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Toward a real solution for school shootings

World-renowned expert on adolescent addictive illness, clinical psychologist, and Orthodox priest weighs in on the epidemic of shootings and what needs to be done to stop them.

Seraphim Hanisch

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This is a contribution from Dr Miller Newton, author of Adolescence: Guiding Youth Through the Perilous Ordeal; Not My Kid; Kids, Drugs and Sex and other books treating the topic of adolescents with compulsive behavior disorders such as alcoholism, drug use, sexual deviancy and other addictions.

Here, the world-renowned expert on both adolescent development and treatment of adolescents with problems speaks about the Parkland Massacre.


The massacre by 17-year-old Nicholas Cruz has resulted in a national furor about school mass shootings. In our pain, trauma, grief, and anger America is demanding solutions to the problem ranging from gun regulation to armed school personnel and hardening of school security. Unfortunately, many of the suggestions will not effectively solve the problem.

One father in President Trump’s listening session, in his deep grief, angrily stated “I have lost my daughter who is lying in a cemetery in Parkland Florida and that after the first incident of mass school shooting (Columbine High School in Colorado), it should have been the end of school mass shootings.” And he is absolutely right. We should have decisively addressed the issue after Columbine.

The shooters have all been troubled adolescent males.

These young males have grown up in highly stressed and troubled families often headed by single parents, families whose children have low sense-of-self or personal potency. The growth of this group of low sense-of-self males is a result of the impact of the deterioration of Judeo-Christian morality as a basis for our society.

First and foremost is the growth in number of unmarried mothers as a result of deterioration of sexual morality making unwed childbirth acceptable. Add to this, the ease of divorce based on the personal whim of adults, neglecting the devastation of divorce on the children. The absence of two parents means financial stress, neglect of attention to children because of the mother’s stress to provide a financial base for the family and her need to have some kind of social life outside of the family. The immaturity of teenage unmarried mothers results in young women who are emotionally unable to provide stability for children due to their young age and lack of maturity. (There are single mothers, who with help of extended family, put aside a selfish personal life and amass the personal resources necessary to raise healthy children.)

Young males grow up without the stability of both male and female figures as parents. The single mother is under stress and is unable to support the young males in the various activities which are self-affirming, such as sports, scouting and other activities. The young males are lonely, often the victims of impatience and criticism, and they enter the school world as loners who do not connect with peers, who do not participate in school or extracurricular activities, and so are generally looked on as losers by peers and school staff. Most of these children simply live in isolation and loneliness. For a small number, their growing sense of impotence leads to anger, growing resentments which become rage.

They cope with the isolation, loneliness and rage by building a fantasy life in which violence becomes the tool of self-affirmation. This is enhanced by violent video games, movies and television shows. The action figures are the epitome of power and strength as they violently wipe out others with weapons. These fantastic characters and their violent behavior are the seeming antidote to the impotence of these young males. They fantasize about showing all the adults and peers who treat them badly how powerful they really are by gunning them down. The sense of loneliness and fantasy is enhanced by the isolation produced by electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets, video games, and personal computers. One can easily witness groups of teenagers sitting next to one another, but each on his or her electronic device without any personal contact with the kids right next to them. All that is needed to complete the fantasies is the actual acquisition of weapons and a strategy to empower themselves by shooting others.

Many of the proposed solutions to the problem will fail.

Solving the problem through gun restrictions, such as raising the age from 18 to 21 for acquisition of rifles such as the AR-15 is not a real solution. It is possible to acquire weapons at gun shows that have little regulation as well as through personal purchases from individuals including slightly older teenage friends. Weapons will always be available to these troubled adolescents. Changing the law in this manner does nothing to change that fact.

Solving the problem by placing armed personnel in our schools will only cut down the number of victims since the armed personnel will be involved in shootouts with the young male assassins. It is true that this strategem might cut down the number of victims, but there will still be victims and trauma for all the children in the school. President Trump’s idea that this will be a preventive strategy will only happen after one or two actual events take place that involve shootouts with armed school personnel. Do we really want any more school gun battles?

Hardening the security boundaries of schools would hopefully contain the gun battle at school entrances. However, my sense is that the young shooter will incorporate in his fantasy a strategy for dealing with the security at school entrances and so the increased security measures will in no way deter the gun battle.

