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Sociopath vs. Psychopath: What’s the Difference?

This explanation of sociopath vs. psychopath comes from a class I took. “Psychopath” is a term used mostly in criminal justice. Many people have fallen prey to sociopaths and psychopaths, which is why it is important to recognize that these types of people exist in society.

Sociopath vs. Psychopath:

“The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), released by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013, lists both sociopathy and psychopathy under the heading of Antisocial Personality Disorders (ASPD). These disorders share many common behavioral traits which lead to the confusion between them. Key traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include: 

  • A disregard for laws and social mores
  • A disregard for the rights of others
  • A failure to feel remorse or guilt
  • A tendency to display violent behavior”

Sociopaths

“Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long. It is difficult but not impossible for sociopaths to form attachments with others.  In the eyes of others, sociopaths will appear to be very disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous rather than planned.”

Example: O. J. Simpson

Psychopaths

“Psychopaths are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.”

Example: Ted Bundy, Charles Manson

NOTE: There is no cure for these disorders, and medication does not work.

Dawn Pisturino, RN

September 21, 2021

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Community Engagement: The Boston Marathon Bombing

Photo Credit: Britannica

The Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013 changed how police departments communicate with the public during important emergency events. For the first time, social media played a critical role in communicating information about the bombings and capturing the culprits (Haddow, 2017).

On the day of the bombings, Commissioner of Police Ed Davis held a press conference. He calmly explained what happened and reassured the public that Boston had a comprehensive emergency response plan in place. The FBI, State Police, National Guard, and ATF were already in the city, offering their services. The Commissioner exuded confidence, control, and common sense. He asked for the public’s help in capturing the perpetrators (Global Breaking News, 2013).

Commissioner of Police Ed Davis and the Boston Police Department were committed to providing accurate, timely information to the public and keeping the lines of two-way communication open. He asked people to stay home and away from crowds for their own safety. He asked people to call the Mayor’s hotline and the Boston PD TIPS line with information (Global Breaking News, 2013).

The Boston Police Department was a leader in using social media to communicate with the public. Photos, videos, and information were shared through Twitter, Facebook, and websites. Inaccurate information was quickly corrected. It was noted by Bar-Tur that “BPD’s presence online helps reinvent the whole notion of community policing for the 21st century” (Haddow, p. 185, 2017). When the Tsarnaev brothers were finally caught, Boston Police Department tweeted a resounding “CAPTURED!!!” (Haddow, p. 185, 2017).

Instead of cowering in fear and feeling powerless, the Boston community was kept involved. This community empowerment contributed to situational awareness and the recovery of Boston after the event.

Global Breaking News. (Presenter). (2013, April 15). First press conference boston marathon

       bomb attack [Video file].Retrieved from (link not working):

Haddow, G.D., Bullock, J.A., & Coppola, D.P. (2017). Introduction to emergency

       management. (6th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Elsevier.

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

October 7, 2019

Copyright 2019-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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The Evolution of Emergency Management in the United States

Associated Press

What is “emergency management?”  According to Haddow, Bullock, and Coppola (2017), “the definition of emergency management can be extremely broad and all-encompassing.”  It is an evolving discipline whose priorities have changed in response to diverse events, political leadership, and scientific advances.

The nature of the events and the responses of political leaders have been the most influential in shaping emergency management priorities and organizational structure.  Since emergency management “deals with risk and risk avoidance” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017), no single event will be handled in precisely the same way.  A terrorist attack like 9/11, which was a major criminal event that involved foreigners and foreign countries, will have a much greater impact on the psyche of the American people and affect a broader range of government departments, than a natural event like a hurricane or earthquake.

The U.S. Constitution “gives the states the responsibility for public health and safety – hence the responsibility for public risks – with the federal government in a secondary role.  The federal role is to help when the state, local or individual entity is overwhelmed” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

What kind of events can hit American communities?  Natural events include floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, storm surges, tornadoes, wildfires, land movements such as avalanches and mudslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, severe winter storms, drought, extremes of heat and cold, coastal erosion, thunderstorms, lightning, and hail.  Technological events can include building fires, dam failures, hazardous material incidents, nuclear and radiation accidents. 

Criminal events include terrorism and the potential use of biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).      

On May 31, 1889, the South Fork dam in Johnstown, PA failed, and “unleashed 20,000,000 tons of water that devastated” the town and killed 2,209 residents (National Park Service,2017).  The failure was caused by inadequate construction, maintenance, and repair.  This event caught the attention of the entire world, and people banded together to help “the Johnstown sufferers” (National Park Service, 2017).

