Robert O’Block | The Forensic Examiner

ACFEI Robert O'Block

robert o'block, robert oblock, dr. robert o’block, american college of forensic examiners international, acfei

The Forensic Examiner, the world’s foremost forensic science journal, has come from humble yet auspicious beginnings, and has served to create something much larger than itself.

In 1992, Dr. Robert O’Block, a professor and department head in the Department of Administration of Justice at College of the Ozarks, decided to begin a forensic science association with a sincere focus on advancing forensic science after being shut out of similar organizations. Though this later changed, the focus was initially on handwriting analysis. The organization was first known as the American Board of Forensic Handwriting Analysts, and was run out of Dr. O’Block’s spare bedroom.

As the organization grew, Dr. O’Block faced a need to communicate widely with the organizations members. Most members had been frustrated with the limitations created by other associations in the profession; they were hungry for more information and the chance to advance their field. Offering a newsletter to share the information he knew seemed to be a good solution. He created the first newsletter (which, at the time, was unnamed). It was released in August of 1992, and was merely two typed pages informing members of the happenings within the organization. By the second newsletter, it had a name: Handwriting Examiner.

Within a year, the newsletter was announcing and promoting the first national conference of the association. After the conference’s unmitigated success, Dr. O’Block gave his newsletter a new name: the American Board’s Forensic Examiner. This was an intelligent move, as it opened up the organization to all within forensic science rather than just handwriting analysts.

Soon after this, Dr. O’Block left his teaching position at College of the Ozarks to work for the association full time. At the same time, The Forensic Examiner, was gaining more and more success. The organization began offering certifications, a fact advertised in The Forensic Examiner. This spurned the organizations success even further, and with this success more changes were to come. The association’s name changed to the American College of Forensic Examiners (ACFEI).

In the year after this, The Forensic Examiner, made the major changes into the professional journal we see today. It had already grown form the two-page newsletter Dr. Block wrote in 1992 into nearly a full magazine. In 1994, the newsletter took on a more professional appearance and articles were being peer-reviewed before being published. Some of these articles were full-length journal articles. Over the next year, the journal had again jumped up to 34 pages in length.

This kind of success in a journal less than 3 years old was unprecedented. Today, this journal is the world’s foremost academic journal on forensic science. The success of The Forensic Examiner brought on the success of ACFEI and Dr. O’Block by allowing those hungry for more information and the expansion of forensic science to share their knowledge with others.

Robert O’Block is founder of the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI). ACFEI is the largest professional forensic education organization in the world and honored to have as its advisory board members many of the top forensic experts of the 21st century. As all humanity now thrives in the Information Age, Dr. O’Block & ACFEI continues to investigate development of forensic educational services that incorporate Information and Communications Technology. Plans have been made to one day offer the forensic field educational services focused on Cyber Justice, iPredator, Cyber Criminal/Forensic Psychology and Digital Forensics.

Feel free to visit their website at www.acfei.com. If interested in contacting Dr. O’Block or ACFEI, their phone number is (800) 423-9737.

SCIENCE, INTEGRITY, JUSTICE & CYBER JUSTICE

robert o'block, robert oblock, dr. robert o’block, american college of forensic examiners international, acfei

Robert O’Block | 2012 Executive Summit

Robert O'Block and ES-21

robert o'block, american college of forensic examiners international, acfei, forensics, forensic sciences education

Robert O'Block is founder of the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI). ACFEI is the largest professional forensic education organization in the world and honored to have as its advisory board members many of the top forensic experts of the 21st century. As all humanity now thrives in the Information Age, Robert O'Block & ACFEI continues to investigate development of forensic educational services that incorporate Information and Communications Technology. Plans have been made to one day offer the forensic field educational services focused on Cyber Justice, iPredator, Cyber Criminal/Forensic Psychology and Digital Forensics.

Feel free to visit their website at www.acfei.com. If interested in contacting Robert O'Block or ACFEI, their phone number is (800) 423-9737.

SCIENCE, INTEGRITY, JUSTICE & CYBER JUSTICE

Many people may not know why I started the American College of Forensic Examiners International. The reason is my belief in justice. Justice for all and the safety of Americans. And now that we live in the Information Age, ACFEI will help educate Americans on the forensic sciences, justice and cyber justice.” Robert O'Block Ph.D., Psy.D., Founder, American College of Forensic Examiners International, (2012)   

Robert O’Block

Robert O'Block is the founder of the world’s largest forensic science association, the American College of Forensic Examiners. Founding this organization and building it up into the empire it is today did not come easy to Robert O'Block. Like all who have become successes, Robert O’Block had to work for it. Robert O’Block had to work harder than others, however. He had many obstacles that others live without.