To solve the problem, we must move the line of defense from the school to the street, detecting the troubled young males who were contemplating a school attack.

In the case of Nicholas Cruz there were numerous ‘red flags’, including:

  • two reports to the FBI
  • numerous police visits to his house
  • a Florida Department of Children and Families visit assessing his potential for violence

along with numerous school actions including:

  • not allowing him to have a backpack on school grounds
  • warning school personnel that he was a dangerous individual
  • eventually expelling him

All of this was enough to provoke serious action to investigate his social media, his possession of weapons and his potential for school attack. The same “red flags” were actually true of most of the other young males who perpetuated a violent attack on their schools.

So why the failure to prevent the attacks?

A “culture of reluctance” exists on the part of the helping systems including social work, mental health, and law enforcement. We often hear from law enforcement, “we cannot do anything until he commits a crime”. And from mental and social work professionals, “we don’t have enough information.”, or “he is just a ‘poor troubled young person”.

This is based in part on the atmosphere created by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attack on civil commitment, which has resulted in the HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 law concerning confidentiality with a multitude of detail regulations that prevents commitment of individuals who are potentially harmful to self or others.

As a clinical professional I have experienced numerous occasions where individuals I have taken to Emergency Rooms or admission departments of mental health units were not committed by professionals who used a variety of small detail criteria to avoid a commitment. It often happened that the individual in the next day or two made a suicide attempt. These professionals are afraid of possible lawsuits and/or sanctions from their superiors, so they go out of their way to avoid commitments.

Second, a “culture of ‘seductive obsession’ with troubled adolescents” exists among the helping professions. The psychiatrist who was treating the Aurora Colorado theater shooter had all the information she needed to either commit him to an institution or report him to the police but in her obsession to protect him she did neither, and then he murdered a number of people in the theater. I saw the same thing occur with the blonde Public Defender who put a protective arm around Nicholas Cruz and then told the world that he was “a broken child who was remorseful”. Granted, she needs to defend him legally, but there was this air of personally protecting this 17-year-old killer who destroyed not only 17 individuals and their families, but who also injured 14 others and created trauma for hundreds in the school.

We desperately need to change the culture in the helping and law enforcement communities. We must force them to become proactive in sharing information and immediately pursuing investigation of young males who are acquiring weapons and showing signs of violence, including investigations of their social media activities. Without waiting for the political discussion to end, and new laws to be enacted, funding to be increased for mental health, and the training and arming school personnel, there needs to be an immediate national initiative to search for young males who are acquiring weapons and ammunition. Then using these names, the criminal justice system, the family service system and their schools need to be checked for incidents. Finally, social media needs to be checked for talk of school violence.

I guarantee there are 10 or 15 others in the wake of the Parkland Massacre who are stimulated by it, and who are actually also fantasizing themselves on TV News like Nicholas Cruz was, who are at this moment dreaming of achieving self-empowerment by school violence and are in the process of acquiring weapons and developing their strategies.

We must move the line of defense from the front door of the school to the place where these troubled young males are developing fantasies and strategies for self-empowerment by school violence, and we must stop them now before they act. This is the only solution that actually prevents violence and victims at schools.

– Dr. V. M. Newton

 

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Maria Butina, her crime: A love of the NRA and being Russian (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 61.

Alex Christoforou

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has communicated to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Russian national Maria Butina must be set free and allowed to return to Russia, after she was arrested by US officials on dubious spy charges.

Lavrov said that the US should immediately release the Russian gun activist, who is being held in the US on espionage charges, after a phone conversation with his US counterpart.

Lavrov called the charges levied against Butina “fabricated.”

In his conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday, “Lavrov stressed that the actions of the US authorities that arrested Russian citizen Butina on fabricated charges are unacceptable.”

In an official statement the Russian Foreign Ministry called for her “immediate release.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the oddly timed, out of the blue arrest of Maria Butina, who is being held by US authorities for what they claim to be a violation of the FARA act.

In reality Maria Butina’s crime is much more troubling than simply failing to register as a foreign agent.

Maria made the double mistake of being in the United States of America as a Russian citizens who loves guns, at a time when racism and bigotry against Russians and NRA supporters is surpassing McCarthyite levels.

