bring the puppy inside “so everyone can see it.”

Kimra went to the parking lot with Rodney. Rodney, 27, said the puppy had escaped the back of his pickup truck. He asked if she’d like to get in his vehicle to help look for the alleged yellow lab.

  • RED FLAG: The man immediately wants to drive around to search for the puppy. If a puppy jumps out of a parked vehicle, the first place to look is the parking lot, on foot! A puppy won’t get far!
  • What to do: Run back inside the building. Never mind hurting the stranger’s feelings.

Once Kimra was in the truck, her fate was sealed. He stopped the vehicle, came onto her; she resisted. The investigation determined he had rammed her head into the windshield, incapacitating her. Sexual assault was suspected because her body had on only a shirt, but was too decomposed for a rape kit.

If You Love Puppies…

  • Don’t ever go off with ANYONE to see an unseen
  • Tell the suspicious individual that you get enough puppy fixes with your neighbors’ dogs.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Woman Voluntarily Sits in Truck of Man Who Creeped Her Out

Who does this?

Morna Brennen did this when she was 22. She and a few friends went to a bar and stayed there late.

At some point while they were there, a man took an interest in Morna. But she was creeped out by him and pretty much ignored him.

Later when it was time to leave, Morna and one of her friends went out into the biting cold and dark parking lot.

Her friend was going to drive her home. Suddenly, someone from near the bar called out the friend’s name.

The friend told Morna to wait for her, that she’d be right back.

So Morna waited alone in the very cold air.

Then someone appeared before her from the parking lot – the creepy man who had approached her earlier inside the bar.

She told him she was waiting for her ride to rejoin her outside and take her home.

The man suggested that she wait inside his warm truck rather than shiver outside in the cold.

What Morna did: Went inside the man’s truck by her own free will.

What Morna should have done: Gone back inside the bar.

What could have possibly compelled her to sit inside the vehicle of a man who, just a short while earlier, had given her the creeps?

Nobody will ever know, but one theory is that she thought it would have been rude to decline a kind gesture. Women, as children, more so than men, are trained to “always be nice.” Perhaps Morna’s judgement was clouded by being trained since childhood to never appear rude.

Another theory is that despite the way this story is told on Investigation Discovery, Morna was actually forced into the truck.

One might also suppose that had Morna declined the man’s offer and headed back towards the bar, he would have ambushed her from behind and dragged her to the vehicle, forcing her in.

Or perhaps he would have killed her right in the parking lot, then sped off.

So what ultimately could have saved Morna’s life?

When her friend decided to go back into the bar, Morna could have followed as well, if for no other reason than to avoid standing outside in the frosty air.

Nobody knows how much time passed between the time her friend left her and the man approached her.

But if you’re ever standing alone in a dark parking lot in the wee hours of the morning for longer than a few minutes while waiting for your ride to come out of a building, it’s time to go back inside the building.

The man, Rickie Kiger, drove off with Morna in the passenger seat, and soon after butchered her, dismembering her body. This occurred in the mid 1980’s, long before smartphones with emergency apps were invented.

Though it’s possible that Rickie approached her only 20 seconds after her friend left her, it’s easy to believe that had Morna sprinted back into the bar the second she saw him, she would have gotten inside before he had a chance to grab her.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Should You Fight or Take a Flight When Being Attacked?

I am a big believer that people should run away from an attacker. If a bad guy gets into your home and he often wants to cause you pain, RUN as quickly as you can to the nearest door. If you are in a corner or you have to protect a loved one, you might have to fight him.

Most of us are taught to not hurt other people. We teach our children to have manners and to be kind to others. This is a process known as “civilized conditioning,” and it allows us to live in a civilized society.

However, sometimes violence occurs regardless of this civilization. In fact, there are millions of people out there who are uncivilized and fully capable of doing terrible things to other people.

When you think of it, civilized conditioning is a type of double-edged sword. Yes, it helps to prevent us from being violent to each other for no good reason. But, it also prevents us from being violent with another person if we need to. Because of this conditioning, you might panic, stop breathing, or even freeze when someone attacks you.