Robert O’Block comes from a long line of those who struggled to survive. His grandfather, William O’Block, came to America and, having no other prospects, accepted a position as a coal miner. This position required them to live away from other civilizations, relying completely on the mining company for housing and supplies. These supplies cost more than the wages coal miners made.  Robert O’Block’sfather, Louis, found work on the railroad. He was fired shortly before he was eligible to receive a retirement pension (a shameful yet common practice at the time).  Without a proper education, Louis had difficulty finding a good job. The family lived in a small shack.

The young Robert O’Block grew up in this poverty. Seeing the disparity between what his family had and the excesses of others, he determined that he would not remain in this poverty. The only difference he could see between what his father and grandfather had done and other, more successful men, was whether or not they had an education. Robert O’Block was determined to get one for himself.

Young Robert O’Block began working at the age of 13 to put himself through Catholic high school. Beyond providing for his education, this instilled Robert O’Block with a good work ethic and an understanding of the value of a dollar. After graduation, he enrolled in the Kansas State College of Pittsburg. To provide for his education, he worked full time at night as a dispatcher for the security office at Kansas State College. Throughout his education he would work full time as well.

Within three-and-a-half years, Robert O’Block received his bachelor’s degree. Shortly thereafter, he earned a master’s degree and an EdS. Two years later, he received his PhD, at only 24 years of age. His sheer determination that helped him succeed in his education continued into his career, and it was only a matter of time before Robert O’Block would become the founder of ACFEI. Robert O’Block is a great example of what hard work and determination can bring.

 

Robert O’Block | American College of Forensic Examiners Institute

ACFEI Robert O'Block

robert o'block, american college of forensic examiners international, acfei, forensics, forensic sciences education

Dr. Robert O'Block got his start in criminology while attending Pittsburg State University. The textbook that inspired him to a career in criminal justice, a decision that would enable him to change the face of forensic science forever, was Sociology of Deviant Behavior by Marshall Clinard. Upon completion of the course that required this text, he began working as a dispatcher. The rest is history!

To see the cutting edge of forensic science for yourself, look at what the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute is up to. Go to http://www.acfei.com/ for more information!

Robert O’Block is founder of the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI). ACFEI is the largest professional forensic education organization in the world and honored to have as its advisory board members many of the top forensic experts of the 21st century. As all humanity now thrives in the Information Age, Dr. O’Block & ACFEI continues to investigate development of forensic educational services that incorporate Information and Communications Technology. Plans have been made to one day offer the forensic field educational services focused on Cyber Justice, iPredator, Cyber Criminal/Forensic Psychology and Digital Forensics.       

Feel free to visit their website at www.acfei.com. If interested in contacting Dr. O’Block or ACFEI, their phone number is (800) 423-9737.

SCIENCE, INTEGRITY, JUSTICE & CYBER JUSTICE

 

robert o'block, american college of forensic examiners international, acfei, forensics, forensic sciences education

 

Robert O’Block | The Cost of Defending a Nation

ACFEI Robert O'Block

 robert o'block, american college of forensic examiners international, acfei, forensics, forensic sciences education

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”–Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Introduction

The War on Terror has filled the residual void left behind after the Cold War came to an end in December 1991. Our ambiguous enemy, better known as the Global Salafi Jihad Movement or what noted psychologist and independent researcher on terrorism, Dr. Marc Sageman (2008), has coined as the “al-Qaeda Social Movement,” became the primary focus of the United States and other Western governments after Usama bin Laden issued two illegal fatwas (religious edicts) in 1996 and again in 1998, culminating in a sequence of aerial attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. These concurrent attacks left the most powerful nation in the world on its heels and reeling from the audacity of a terrorist organization in the form of al-Qaeda (the Base) to successfully launch its surprise jihad inside our borders. Subsequently, those asymmetric attacks have redefined how we as a nation must revisit our strategies to secure our homeland from attacks initiated by our terrorist enemies and their irregular warfare tactics (Clancy & Crossett, 2007).