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Via RT

The Foreign minister raised the issue during phone conversations that were made at the request of the US and aimed at “further normalization of the US-Russian relations” following the summit between the US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Lavrov and Pompeo also discussed the process of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, as well as the situation in Syria.

The 29-year-old Russian student and a gun activist was arrested in the US about a week ago and charged with acting as a foreign agent without registering her activities with the authorities. Butina has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On July 16, a DC Federal Court rejected Butina’s bail plea and ordered her to be placed in custody pending trial over fears that she could flee or contact Russian intelligence officials. Her lawyer says the trial is being politicized and Russian embassy staff were only allowed to visit her in jail on Thursday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called Butina’s arrest politically motivated, adding that it could have been aimed at disrupting the Helsinki summit between Putin and Trump. On Thursday, the ministry also launched a campaign hashtagged #FreeMariaButina on Twitter to raise awareness of her case.

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Ugly breakup at FBI: Lisa Page throws ex-lover, Peter Strzok, under the bus (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 60.

Alex Christoforou

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While Peter Strzok’s testimony put a face on the deceptive and secretive Deep State, GOP lawmakers who were present at Lisa Page’s closed-door deposition said they learned a lot of new information from the ex-FBI lawyer, and ex-lover of Peter Strzok.

Lisa Page confirmed to GOP lawmakers that the text messages sent between her and her lover Strzok “meant exactly what they said,” contrary to Strzok’s testimony.

According to The Gateway Pundit, one damning text message in particular sent from Strzok on May 19th, 2017, just two days after Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel, intrigued investigators and the public alike.

“There’s no big there there,” Strzok texted.

According to investigative reporter, John Solomon, Lisa Page confirmed that text from Peter Strzok did indeed refer to the Trump-Russia case.

Strzok knew it was a nothing-burger yet he forged ahead.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou, RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle, and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how Peter Strzok’s testimony has undoubtedly contradicted Lisa Page’s cooperative deposition, as the ex-FBI lawyer is preparing to save herself, while throwing her ex-lover under the bus.

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Via The Epoch Times

Representatives John Ratcliffe and Louie Gohmert of Texas recently shared their observations of the closed-door testimony of former high-ranking FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which concluded on July 16.

One of the major questions regarding the testimony was whether it would match the one given by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.

But while Ratcliffe said he found a mismatch, Gohmert wouldn’t go so far.

Page and Strzok played major roles in the investigations on both 2016 presidential candidates: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. During the same period, Page and Strzok had an affair and exchanged thousands of text messages expressing a strong bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton.

“When I questioned Lisa Page on Friday about the anti-Trump text messages that were sent between herself and Peter Strzok, there were significant differences in her testimony and Strzok’s as it relates to what she thought some of these text messages meant,” Ratcliffe said in a July 16 tweet, shortly before the second round of questioning.

“Page gave us new information that Strzok either wouldn’t or couldn’t, confirming some of the concerns we had about these investigations and the people involved in running them,” he wrote.

On July 17, Ratcliffe expanded on his further statements about Page’s testimony. Radcliffe told Fox News…

“There are differences in their testimony.”

“In many cases, she admits that the text messages mean exactly what they say, as opposed to agent Strzok, who thinks that we’ve all misinterpreted his own words on any text message that might be negative.”

Via The Epoch Times

In one of the texts, Strzok vowed to “stop” Trump from becoming president. In another, the two discussed having an “insurance policy” in the “unlikely” event that Trump would win the election.

Strzok, who gave a closed-door testimony on June 27 and a public one on July 12, said the first message meant he and the American people would stop Trump. The second, he said previously, meant he wanted to pursue the Russia investigation aggressively, in case Trump won.

GOP lawmakers were furious with Strzok’s attitude and unwillingness to answer questions. In a scathing monologue, Gohmert even linked Strzok’s credibility to the fact that he was unfaithful to his wife.

President Donald Trump repeatedly called Strzok’s testimony a “disgrace.”

The lawmakers said Page was comparatively more cooperative.

“There were times the FBI lawyers would be reaching to the button to mute her comment, and she would answer before they could mute her comment,” Gohmert told Fox News.