Do you know what you would do if a bad guy confronts you? Would you freeze? Fight? Run?

If you are a parent and someone attacks your child, you would probably defend your son or daughter with a vengeance. But, what about when it comes to your own safety?

Here are some tools that you can use to overcome civilized conditioning when you need to:

  • Understand that no one has any right to harm you for any reason.
  • Realize that fighting back and resisting is the best way to remove yourself from a situation that is dangerous.
  • Ask yourself “What if” questions, such as “What if, as I walk through this parking lot, there is someone hiding behind that van?” This helps to prepare your body and mind to quickly respond in the face of danger.
  • Practice visualization to try to create potential scenarios in your thoughts, and then think about your response.
  • Take self-defense classes. This helps to give you a different perspective on your situation.
  • Have an awareness of your situation and environment no matter where you are or what you are doing. If you feel like something is wrong, it probably is.
  • If you are attached, run to a safe place, such as to a store, a home, or any other populated area.
  • Install home alarm systems in your home to further protect yourself from the bad guys.

And, when it’s all said and done, don’t worry about any of this. BUT, you need to know your options and you need to do something about it if a bad guy enters your life.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

5 Improvised Secret Self-Defense Weapons

1SDCane

  • If you use a cane, take “cane-fu” classes if possible. Yes, it’s a thing.
  • A sturdy cane with a strong handle works best.
  • Do not assume you can fight with a cane just because you need one to walk.
  • Avoid a cane with a hidden knife or sword unless you specifically train to fight with a blade.
  • A person’s first instinct with a cane-like device for self-defense is to wield it in a horizontal path as though swinging a baseball bat. This is wrong, as it can easily be seen in progress by the person you’re trying to ward off; that person could dodge it, deflect it or grab the cane from you. This is why a cane self-defense class is crucial.

Magazine

  • Swatting someone with an unrolled magazine is worthless, even the most tightly rolled magazine won’t stop an assailant—because swatting is the wrong way to use a rolled-up magazine as a weapon.
  • The proper way to strike is with a hammer motion, your arm as the handle and the magazine as the head, so that the end of the roll is struck into the assailant; the roll, ideally, is perpendicular to the surface it strikes, concentrating as much impact as possible into a small area. But if this small area is his neck, nose, temple or groin, it will stop him long enough for you to either follow up with another blow or to escape.
  • A pre-rolled magazine, fastened tightly with several thick rubber bands, is something you should have on hand, just in case. Otherwise, pray you don’t let panic make you fumble as you’re trying to roll up a magazine when an assailant approaches.

Flashlight

  • A flashlight, being shaped like a rolled-up magazine, is used in the same way as a magazine roll.
  • But because it’s more solid, it will be more effective.

Pen

  • You’re probably already picturing a pen sticking out of the assailant’s eye.
  • A pen jabbed into the temple, nose and neck hard enough will disable the attacker; the more perpendicular the pen to the strike surface, the better.
  • A pen jammed hard enough into the collarbone will also stop the assailant.
  • Other body parts worth mentioning: ear, cheek, top of hand, groin.

Belt

  • The key is being able to quickly pull the belt off your pants.
  • And that’s it: whip at him with the buckle as the striking end. Don’t try to strangle him; that only works in the movies, then run!

Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

1 in 4 Female Undergrads sexually assaulted

One in four (25 percent) of college women reported they received unsolicited sexual contact while in college, says the recent Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey of 150,000 students.

1SDHow can on-campus safety be heightened?

  • Students should have a hardcopy and smartphone-stored list of contact information for all kinds of help. The school’s emergency and security numbers should be on speed dial.
  • Memorize key numbers in case your phone is stolen or the juice dries up.
  • Ditch the headphones when walking outside.
  • See if the campus has a security escort service.
  • Take self defense classes often. Many college campuses have martial arts clubs; join and learn.
  • Don’t always walk the same paths to and from classes so that predators don’t learn your patterns.
  • Review the privacy settings of all your social media accounts, as some accounts have geolocation features that can reveal your location via photos.
  • Keep your windows locked! Always keep the door locked as much as possible and always overnight.