After sustaining a tremendous amount of infrastructure damage and loss of innocent lives from terrorist attacks such as those sustained in Oklahoma City, New York City, and Washington D.C., Americans quickly discovered a renewed sense of mortality as they sat silently and watched mass chaos and destruction erupt in their own backyard. Their lives were affected forever as fear began to take hold and the realization of a very legitimate and plausible threat proved substantial. Personal, political, and economic sanctuaries were violated, and the vulnerability of America’s underbelly was clearly exposed, leaving many in awe and questioning those charged with the safety and security of their nation. According to Stephen Flynn (2004-2005), a former adviser on homeland security for the U.S. Commission on National Security (Hart-Rudman Commission),

[t]he reason that catastrophic terrorism holds out such potential as a means to wage war on the United States is not simply because these attacks can inflict damages to systems we depend on; it is because our enemies have good reason to believe that a successful act of terror on American soil will trigger a reaction in which the U.S. government exacerbates localized destruction with substantial self-inflicted and even global costs. (pp. 8-9)

Historically, the United States has depended heavily on its geographic location as a natural defense against foreign intruders, and,

…we were able to treat national security as essentially an out-of-body experience. When confronted by threats, we dealt with them on the turf of our allies or our adversaries. Aside from the occasional disaster and heinous crime, civilian life at home has been virtually terror-free. (Flynn, 2004-2005, pp. 2-3)

This axiom has proven a successful strategy since the completion of the American Revolutionary War in 1783; that is, until the 9/11 attacks. With these attacks came the necessity to reevaluate the United States’ defensive posture within its borders, while simultaneously launching a counter-offensive against al-Qaeda’s central location in Afghanistan since Kandahar was believed to be the location of Usama bin Laden at the time the United States launched Operation “ENDURING FREEDOM.”

The initial military attack proved successful against both al-Qaeda and the Taliban as the U.S. and other allied military forces decisively captured or eliminated multiple key leaders in the al-Qaeda hierarchy, but the government’s plans to prevent future attacks within its borders have confirmed the incongruous fact that with increased security follows abated freedoms. Within this irony lies the concerns of policymakers, because the people of this great nation fully expect their democratic government to protect them from future terrorist attacks while simultaneously sustaining the constitutional freedoms they have come to expect and enjoy as free Americans. Furthermore, an unpredictable variable added to the goal of balancing security with freedom is the systemic fear in the minds of the government and citizens alike. This fear is generated by terrorist attacks and compounded by repetitive media exposure.

The Impact of Fear

The 17th-century English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, once opined

…that all phenomena in the universe, including political institutions, could be understood using principles of geometry. In 1651, Hobbes printed his most famous book, Leviathan, in which he argued that all humans are driven by two and only two impulses: fear of death and desire for power. If left unchecked, human beings would act on these impulses and live violent, brutish, inhumane, and solitary lives. In order to keep these impulses in check, human beings… drew up a social contract among themselves; the people ceded all authority and sovereignty to a single person in exchange for security from each other and from foreign invaders. The single ruler would control the violent and selfish impulses of individual members in a society through brute force; individuals would lose their liberty, but they would gain security and community. (as cited in Hooker, 1996)

Through this “absolute power,” the fear of death can be minimized proportionately to the level of power demonstrated by our government to better secure against future terrorist attacks committed by the al-Qaeda social movement. Fear is a psychologically normal reaction to terrorist attacks and exactly the effect they seek. It is how that fear specifically motivates people and governments to respond to this emotional apprehension that should cause alarm within a society. The decision to either cower to these, and future, terrorist attacks or take an offensive stance to actively seek out the aggressors are courses of action, when determining the political posture of a nation, known as the fight or flight reflex. The fight or flight response is described as a,

…fundamental physiologic response [that] forms the foundation of modern day stress medicine. The ‘fight or flight response’ is our body’s primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to ‘fight’ or ‘flee’ from [a] perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival. …[T]his response is hard-wired into our brains and represents a genetic wisdom designed to protect us from bodily harm. (Neimark, n.d.)

Although this reaction is theorized for particular responses as they directly relate to certain individual stressful situations, it is not hard to draw a correlation in how a nation and its government will react as individual or collective entities to the terrorist attacks that have aggressively taken an entire country without warning. Nationally noted expert on the prediction and management of violence, Gavin de Becker (2002), comments that, “After the terrible events of September 11, many people mistook our enemies for superhuman, when they were merely antihuman. Occasionally effective, to be sure, but our enemies are not powerful or ubiquitous.” He goes on to say, “It is sobering to acknowledge that we cannot protect all possible targets, but it is also true that our enemies cannot attack all possible targets.”

