• The biggest domestic terrorist threat to Americans: White American men

    Radical jihadists directed or inspired by ISIS, al-Qaeda, or materials posted on the internet, pose a threat in the United States – and in Europe. In the United States, however, the bigger threat has come from a different kind of attacker, one with no ties to religion – be it Islam or another religion: White American men. Since Trump took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.

  • What drives lone offenders?

    Lone offender attacks – sometimes called “lone wolf” attacks – make headlines fairly regularly. It’s not just the single shooter killing dozens and injuring hundreds in Las Vegas, but also shootings in Washington and Texas shopping centers. In Nice, France; Orlando, Florida; and elsewhere, atrocities committed by individuals apparently acting alone have surprised and concerned the public and authorities alike. Because just one person is at the center of the event, these sorts of attacks can seem more puzzling and be harder to explain than, say, bombings or shootings by organized terrorist groups. That also makes them more difficult to detect and prevent. It is not always easy to “make sense” of lone-offender attacks. But by understanding their origins, elements and context, we can avoid misconceptions and more accurately describe the problem. That will be a key to helping detect and prevent these kinds of attacks.

  • Killer turned semi-automatic weapons into automatic ones – legally

    Stephen Paddock’s shooting spree lasted about 12-14 minutes – but he was able to kill 59 people and wound more than 500. The reason: He used a technique called “bump stock” to turn two of his semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic ones, capable of firing between 500 and 800 rounds a minute. Automatic rifles are heavily regulated and difficult to buy in the United States, but the perfectly legal bump stock method allows would-be mass shooters to circumvent the automatic weapons ban.

  • “This movement has escaped your disapproval”: Evangelicals urge Trump to denounce alt-right

    Members of the leadership of several evangelical Christians late last week urged President Donald Trump to condemn white supremacists more forcefully and unequivocally — specifically those in the alt-right. A letter circulating among pastors who belong to the group notes Trump’s efforts to denounce the white supremacists, but urges the President to go further in condemning the alt-right “by name.” “This movement has escaped your disapproval,” the letter said.

  • Biological weapons and virtual terrorism

    Terrorists find biological weapons attractive because these weapons are difficult to detect, are cost effective, and can be easy to use. Aerosols of biological agents are invisible, silent, odorless, tasteless, relatively easily dispersed — and they are 600 to 2000 times cheaper than other weapons of mass destruction. It has been estimated that the cost of a biological weapon is about 0.05 percent the cost of a conventional weapon to produce similar numbers of mass casualties per square kilometer.

  • Deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history: at least 50 killed, more than 400 injured

    A 64-year old gunman barricaded himself in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, then fired thousands of rounds from several automatic weapons on an outdoor country music festival taking place outside the hotel. At least 50 people have been killed and more than 400 injured at a country music festival in Las Vegas. This is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The Las Vegas police reported that two police officers have been killed.

  • Six things to know about mass shootings in America

    America has experienced yet another mass shooting, this time at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is reportedly the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. As a criminologist, I have reviewed recent research in hopes of debunking some of the common misconceptions I hear creeping into discussions that spring up whenever a mass shooting occurs.

  • Israeli intelligence helped foil dozens of terror attacks worldwide

    Israel’s intelligence agencies have stepped up cooperation with their foreign counterparts leading to the prevention of dozens of terror attacks around the world. Following the coordinated terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November 2015, the intelligence branch of Israel’s General Staff made a decision to concentrate more on collecting information from foreign terrorists who had ties to Middle Eastern terror organizations.

  • White nationalists as much of a threat to U.S. as Islamists: FBI

    In a testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last Wednesday, FBI director Chris Wray said his agency was currently conducting “about 1,000” open domestic terrorism investigations. He said that, by comparison, the FBI also has about 1,000 open cases related to the ISIS. In its May joint intelligence bulletin, the FBI warned white supremacist groups were likely to commit more violent attacks. The white supremacist movement “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year,” the FBI bulletin said.

  • White nationalists as much of a threat to U.S. as Islamists: FBI

    In a testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last Wednesday, FBI director Chris Wray said his agency was currently conducting “about 1,000” open domestic terrorism investigations. He said that, by comparison, the FBI also has about 1,000 open cases related to the ISIS. In its May joint intelligence bulletin, the FBI warned white supremacist groups were likely to commit more violent attacks. The white supremacist movement “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year,” the FBI bulletin said.

  • America’s deadliest shooting incidents are getting much more deadly

    The mass shooting that killed at least fifty people in Las Vegas last night was the deadliest in modern American history. The shooting marked the latest outbreak of gunfire and bloodshed to erupt in a public place, transforming a seemingly routine night into one of terror and carnage. The killing in Las Vegas surpassed the death toll of forty-nine people killed in June 2016 when a gunman in Orlando opened fire inside a crowded nightclub.

  • Understanding soccer violence could help the fight against terror

    Soccer has long been tarnished by outbreaks of fan violence. Although media headlines often link the behavior to “hooliganism,” the activity could stem from potentially more positive motivations, such as passionate commitment to the group and the desire to belong. Understanding the root cause of the behavior may therefore help in tackling the violence and channeling it into something more positive, researchers suggest. This is especially important since both violent soccer fans and radicals appear to be are motivated by shared experience. The researchers found clear links between the psychology underlying soccer violence and other extremist activity, such as gang culture and terrorism, which is often rooted in a similar feeling of “brotherhood.”

  • Congressional amendments restore Maryland BioLab4 funding

    Members of the Maryland congressional delegation attached amendments to the Homeland Security and Defense Department authorization bills to prevent the closure of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. President Trump’s budget for 2018 had eliminated funding for NBACC as part of cutting the budget of DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) by 28 percent. At the end of May 2017, the research center received a letter from DHS stating that the facility’s closing procedures should start on 1October, with anticipated decommissioning by 30 September 2018.

  • Waltzing toward a two-front global war

    Military analysts argue that the sine qua non of a superpower is the ability to fight two major campaigns in different regions of the globe nearly simultaneously. Critics of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations said that reduced defense investment and a decade of counterinsurgency campaigns had left the U.S. military unprepared to do so. Still, Christopher Bolan writes in Defense One, the United States finds itself one step away from war on the Korean Peninsula and perhaps two from military confrontation with Iran, “dancing an uncertain waltz in which a misstep would be catastrophic.”

  • Vietnam War: Who was right about what went wrong – and why it matters in Afghanistan

    The ghosts of the Vietnam War no doubt hovered over a recently assembled conclave of President Donald Trump’s advisers as they deliberated over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. In the Vietnam era, as today, the United States found itself engulfed in a seemingly never-ending war with mounting costs, unclear goals, and few signs of success. In both Vietnam and Afghanistan, successive presidents faced much the same options: Withdraw, decisively escalate, or do just enough to avoid losing. Like his predecessors in both wars, Trump chose the middle path – incremental escalation with no clear exit plan (what Daniel Ellsberg, in reference to the Vietnam War, called the “stalemate machine”). How can we to explain the seeming preference of U.S. presidents for muddling through – whether in Afghanistan or, fifty years ago, in Vietnam? It may be that the logic of the stalemate machine is built into the very concept of limited war. Or that it is a predictable consequence of how presidents manage the constraints posed by American politics. In any case, the histories of U.S. military involvements in Vietnam and Afghanistan should serve as warnings to future presidents who might be tempted to again jump onto the treadmill of perpetual war.