What about social settings?

  • Out late at a bar? Never leave alone; always have someone with you. And make sure you know precisely how to get to your next destination.
  • Never get drunk. Yep, I’m serious. Though many victims are sober at the time of assault, getting drunk can open many opportunities for being victimized, such as being unaware that someone just slipped the “date rape” drug in your fifth drink.
  • In fact, never let your drink out of sight. If you don’t want to take it with you to the restroom, then either finish it or trash it first.
  • Never accept a drink that you didn’t see poured, and never accept an opened can of soda.
  • If you feel it’s time to leave, it probably is. You don’t owe any explanations. In fact, if you say, “I have to go,” pushy people will ask why and urge you to stay. So instead, silently and nonchalantly make your exit. If someone nabs you along the way, tell them you need to 1) get some air outside, 2) make a phone call or answer a text, 3) get something from your car.
  • If it’s more obvious you’re leaving for the night (e.g., putting on coat and boots), say you 1) just received an urgent text, 2) have an early exam tomorrow, 3) look ‘em hard in the eye and say, “I’m leaving. DEAL.” Then leave.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Self-Defense and Sexual Assault Prevention

If you reach your hand to a strange dog loose on the street to pet it on top of the head, and it mauls your hand, whose fault is this? One camp would put most of the blame on the dog owner. But most people would blame the victim.

1SDBut everyone with half an ounce of sense would agree on one thing: Whose fault it is has NOTHING to do with the importance of doing whatever it takes to prevent a dog attack.

This same principle applies to sexual assault against women. An article on vice.com says that feminist Julie Lalonde isn’t too comfortable with the idea of pushing self-defense lessons on women to help prevent rape. Lalonde believes that promoting self-defense skills encourages the idea that rape is a woman’s fault.

The vice.com article quotes her talking of how society is constructed such that”…if a woman is sexually assaulted and she hasn’t taken a self-defense class, then it was her fault because she could have prevented her rape and didn’t.”

This mindset is one sandwich and the entire blanket short of a picnic. Again, fault has nothing to do with taking whatever measures are necessary to protect oneself! If it can be accomplished with self-defense lessons, then go for it!

Here’s a question for Lalonde and likeminded folks: Which is easier, teaching a woman self-defense or eliminating the urge to rape in a sociopath? Perhaps Lalonde can explain what sort of tactics have been proven to kill a sociopath’s or psychopath’s desire to violate a woman? Last time I checked, none exist (don’t say “chopping it off”; I’m talking about realistically, in our society).

What’s realistic and ethical is self-defense lessons. A study headed by Charlene Senn compared women (900 total) who were assigned self-defense training (which included psychological aspects such as assessing a situation) to women who were given only brochures on sexual crimes.

Rape was reduced among the first group of women (self defense) 5.2 percent, vs. the brochure group (9.8 percent), 12 months out from the study’s interventions.

Do not people such as Lalonde realize how easy it is to disable a man? Has she never seen a man become immobilized with pain upon accidentally hitting his knee into the edge of a cocktail table?

Or perhaps she’s seen too many movies and TV shows in which a man is shown being slammed over the head with a two-by-four, then taking half a dozen punches by another man, kicked in the ribs, knocked off a ledge and falling 10 feet, and despite all that, he ends up beating the tar out of his attacker. In real life, one good sock to the temple will knock a man’s lights out.

Self-defense doesn’t just involve punches and kicks, but depending on the style, focuses on using the laws of physics to put an attacker in a joint lock.

Predators look for prey. High quality self-defense schools teach women NOT to behave like prey, but to behave defensively when needed.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Are You being followed on Foot or by Car? What to do

One of the things I impress upon people is what never to do, and what TO do, if they suspect they’re being followed on foot or by car.

1SDDon’t be oblivious to your surroundings. Observe everything 50-100 feet around the perimeter of your body as you move from point A to point B.

