Find the manifesto and prevent the event!
Once you find a manifesto and begin to read, there will be little doubt in your mind as to the severity of the subject's intended actions
Manifesto generally means a public declaration of your aims and goals. However, since Theodore John Kaczynski released his “Unabomber manifesto” to the press it is the word attached to every document of intent prepared by mass killers or wannabe mass killers.
Having been an officer who has found a “manifesto” after an arrest, which revealed an impending mass killing, I can’t emphasize this point enough: A police officer dealing with someone spouting their desire to kill must make every effort to find the manifesto!
Here are 11 reasons why it is critical to find the killer’s manifesto:
1. Weapons will clearly be evidence
Finding weapons, while serving a search warrant or during an arrest may have no significance attached to their presence unless the suspect is a convicted felon. A manifesto promising the impending murder of many turns the weapons mentioned in the document into evidence.
2. You will pull back the curtain on the suspect
The manifesto will give insight into the dangerous mind of a person whose neighbors describe as “a polite, quiet man.”
By finding and reading the manifesto you may discover the who, what, where, when and why of the murderous actions of this “polite quiet man” before he kills.
3. It is often in their own hand
Some of these writings may be found in the killer’s social media account, or on their computer. However, you will often find it in a notebook or binder written in the suspect's own hand. These hand-scrawled admissions are powerful evidence and will bring a deep chill to the bone of everyone reading, even the suspect’s attorney.
4. It will aid in the interview/interrogation
Seeing the suspect's plan in their own hand will assist any interviewer greatly in obtaining statements to aid in not just the prosecution, but also in understanding what goes through the mind of individuals who plan mass murders. Since so many lives are ended by an increasing number of these events, a great deal of insight can be gained, bringing one in alive and picking their brains before they have killed.
5. It may identify co-conspirators, or not
Research has shown that 98.7% of “active killer events” involve one person. The manifesto may verify that the suspect is the lone threat, or if that suspect has reached out to others, the manifesto may reveal the names of co-conspirators.
6. It will help in securing an emergency hold
If your investigation leads you to place an emergency psychiatric hold on the suspect it will help convince others in the system to hold the subject for psychological scrutiny and treatment.
7. It will aid in prosecution and later in sentencing
When you intercept the suspect before the crime, that is a great thing, but since there will have been no casualties because of your preventative apprehension, it will make it more difficult to convince a judge and jury of the grave danger presented by the suspect.
Entering into evidence a manifesto of the defendant’s own words will make the prosecution and sentencing easier since it will clearly demonstrate the danger the suspect poses.
8. You will save lives
The one extremely worthwhile benefit to finding the manifesto is you will save an incalculable number of lives. Finding the document after the event provides clarity of the suspect’s motive for killing, however finding it before the event prevents the killing.
9. It can be used as a training aid
Each time officers can intercept one of these killers before they kill, the process that leads to the apprehension can assist other agencies in developing the knowledge and skills to also prevent mass killers, in the wannabe active killer’s fantasy, planning, or preparation phases.
The manifesto can be used as a clear-cut example to demonstrate that since a murderous act was imminent and you stopped it, others can be prevented as well with the same kind of investigative due diligence you used.
10. You will be able to be at peace when the system fails
There may be a time when you have gathered copious evidence, arrested, or placed a hold on the dangerous person, but others in the system find a way to release them.
When that person kills after this release, you will find some solace in knowing you did everything you could to prevent that loss of life.
11. It’s a reminder
Saving a digital news copy of the event will be a reminder of how important the career you have chosen is to the health, safety and welfare of the community you serve.
We call it a “manifesto”
When you find a “manifesto” it will probably not be labeled as such by its author. It may not even be in manuscript form. It will most likely be writings on paper, in notebooks, or in a file on the computer into which the suspect pours their inner thoughts, complaints, ambitions and plans. Expect it to be disorganized, because it is the child of a disorganized brain.
It may include a shopping list or inventory of items the suspect needs to carry out their plans. It will often explain in detail how the suspect has been wronged, by whom, and what he or she plans on doing to even the score.
Once you find these documents and begin to read them, there will be little doubt in your mind as to the severity of the subject's intended actions. It may portend a great blood-letting of innocents.
When you are dealing with someone who feels wronged and appears to have an unnatural and possibly homicidal anger toward persons, a place, or thing, consider taking the next step to develop probable cause for a search warrant to search for weapons, ammunition, plans and documents outlining his/her plans.
Then search thoroughly to find the manifesto and prevent the event!