In 1803, Congress passed legislation authorizing federal funds to help a town in New Hampshire destroyed by fire.  This set the precedence for federal involvement in local events.  But it was under Franklin D. Roosevelt “that the federal government began to make significant investments in emergency management functions” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the Bureau of Public Roads were authorized “to make disaster loans available for repair and reconstruction of certain public facilities” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017) in the 1930s. The Tennessee Valley Authority – established to produce hydroelectric power – also sought to reduce flooding in the valley (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The Flood Control Act of 1936 authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “to design and build flood-control projects” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  Now, “humans could control nature” and promote growth and development in areas previously unavailable (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The 1950s and the Cold War brought a whole new dynamic to the discipline of emergency management.  Scientists had succeeded in creating a whole new arsenal of weapons with the capability of destroying the world.  The potential for nuclear holocaust was so great, “civil defense programs proliferated across communities” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  People built bomb shelters to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.  A feeling of paranoia gripped the entire nation as U.S. politicians engaged diplomatically with representatives from the Soviet Union.                                                                            

The Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) was a poorly-funded department “whose main role was to provide technical assistance” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017) in the event of nuclear attack.  In reality, however, it was the civil defense directors at the local and state levels who shaped the policies and response to potential disaster.

The 1960s focused attention on natural disasters, and the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 was passed by Congress.  The National Flood Insurance Program was subsequently created, which helped to ease the burden on homeowners located in flood areas and to act proactively before the floods began.  This legislation emphasized “the concept of community-based mitigation” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  When communities joined the NFIP, they committed themselves to passing local ordinances which controlled development in floodplain areas.  The federal government produced floodplain maps to support these ordinances.

George Bernstein, who became head of the Federal Insurance Administration under President Richard Nixon, strengthened the program by “linking the mandatory purchase of flood insurance to all homeowner loans that were backed by federal mortgages” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  This led to the Flood Insurance Act of 1972.

During the 1970s, “more than 100 federal agencies were involved in some aspect of risks and disasters” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  The fragmentation, conflicts, and confusion that resulted were no different on the state and local levels.  When Three Mile Island occurred, these problems became all-too-apparent to the general public.  As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created by Congress under President Jimmy Carter, with the director reporting directly to the president.

Reorganization Plan Number 3, which created FEMA, sought to establish the following guidelines: FEMA workers “were to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to major civil emergencies” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017); the agency would demand “the most efficient use of all available resources” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017); “emergency responsibilities should be extensions of federal agencies” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017); and “federal hazard mitigation activities should be closely linked with emergency preparedness and response functions” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

In the 1980s, civil defense became the priority under President Ronald Reagan.  Director Louis Giuffrida reorganized FEMA, moved multiple departments into one building, and placed the agency’s priority “on government preparedness for a nuclear attack” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  Giuffrida resigned after a financial scandal, which undermined the credibility of the agency.  The new director, Julius Becton, worked to restore “integrity to the operations and appropriations of the agency” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  Under Becton’s leadership, natural hazards like earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods were given a low priority, confirming that the agency “continued the pattern of isolating resources for national security priorities without recognizing the potential of a major natural disaster” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

Senator Al Gore, during Senate hearings, questioned FEMA’s priorities and its preparedness in the event of a major earthquake.  FEMA was pressured to create an earthquake preparedness plan which “would later become the standard for all of the federal agencies’ response operations” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

Under George H.W. Bush, multiple natural disasters occurred – including Hurricane Andrew – which affected people’s perception of FEMA.  “People wanted, and expected, their government to be there to help in their time of need” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  FEMA was perceived as weak and ineffective.

James Witt was appointed Director by President Bill Clinton.  Witt had extensive experience in emergency management and reorganized FEMA to support community relations, the efficient use of new technology, and an emphasis on “mitigation and risk avoidance” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The 1990s heralded a new wave of natural disasters.  FEMA successfully handled the Midwest floods of 1993 and initiated “the largest voluntary buyout and relocation program to date in an effort to move people out of the floodplain . . .” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

Director Witt became a member of Clinton’s cabinet and persuaded state governors “to include their state emergency management directors in their cabinets” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  This is how important emergency management had become.

The bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Oklahoma Bombing in 1995 reaffirmed the notion that terrorist events fall into the category of “risks and the consequences of those risks” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  Emergency management has been an important part of handling similar events.