Note anything that seems out of place, like a car that’s taking all the same turns you are. A pedestrian following you may veer off at a side street, then re-emerge to catch up with you.

Slow down. If you’re walking, stop and fiddle with a shoelace (while being aware). Who also slows down or suddenly stops? Speeding up might cause an amateur to also speed up, but a pro will not make this conspicuous change unless you’re about to make a blind turn.

Call the police. Let the police handle the situation. If you get off a main road, head to the nearest police station. If no-one is around, go to a people-filled public spot. Have a seat, have a soda, and observe your follower for any details.

Stay cool. Don’t speed or drive carelessly. If you’re being followed by a chain of pros, they’ll be all along your route, so speeding won’t help. If you suspect the follower is a road rager, stay on main roads, drive to a police station.

Confuse the follower. E.g., exit, then get back on the road you got off. If someone behind you duplicates this behavior, you know something’s not right. Or, make multiple turns in the same direction and see if your follower does the same.

Alter routes. Take different ways to drive home from work.

If you suspect you’re being followed, follow the above guidelines and make getting to a safe spot a priority.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Taking Responsibility for Personal Security

The local police generally (for the most part) do not prevent burglaries or assaults. But they do (hopefully) arrest those who perpetrate these crimes. Crime prevention goes way beyond installing a home security system or locking your doors or putting your lights on timers.

Personal security and crime prevention begins with you. It starts with taking responsibility for your little corner of the earth whether at home or on the streets and taking decisive action to prevent being victimized.

Civilized conditioning has impeded our ability to take responsibility.

Civilized conditioning is a double edged sword. On one hand it prevents us from being physical with another person unnecessarily, but on the other hand it prevents us from being physical with another person necessarily to protecting ourselves.

You have been taught all of your life not to hurt another human being and that’s a good thing. From birth we are told to be kind to one another and have manners.

This cultural conditioning allows us to get along in a civilized society but it also puts us in a mode where we do nothing to protect ourselves and think it’s the police that should.

You know bad things happen every day. We are all well aware there are some people out there who are considered un-civilized. These are people who don’t share the same boundaries you and I do. As a result we need to take responsibility.

Invest in a home security system: It’s your responsibility to look out for yourself and your family and make sure your home is safe and secure.

Take a self defense class: There are numerous options to learn self defense in books, videos, online and via local classes.

Teach your kids self defense: A child as young as 5 is perfectly capable of absorbing life saving techniques.

Teach responsibility: It’s not enough to rely on a government or others in authority to protect us. We must invest in ourselves and realizes “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source

Man Identified As ‘East Coast Rapist’ Held

There are only a few topics I rarely address due to their sensitive nature. Rape is one. It’s hard to write about and even harder talk about it. And being that it has never happened to me, and the fact that I’m a man, it’s a topic I’ve left to female experts in personal security to expound upon.

My overall position is I can’t call myself an expert in this topic so it’s one I should only hint at discussing.

A story in the Boston Globe reveals “Authorities have identified a man they arrested in Connecticut on suspicion of being responsible for rapes and other attacks on 17 women since 1997 and dubbed the East Coast Rapist. Police spokesman Joe Avery said Aaron Thomas, 39, of New Haven, was arrested yesterday afternoon at his home by the US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force. Avery said Thomas “has been identified as the East Coast Rapist.’’ US Marshal Joe Faughnan said a lead from authorities in Virginia led them to Thomas. Authorities recently posted sketches of the suspect on electronic billboards in states where attacks occurred, including Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland, and Rhode Island.”

This is good news. However there are many other predators to take his place. I’ve seen stats saying 1 out of four American women will be sexually assaulted. Others say a woman is sexually assaulted somewhere in the world every 56 seconds.

Often these assaults are done by someone known to the victim whereas fewer are done by total strangers.

Either way it is essential women take hardcore self defense classes. Self defense is a topic I can speak to. The best program is known as Impact Model Mugging which utilizes a technique called “adrenal stress training”. Look them up and take any class within driving distance. And do it today.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing self defense on Fox Boston.