He said Page didn’t contradict Strzok “so much,” but “has given us insights into who was involved in what.”

“I think she’ll be a good witness,” he said.

Page ditched her first testimony appointment on July 11, prompting GOP lawmakers to threaten her with contempt of Congress. She then agreed to appear on July 13, which gave her the opportunity to review Strzok’s public testimony before giving hers.

The lawmakers are probing the FBI’s and Justice Department’s decisions before the election, suspecting they were influenced by political considerations.

Texts between Strzok and Page suggest that the FBI initiated an offensive counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign as early as December 2015.

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Russia makes MASSIVE progress on its ‘super-weapons’

Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle moves into serial production, nuclear-engine powered cruise missile tests continue, and more as Russia continues to outdo all Western military tech

Seraphim Hanisch

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On July 19th and 20th, The Russian Defense Ministry announced several milestones of progress in its advanced weapons systems programs. These programs were revealed to the world in March of this year, when Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the State of the Russian Federation speech.

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While at first the Western onlookers did not believe the amazing announcements of hypersonic weapons and nuclear-powered cruise missiles with unlimited range, subsequent releases and concurrent observation by the American military experts has shown these developments to be as real as Mr. Putin claimed they are.

TASS, the Russian News Agency, released information on these weapons systems in separate reports:

Kinzhal

The Kinzhal hypersonic missile:

Squadrons of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles should enter combat duty in the Black Sea region and at other Russian fleets and flotillas, said Russian military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of the Arsenal Otechestva magazine.

Besides, a squadron (between 12 and 16 aircraft) of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles entered combat duty in the Caspian Sea region in April.

“I think at least one squadron of those complexes should be deployed at any fleet, in other words – at all regions where we have fleets and flotillas. We need to deploy them in the regions of the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Northern Fleet. The Pacific region also should not be forgotten,” Murakhovsky said.

He said that such systems can become a “good instrument” against not only vessels equipped with high-precision weapons, but also for countering carrier attack groups.

“We know how expensive a carrier attack group can be. By employing this asymmetric method, which is unbelievably cheap in comparison with building a carrier attack group, we can neutralize this threat almost completely,” the expert said.

Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile trials:

The Burevestnik is an entirely new cruise missile, powered by a nuclear engine. This gives the missile unlimited range. In theory, such a missile could be launched at a target and spend days or weeks in hidden flight using advanced guidance systems, and then close on its target at the optimal time to assure destruction of that target with maximum surprise. The TASS piece goes on to say:

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia was preparing to test upgraded test prototypes of the nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile with an unlimited range.

According to the expert, it is highly likely that the prototype of the missile “has already made a flight.”

“Clearly, it was something like the pop-up trials of Sarmat – a launch without the nuclear-powered engine, in other words, with an ordinary missile booster, conducted in order to assess the possibility of a launch, aerodynamics and the operability of the entire system in general,” [Murakhovsky] said.

Further reporting from TASS had this to add about the Burevestnik program:

Russia is getting ready for flight tests of the Burevestnik nuclear powered cruise missile, an official at the Defense Ministry told reporters on Thursday.

“The missile’s component makeup is being improved based on clarified requirements, while ground tests continue and preparations are being made for experimental flight tests of the improved missile,” the official said.

According to the Defense Ministry, “work on an unlimited-range missile is going according to plan.”

“In the meantime, launching systems are also being designed, while technological processes to manufacture, assemble and test the missile are being improved. This range of work will make it possible to start designing a totally new sort of weapon – a strategic nuclear complex armed with a nuclear powered missile,” the ministry official noted.

[The head] of the 12th Central Research Institute at Russia’s Defense Ministry Sergey Pertsev, in turn, said that the tests of the new cruise missile equipped with a small nuclear power unit had confirmed the accuracy of the technical decisions that Russian researchers, engineers and designers had made. In addition, the tests enabled the researchers “to receive valuable experimental data necessary for specifying a number of requirements.”

“A low-flying and low-observable cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with an almost unlimited range, an unpredictable trajectory and capability to bypass interception lines is invincible to all the existing and advanced air and missile defense systems,” the Russian Defense Ministry stressed.