FEMA’s Project impact: Building Disaster-Resistant Communities heralded “a new community-based approach” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017) that required communities “to identify risks and establish a plan to reduce those risks” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  The ultimate goal was for the community to “promote sustainable economic development, protect and enhance its natural resources, and ensure a better quality of life for its citizens” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

Project Impact was defunded under President George W. Bush.  After the unexpected earthquake in Seattle, however, FEMA received a lot of praise from Seattle’s mayor, and the program was restored.  Seattle, it turned out, had been “one of the most successful Project impact communities” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The events of 9/11 proved the effectiveness of FEMA when “hundreds of response personnel initiated their operations within just minutes of the onset of events” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  FEMA was then incorporated into the newly-formed Department of Homeland Security and lost much of its effectiveness and power.  The new National Incident Management System (NIMS) fell under the auspices of the Director of Operations Coordination (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The threat of Hurricane Katrina off the Gulf Coast in 2005 prompted President Bush to declare “a disaster in advance of an emergency event for the states in the projected impact zone” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017) and caused DHS/FEMA to shoulder the responsibility.  Their response was a failure.

Obama’s appointee, W. Craig Fugate, designated victims of disasters as “survivors” and developed the Whole Community concept which emphasized “preparedness partnerships that had been developed among federal, state, local, private sector, voluntary, and non-profit entities” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  Involving people from all sectors of the community has increased the effectiveness of emergency management response to disasters.

The history and development of emergency management prove how events influence and shape government policies, departmental organization, leadership priorities, and government response to national emergencies.  When all citizens get involved, emergency preparedness and response protect communities and mitigate the costs of recovery.

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

August 8, 2019

Copyright 2019-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

References

Haddow, G.D., Bullock, J.A., & Coppola, D.P. (2017). Introduction to emergency

       management. Cambridge, MA: Elsevier Inc.

National Park Service. (2017). Johnstown flood national memorial pennsylvania.

       Retrieved from http://www.nps.gov/jofl/index.htm.

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Remembering the Oklahoma City Bombing 1995

Oklahoma City bombing

Photo by By Staff Sergeant Preston Chasteen – Defense Imagery

The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing is considered “the deadliest and most destructive act of domestic terrorism” in American history. Using a fertilizer bomb which cost around $5,000, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols partially collapsed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and “destroyed or damaged 324 buildings in a 16 block radius.” The glass shattered in another 258 buildings in a radius of 55 miles. Damages were estimated at $650 million. Deaths totaled 168 people, including 19 children in the building’s daycare center, and injured around 700 people.

The event did not affect Oklahoma City alone. The small town of Kingman, Arizona, the Mohave County seat, was suddenly catapulted into the national news when it came out that Timothy McVeigh had been living in Kingman just months before the bombing. His Army friend, Michael Fortier, helped him to plan the bombing. When the FBI raided his mobile home, they found over 100 detonators.

How do I know this? I live outside Kingman, Arizona. And Timothy McVeigh had lived in the Kingman area on and off for several years. He was an occupant at a particular motel in Kingman. He worked at a local True Value hardware store. At one time, he worked at a well-known casino in Laughlin, Nevada. My husband, who was a Pit Boss at the time, knew him as a fellow employee. McVeigh drove an old yellow Buick which I saw drive by our house on more than one occasion.

Timothy McVeigh had become friendly with well-known pro-gun, anti-government activists in the area. A few months before the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma bombings, strange things were happening around Kingman, Arizona.

A large fertilizer explosive device was exploded out in the remote desert near the living ghost town of Oatman, which has never been explained or solved. At least 2 bomb threats were called in to Black Mountain Elementary School in Golden Valley. The perpetrators were never caught.

After the Oklahoma City bombing occurred on April 19, 1995 (the two year anniversary of the end of the Waco, Texas stand-off), the FBI descended onto Kingman to investigate the Kingman connection. Residents responded to this invasion by selling T-shirts which read, “I Survived the FBI.” In spite of their presence and the investigation, I have always believed that some of the conspirators got away. They simply disappeared underground.

Could the Oklahoma City bombing have been prevented? Probably not. There was no way to predict that the strange happenings around Kingman would lead to such a major man-made disaster. They appeared to be random events. But hindsight suggests that they could have been exercises conducted by the conspirators, leading up to the BIG EVENT.

One thing is certain: “the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995 . . . raised the issue of America’s preparedness for terrorism events.” Since emergency management as a discipline deals with risks, the avoidance of risks, and the consequences of risks, it made sense to include terrorism under the big umbrella.

FEMA was an independent agency then which had grown in status and importance under President Bill Clinton. As a result, the agency was able to respond to the bombing within 45 minutes of notification of the event. Section 501(b) of the Stafford Act gives FEMA primary authority to respond to a domestic disaster, and this authority was exercised for the first time with the Oklahoma City bombing. FEMA coordinated with the FBI to preserve and control the crime site. This experience helped to clarify responsibilities and authority in future disasters.

