Courthouse shooting highlights growing risk—security expert

, The National Law Journal


Steven Swensen, a former U.S. marshal and founder of the Center for Judicial and Executive Security in Saint Paul, Minn., talks to NLJ about the recent shooting in Delaware—and about why violent incidents are increasing despite a renewed focus on safety.

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What's being said

  • Steve Swensen

    With due respect to Ms. Russell you misinterpreted my comments on family court violence. It is true that a majority of persons appearing in family courts do not have criminal records.

    I was not referring to those persons who have committed domestic violence. In fact not only is domestic violence a serious crime it is also a potential pre-indicator of further court-targeted (and other) acts of violence. Myself and others specializing in contemporary threat management would be making a major mistake in not considering it so. It is also true that there is a disproportionate number of women being targeted for violence at courthouses. My research has conclusively determined that court security is not only a judicial security matter it is also a violence in the workplace, violence against women, officer safety, and public safety concern.

    I like to think and my actions speak as loud as my words do on this issue - that I do get it.

  • Bonnie Russell

    The outrageous quote from Swenson regarding family court litigants, " but in past incidents the persons involved in domestic violence in family courts don't have a criminal record per se. So they're not a traditional threat source.." underscores that those in charge just. don't. get. it.

    This, not getting it in the "extreme" continues assisting getting people killed. See below In response to today's interview and Greene's piece yesterday about her colleague, Mark Harmon.

    Tragically, it is precisely because law enforcement as well as DAs in general, (San Francisco being the latest embarrassment) do not act as if family crimes are, well, crimes, that allows criminal matters to be heard in family court. With Delaware like results. Until women are afforded police services for which they pay taxes, Government will remain the problem.

  • Rational observer

    Duh... It's not about metal detection and gun dissemination. It's about a ruthless, capitalistic, dog-eat-dog society that has created so much misery and deprivation that way too many people feel like hopeless losers and victims. They have no recourse to seek true justice. They have no viable mediation procedures or social service support. And they have HAD IT! And they don't care who they take out, because they are going to spread around the pain which they have been carrying inside of themselves for so damned long. And you add to that this "culture" of violence...for crissakes, look at the top TV shows. They're all about murder and rape and crime-solving. Or they're contests where people at the top of their field or top of their game succeed. But if you're an ordinary person sitting at home, you have no prayer of making enough money by doing ordinary work to get all your needs met and live a comfortable life. You can install all the bloody detection equipment you want, but if this society doesn't deal with all the pain and inequity at the grassroots' level, you're going to be reading about more and more instances of explosive violence being leveled in public facilities all over this country. Don't you all get what's going on?

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