A further use of the nuclear engine technology is also expected in the Poseidon underwater drone, Mr. Murakhovsky stated that separate systems for the craft have been successfully tested. He further noted that the next task is to design the entire layout, build a test model and begin testing the whole platform.

The Avangard Hypersonic Missile

While the Kinzhal is a Mach-10 capable hypersonic system that can be launched from a fighter, the Avangard is a Mach-20 capable system that has intercontinental reach. There is almost no footage of this system released to the public, but the concept videos show how the system works. TASS reports this status:

Russia’s Strategic Missile Force is preparing a position area for accepting the Avangard hypersonic missile system for service as part of the efforts to strengthen the country’s military security, the Defense Ministry announced on Thursday.

“The Russian defense industry has completed developing the Avangard missile system with the principally new armament – the gliding cruise warhead. Industrial enterprises have switched to its serial production,” the Defense Ministry said.

“A set of organizational and technical measures is underway in the position area of the Dombarovsky large unit of the Strategic Missile Force to accept the Avangard missile system for operation,” it added.

The development of new strategic weapon systems “is aimed at increasing Russia’s defense capability and preventing any aggression against our country and its allies,” the Defense Ministry stressed.

The infrastructural facilities of the large unit’s position area have already been prepared for the missile system’s operation, the ministry said.

“The position area has been prepared in geodesic and engineering terms to accommodate the missile system. Work is underway to build new and reconstruct old facilities to provide for the operation and the combat use of the system. Technical and utility supply lines are being modernized and electric power, communications and command and control cables are being laid. Work has been arranged to train personnel and prepare armament, military and special hardware,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

Deputy Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force for Armament Sergei Poroskun has said that the Avangard hypersonic missile system features combat capabilities that “make it possible to reliably breach any anti-missile defenses.”

The Okhotnik attack drone

The Okhotnik (“Hunter”) attack drone is now being viewed as a prototype for Russia’s “sixth-generation” fighter plane. TASS describes this in more detail:

According to [a defense industry] official, although the sixth generation fighter jet project “has not yet taken full shape, its main features are already known.”

“First of all, it should be unmanned and capable of performing any combat task in an autonomous regime. In this sense, Okhotnik will become the prototype of the sixth generation fighter jet,’ the source said, adding that the drone will be able to “take off, fulfill its objectives and return to the airfield.”

“However, it will not receive the function of decision-making regarding the use of weapons – this will be decided by a human,” he said.

TASS was unable to officially confirm the information at the time of the publication.

Another defense industry source earlier told TASS that the prototype of Okhotnik (Hunter) was ready and would start test flights this year.

The Russian Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi Company signed a contract for developing the 20-ton Okhotnik (Hunter) heavy unmanned strike aircraft in 2011. The drone’s mock-up model was made in 2014. According to unconfirmed reports, composite materials and anti-radar coating were used to create the Okhotnik. The drone is equipped with a reaction-jet propulsion and is supposed to develop a speed of 1000 kilometers per hour.

Peresvet laser weapons systems

TASS reported that the Russian military forces are now training for the use of the Peresvet combat laser system:

Russian Aerospace Force has accepted for service the laser complexes Peresvet and the military are now taking drills that involve the novel combat technologies, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

“The Peresvet laser complexes have been placed at sites of permanent deployment,” the report said. “Active efforts to make them fully operational are underway.”

“To ensure their proper functioning, the necessary infrastructures and specialized facilities for housing the complexes and duty crews have been built,” the ministry said.

The crews assigned to the Peresvets have taken upgrader courses at the Alexander Mozhaisky Military-Space Academy in St Petersburg.

The Russian military strategy of “asymmetric response.”

The overall defense strategy is termed an “asymmetric response”, and Mr. Murakhovsky explained the principle in this way:

“This is an asymmetric response, in which new classes of weapons are created, instead of new types within the framework of the existing systems. Other states are not expected to have anything of this kind [in the near future],” he said.

The expert described this response as “quite an efficient one, all the more so because it requires no additional investment – all the works are being carried out within the framework of the state procurement program.”

He added that unlike the Soviet Union, Russia avoids being dragged into a direct arms race and searches for cutting-edge solutions instead of simply increasing the number of weapons.

“The development of counter-weapons to those arms [may be possible] in distant future, but it does not mean that they can be created at all,” Murakhovsky added.

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