Oklahoma was well-prepared for the disaster. The immediate response was to publicly request the assistance of all medical personnel in the area. Volunteers and volunteer organizations, such as the American Red Cross, arrived to help. Hospitals set up triage stations. Local law enforcement and EMS personnel utilized their excellent training. The state of Oklahoma had already worked hard to perfect coordination between the Public Works Department, the National Weather Service, and the National Guard. The Department of Public Safety had already developed a strong disaster plan. The entire state was involved in responding to the disaster. This has been dubbed the Oklahoma Standard.

In the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, FEMA created Project Impact: Building Disaster-Resistant Communities which asked communities “to identify risks and establish a plan to reduce those risks.” This kind of community-based action is exactly what is needed to mitigate (prevent) events from happening and to keep communities prepared to respond effectively after the event has happened.

Source: Haddow, G.D., Bullock, J.A., & Coppola, D.P. (2017). Introduction to emergency

       management. Cambridge, MA: Elsevier Inc.

Dawn Pisturino

August 13, 2019

Copyright 2019-2020 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Remembering the Laughlin River Run Riot 2002

 

Laughlin River Run Riot 2

Laughlin is a small township in Clark County, Nevada which lies along the Colorado River, across from Bullhead City, Arizona. It takes about 25 minutes to drive from Laughlin to Needles, California. Laughlin boasts a constable and a handful of police officers. For intensive law enforcement needs, it relies on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department – located 90 miles away in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Laughlin is known for its nine casinos and annual Laughlin River Run, a motorcycle gathering which began in 1983. On April 27, 2002, Laughlin made the national news when a deadly brawl broke out between two rival outlaw motorcycle gangs: the Hells Angels and the Mongols.

The Flamingo Hotel (now called the Aquarius) was host to the Hells Angels, while Harrah’s was filled with Mongols. Around 2:15 am on Saturday, April 27th, approximately 35 Hells Angels entered Harrah’s and verbally engaged with about 40 Mongols hanging out in Rosa’s Cantina bar. The brawl began when Hells Angels member Raymond Foakes attacked a member of the Mongols. Two Hells Angels died by shooting, and one Mongols member died by stabbing. Dozens of people were injured, including sixteen who were transported by EMS to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City, Arizona and University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Police confiscated 50 knives and numerous guns.

There were about 140 police officers on patrol in Laughlin for the event. Police immediately shut down the town, closing off all exit routes. Hundreds of law enforcement officers and SWAT members arrived from Kingman and Bullhead City, Arizona; Needles, California; and Las Vegas, Nevada. The casinos shut down, stranding people wherever they were.

My husband was the Pit Boss on graveyard at the Golden Nugget, where tensions between the Hells Angels and the Mongols first flared. According to him, customers who were stranded there were given pillows and blankets and allowed to sleep around the pool.

Police interviewed more than 500 people, and surveillance tapes clearly showed what happened. They arrested several people. Harrah’s made counselors available to guests and employees and opened an information hotline. Then they re-opened the casino on Saturday afternoon. In fear of retaliation, the town was kept on tight security and police watch. Bikers who were free to leave left en masse on Sunday morning.

Harrah’s later lost a lawsuit which claimed that the casino knew about tensions between the two outlaw motorcycle gangs and did not do enough to beef up security. Harrah’s denied all responsibility.

The motives for the brawl were based on years of gang rivalry between the Hells Angels and the Mongols. A vendor selling Hells Angels gear was harassed by Mongols members at the event. A Hells Angels biker was found dead by police along Interstate 40 near Ludlow, CA. He was on his way home from Laughlin to San Diego. Police determined that he was killed about an hour before the riot.

The River Run Riot, as it is now called, spurred the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to increase police presence, information sharing, and surveillance for future Laughlin River Runs. Officers from the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms manned checkpoints with special firearm-sniffing dogs to disclose hidden firearms. The curfew for juveniles from 6 pm to 5 am was continued, and glass and metal drink containers were prohibited.

The Laughlin casinos, which chip in to pay for security and law enforcement presence, increased their hotel prices and made the River Run much less friendly to outlaw biker clubs. The River Run began to draw fewer crowds, and some anti-Laughlin biker gatherings emerged. The costs became greater than the benefits, and the last Laughlin River Run was held in April, 2019.

The remarkable response by law enforcement to the incident minimized the deaths and injuries that could have occurred. The multi-jurisdictional cooperation between Arizona, Nevada, and California brought a number of people to justice and helped make towns and highways safer, during and after the event.

Dawn Pisturino

September 9, 2019

Copyright 2019-2020 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Contact author for sources.

 

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