Not knowing which targets are next and who the attackers are and where they will originate from clearly establishes an inevitable amount of caution and uncertainty in the minds of everyone involved. As this fear of the unknown continues to resonate among those who expect protection in the form of governmental support, various laws and other security measures —such as the USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001 and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002—have been put in place to mitigate or even prevent further terrorist attacks. In an interview conducted with Dr. John Mueller, a political scientist at Ohio State University, Dr. Mueller commented on the potential for long-term fear effects:

Even if fears of terrorism do begin to decline, they can probably be very substantially rejiggered if a lone fanatical nut somewhere shoots up a bus, bank, or beauty salon while shouting “God is great!” The experience suggests, then, that we are hardly likely to relax any time soon. Eventually, fears of terrorism will perhaps begin to fade. But the experience with lingering concerns about the dangers supposedly presented by domestic Communism—internalized after dramatic first impressions—suggests it may be a long wait, perhaps one of decades. (Tierney, 2008)

To help alleviate some of the fears that come as a result of not knowing if or when the next attack will occur, the government has enacted multiple antiterrorism security measures. However, the various physical security measures established to protect innocent lives in an uncertain world have inevitably created a perceived burden in the minds of citizens who have grown secure in their “inalienable rights” of freedom that have been enjoyed by all Americans for over two centuries.

As internationally renowned security technologist Bruce Schneier (2003) has properly observed, “Security is all about trade-offs, but when the stakes are considered infinitely high, the whole equation gets thrown out of kilter.” These “trade-offs” have begun to receive serious criticisms by the very citizens that terrorism has targeted; thus, placing the government and its various federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in a demanding position of protecting almost 300 million people against future terrorist attacks while simultaneously striving to protect and maintain their constitutional rights. This extremely difficult position is only made more arduous in accomplishing because placing fear and uncertainty in the minds of the general populace are clearly two of the objectives any terrorist organization has in its grand scheme of overthrowing a government along with spreading Islam throughout the lands of the infidels or kafir (referring to a person who does not recognize God (Allah) or the prophet Muhammad).

Assessing Democracy

Politicians are elected government officials that must “…be seen by the public as doing something to improve security” while ensuring the same freedoms they are attempting to protect are in fact maintained together. Generally, politicians have been quick to draft up new, toothless legislation in response to a man-made catastrophic event in an “alpha display” of validating who is in charge instead of insisting that existing laws be enforced. The 18th-century Western philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, believed “…the people [agree] to cede authority to some group in order to gain the benefits of community and safety. If those in power [refuse] to guarantee community and safety, the governed [are] free to disobey and establish a new political contract” (Hooker, 1996). This apparent challenge to “guarantee community and safety” poses multiple issues as the practices of physical security are designed to limit one’s freedom in an effort to protect a valued asset (e.g., critical infrastructure, economic resources, and human lives). Therefore, as increased security measures continue to limit freedoms, legitimacy in the eyes of the general populace becomes a greater challenge with every passing day. The legitimacy of a government, as viewed by those it represents, is essential should a nation face terrorist activity and possible subsequent attacks.

As terrorist cells continue to carefully plan and execute various terroristic guerilla warfare operations within the United States, they not only destroy their practical targets, but they also strike at the hearts of those touched, directly and indirectly, by the incident (Hughbank & Hughbank, 2007). Initially, the attack is seen as a threat to the collective nation; however, as time passes and rigid security measures are maintained at a level of fidelity conducive to preventing future attacks, people tend to develop short-term memories and begin to see the government and its enforcers as the new enemy. Ironically, both terrorist organizations and the government are limiting freedoms, but only those who enact and enforce the most recent restrictions become the immediate target of objection and contempt. Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent Mike German (2007) identifies the following questions as critical elements in determining true legitimacy in a governing body:

Who legitimately represents the will of the people?

If anyone can legitimize an attack against the government simply by claiming to represent the will of the people, how could a government ever establish domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense?

Who gets to speak for the people?

In carefully analyzing these three questions, a person could deduce that the emotional manipulation of the “people,” and their desires plays a critical role in the overall purpose of a terrorist attack. That is, the terrorist attack in and of itself is not necessarily the end state. Although the initial impact of a homicide attack not only kills and destroys, it also creates long-term and severe traumatic stress for all those involved in an experience involving martyrdom (Hughbank, 2007). However, this stressful situation is eventually forgotten and quickly replaced by more prevailing concerns as they directly relate to the restriction of personal liberties, a byproduct of our societal protectors through their efforts to guard against future attacks. Through this innate desire and necessity to protect its citizens against future Salafist jihadi attacks within the United States, the government is forced to step up and find various methods of security that might prove equal to the challenge of homeland defense. In doing so, the government and all of its enforcement agents become vulnerable to criticism and ridicule by the very people they have sworn to protect and serve. The goal of the various security policies is not necessarily to prevent every potential terrorist attack; they are to stop terrorist cells from evolving into a terrorist movement (German, 2007).

