About the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center – Secret Service Research & Publications

Source: Secret Service’s Research & Publications

The Secret Service has a department called the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) that conducts research into what they call “targeted violence.” Because they’re job is to predict and stop targeted violence against U.S. Presidents, Vice Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, their families, and others they have resources and research to be able to better predict if and when targeted violence will happen. This website lists some of their own research on this subject but also includes research about school shooters and prevention strategies because targeted violence against U.S. Presidents is similar to targeted violence in schools.

Florida school shooter obtained 10 firearms – CNN

Source: Florida school shooter obtained 10 firearms – CNN

Nicholas Cruz had a history of mental illness, racial slurs, and buying guns. He seems to be a young man who struggled with multiple mental health issues including:

  • Depression
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism

It’s important to write here that having these mental health issues does not make any person a mass shooter; however, in this case, these may have been factors in his decision-making process. I don’t know of any research that tells me exactly what the factors are. The shooter also cut himself and was visited multiple times by the police and local mental health agency Florida Department of Children and Families to assess his well being.

This was a horrible, tragic event that hopefully motives all of us to constructive, positive action. A few ideas include:

  • Educate ourselves about mental health issues
  • Work to eliminate stigma so that people who suffer with mental health issues seek help earlier
  • Fund more research into targeted violence so that law enforcement and mental health providers can make more accurate predictions
  • Provide a role for mental health providers to intervene in all states. Some states already mandate that mental health providers warn potential victims.