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'Targeted violence' against Colleges Caution: Secret Service report

The Secret Service published a report detailing 67 thwarted plots.

Targeted violence against colleges is preventable, if the warning signs are identified, according to a new report by the Secret Service released Tuesday.

The report from the Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center studied 67 thwarted school violence plots and 100 plotters to come up with a framework to further prevent school attacks.

The agency discovered that there were several persistent variables in attacks that were prevented and attacks that happened, such as a history of discipline or law enforcement interaction, if the plotter had experienced bullying or had underlying mental health issues, intended to commit suicide or was affected by childhood conditions.

Schools should intervene as fast as possible, according to the Secret Service.

"We want to make sure we are identifying these children before it gets to the level at which they are engaging in criminal activities, and then face legal implications for this," she explained. "we would like to make sure we're catching them early on when maybe they're becoming more depressed, they're becoming more suicidal."

The Secret Service discovered that 45 percent of the strikes intended, but not completed, were based on a grievance with a classmate.

Additionally, it found that 15 percent of possible attackers needed to kill. By way of instance, according to authorities Matthew Vanderbeek threatened to shoot up his graduation ceremony in 2018.

Pupils are best set to report any concerning behavior of a classmate, '' the report said, but households are critical to identifying troubling behaviour.

From the foiled plots studied by the Secret Service, 69 percent of the communications regarding the programs were detected by students, peers or classmates.

Often times, when reported early, student plotters are able to find treatment rather than criminal prosecution, Althari explained.

"Occasionally we know parents can be in denial," Althari said. "But if it is swiftly explained to them exactly what the goal of the process is which is about helping student have successful outcomes in life."

The report also found that 64% of the student assault plotters had access to firearms and 15 of the foiled plots were set to be run on dates in April -- likely because of the Columbine High School shootingthat happened on April 20 in Colorado.

The Secret Service found that in nearly half of those planned plots, at least one of those co-conspirators had attention in the 1998 shooting at Columbine.

And of the school attackers who proposed but didn't carry out the attack, 85% researched how to get or got weapons. And in nearly all the strikes, the plotter planned to use firearms from the assault itself and 51 percent had planned to use explosives.

The report suggested that 75% of these plotters were found because they hauled their intent and many behaviors were observed and reported on precisely the same day.

In one case, a 17-year-old man was reported to police by a friend after he suggested he wanted to carry out a school shooting.

"The plotter generated cellphone movies in which he discussed his storyline, stating he'd kill more people than Columbine,'' Virginia Tech or the assault from Oslo, Norway," the report says. "The plotter spoke about purchasing an AK-17 using a laser sight, told me that he chased a timer for bombs and showed him a map of colleges ."

A vast majority of the plotters were male, which is consistent with all previous Secret Service research on mass strikes.

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