Defending Against Terrorism

Although there are several courses of action available to prevent and counter future terrorist attacks, it is almost impossible to avert all of those attacks as “…terrorists rarely execute their operations as a direct result of their doctrines” (Sagerman, 2008, p. 40). With the use of terroristic guerilla warfare by both domestic and international terrorist organizations, antiterrorism and counterterrorism measures become a critical facet in the common operating picture of a homeland defense policy. As terrorism analyst Richard Hughbank (2007) has observed,

The forms of asymmetric warfare adopted by domestic and international terrorist groups alike [are] no longer intended to gain simple media exposure or governmental manipulation; they want to make an overpowering impact by causing massive loss of life and severe damage to infrastructure and are often motivated by religious imperatives and political goals (p. 236).

Security procedures are extremely difficult to enact and enforce without creating some form of an inconvenience to the general populace. Bruce Schneier (2003), internationally renowned security technologist, believes, “One of the reasons security is so hard to get right is that it inevitably involves different parties … each with his or her subjective perceptions of risk, tolerances for living with risk, and willingness to make various trade-offs” (p. 33).

As long as Americans continue to exhibit short-term memories and fail to truly comprehend and accept the threat terrorism and its rational actors create, security measures and constitutional rights will continue to conflict with each other, causing one to eventually overwhelm the other by virtue of priority and necessity. To substantiate the value added to mandated security measures, governmental and law enforcement agencies must find a way to communicate an honest depiction of the vicious aggressors that threaten the United States of America and its citizens. They must also provide subtle reminders of the dangers that have breached their cultural boundaries in an effort to carry out a jihad—or holy war—on the far enemy as identified by Usama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa “…against Jews and Crusaders.”

Dr. Sageman (2008) believes the terrorist threat no longer comes from overseas (al-Qaeda central), but from within the United States,

…from ‘homegrown’ terrorists, most of whom have never traveled abroad for training or indoctrination. The threat is no longer ‘foreign fanatics,’ but people who grew up in the West and became radicalized there. When the threat came from the outside, a reasonable defense against it was to harden national borders against the intruders. Now that the threat comes from inside, the only way to defend against it is to understand the process of radicalization and devise strategies to prevent its reaching the point of violence. (p. 71)

While this poses a different perspective to the ongoing threat currently presented by the al-Qaeda social network, there is still tremendous concern for domestic terrorists and their abilities to cause harm from within the United States. As Sageman notes, “homegrown” terrorism has become the newest threat in North America as al-Qaeda transcends international borders, and the ability to identify potential targets, educate the average citizen about the threat, and execute effective antiterrorism and counterterrorism measures will continue to pose unique challenges over the course of the next few years. Failing to educate the general populace on the local threat possibilities and the potential to perform terroristic acts against them in the form of martyrdom, the government will eventually create a perpetual resistance among its citizenry as a direct result of limiting the very freedoms it is attempting to protect. According to Richard J. and David L. Hughbank (2008), one method to help characterize terrorism, its actors, and a modus operandi and to educate others is through the use of terrorology.

Although innocent civilians become the victims of homicide bombers, they are not necessarily the only objective targets. Terrorists believe that the general public is not always innocent, because they support the government the jihad is attempting to overthrow. Furthermore, “…Americans’ fundamental wariness of government makes it easier to terrorize them; citizens have little faith in the government’s ability to minimize fatalities in case of an attack. People who don’t trust their government to protect them are more susceptible to panic, and panic may lead to loss of life” (Stern, 1999). It is this perpetual wavering of faith in the government that ultimately makes the most powerful nation in the world such a target-rich environment and just might prove the most extensive challenge facing the United States in defending against modern terrorism.

Final Thoughts

The apparent tragedy for Americans living under the blanket of security provided by a free society is their own false sense of entitlement and delusional view of the real world because of their insulated position within their commonly perceived fictitious reality. For those who have never fallen victim to a direct terrorist attack, who have never been made to suffer at the hands of an individual who believes infidels must die in the name of Allah, or who have never had to concern themselves with the reality of living in pure, unadulterated fear, security efforts become more of a hindrance over time rather than a safety blanket designed to protect them from potential terroristic threats. Citizens have grown to expect almost complete freedom while residing in the United States. With this cultural expectation comes a rationale involving security and safety.

