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Threat Assessment

Professor of creative writing at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Marjorie Sandor, talked about her latest work compiling stories from the deeply unsettling to the possibly supernatural and why we love tales that delve into our increasingly unstable sense of self, home, and planet. In the first hour, bestselling author Juan Enriquez discussed how man is in a different phase of evolution and the future of life on the planet is now in our hands.

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Threat Assessment

Show Archive
Date: Thursday - April 24, 2003
Host: George Noory
Guests: Gavin de Becker

"Fear is a signal in the presence of danger," but unwarranted fear or anxiety "is always based on your memory or imagination," said Gavin de Becker, Thursday night's guest. de Becker, an expert on the prediction and management of violence, believes that pre-programmed fears or anxieties can stand in the way of our safety by blocking our natural sensory inputs.

At the root of all fears is the death of the body and identity, de Becker stated. However "risk is not only a part of life, but it's the specific part that gives life its flavor. Otherwise, things would mean nothing," he said. Though we live in extraordinarily violent times, "I reject the premise of evil-- Violence is a resource in all of us," de Becker said.

de Becker suggested that the US government has been manipulating through fear since 911 such as with its color-coded terrorist warning levels, but statistically there is a much greater threat of violence at schools or in the workplace. In relation to school shootings, "video games are a profound part of the equation," de Becker reported, saying they foster good marksmanship while reinforcing dehumanization. He added that gun access is also a big part of the problem.

Predicting Violence

One of the books that tonight's guest Gavin de Becker has written is The Gift of Fear, a kind of guidebook for using one's intuitions and instincts to recognize and react to potentially dangerous situations. de Becker points out that many Americans live in denial about violence, yet our country has a murder rate that is ten times higher than that of other Western nations and there are more firearms than adults in the U.S. Instead of focusing on predicting and preventing violence he believes our country expands the "technologies of conflict," with more guns, prisons, SWAT teams, stun guns, and Tasers.

"Like every creature, you can know when you are in the presence of danger. You have the gift of a brilliant internal guardian that stands ready to warn you of hazards and guide you through risky situations," de Becker writes. By trusting their "gut feeling," rather than logic, de Becker believes a person can be more grounded in nature and make smarter choices.

He also writes that violence is neither random nor senseless but "always has purpose and meaning to the perpetrator," and thereby one can detect warning signs. He calls these signs "pre-incidence indicators," and by being able to recognize these factors one can take the necessary action.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Thursday April 24, 2003

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