The government is now pinned with the proverbial rose by its constituents as it is continuously forced to search for and create a democratic judicial system capable of protecting while, at the same time, ensuring freedom. This balancing act is always susceptible to ongoing criticism, and terrorist organizations are well aware of this systemic relationship. German (2007) believes, “The government’s goal in responding to terrorism should be to expose as publicly as possible the behavior terrorists engage in … Terrorist groups rule their communities through fear and intimidation … Focusing our enforcement efforts on these behaviors rather than on the ideologies reduces the risk of offending [citizens]” (p. 127). Although all criminals are not terrorists, all terrorists are criminals. Through the continued use of public education in understanding the threat, terrorism could eventually become as readily known and as common as the garden-variety criminal act. Law enforcement and news agencies ensure everyone is aware of local criminal acts and subsequent security concerns such as murders, rape, arson, and child molestation, but fail to report the various terrorist cell activities within a given community. Although it is irresponsible to report on an ongoing investigation or counterterrorism operation, it is necessary to educate everyone concerned on both criminal and terrorist activity whenever the opportunity presents itself. Furthermore, the education of antiterrorism measures to the general public will also help in heightening daily situational awareness and provide a much needed perspective on the very real daily threat that will continue to combine the need for security with maintaining a democratic nation nested in constitutional freedoms.

Thomas Paine was absolutely correct in his thoughts back in 1777. In modern times, his words have been restated similarly in that it is better to sweat more during peacetime in order to bleed less during war. Additionally, Thomas Hobbes’ and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s social contract theories still exist today in the 21st century, and “[i]f those in power refuse to guarantee community and safety, the governed [will feel] free to disobey and establish a new political contract” (Hooker, 1996). Freedom has always come at a cost, and Americans must acknowledge that everyone becomes a potential victim when the war is fought in their own backyards. Subsequently, it is the inherent responsibility of the leaders of this great country to create a safe haven for its citizens by exacting some measure of security, while maintaining a balance of freedom everyone has come to expect. But, should our safety continue to be threatened through the al-Qaeda social movement, freedoms will be sacrificed through a general erosion process as a byproduct of increased security for the common good if we are to survive future attacks and eventually win the war on terror. This is the cost of defending a nation.

I am most grateful to Bob Hughbank and David Mitchell for their professional assistance and acumen throughout the editorial process of this paper.

References

Al Qaeda. (1998). World Islamic front for jihad against Jews and Crusaders. Retrieved January 19, 2009, from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/terrorism/international/fatwa_1998.html

Clancy, J., & Crossett, C. (2007). Measuring effectiveness in irregular warfare. Parameters, 37(2), 88-100.

deBecker, G. (2002). Fear less: Real truth about risk, safety, and security in a time of terrorism. Boston: Little Brown & Company.

Flynn, S. E. (2004-05). America the vulnerable: How our government is failing to protect us from terrorism. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

German, M. (2007). Thinking like a terrorist: Insights of a former FBI undercover agent. Washington D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc.

Hooker, R. (1996). Social Contract: Hobbess; Rousseau. The European Enlightenment Glossary. Retrieved January 19, 2009, from http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/GLOSSARY/SOCCON.HTM

Hughbank, R.J. (2007). Guerilla warfare and law enforcement: Combating the twenty-first century terrorist cell within the United States. Countering Terrorism and Insurgency in the Twenty-first Century: International Perspectives, 2. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International.

Hughbank, R. J. (2007). Target psychology: Understanding the threat. Homeland Defense Journal, 5(9), 26-29.

Hughbank, R. J., & Hughbank, R. D. (2007). Terrorism: What is it? Are we prepared? American Cop Magazine.

Hughbank, R. J., & Hughbank, D. L. (2008). The application of the social learning theory to domestic terrorist recruitment. SWATdigest.com. Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdf-filed1/nij/222187.pdf

Neimark, N.F. (n.d.). The fight or flight response. Mind/Body Education Center. Retrieved January 19, 2009, from www.thebodysoulconnection.com/EducationCenter/fight.html

Sagerman, M. (2008). Leaderless jihad: Terror networks in the twenty-first century. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Schneier, B. (2003). Beyond fear: Thinking about security in an uncertain world. New York: Copernicus Books.

Stern, J. (1999). The ultimate terrorists. Cambridge, Massassachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Tierney, J. (2008). The endless fear of terrorism. The New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2009, from http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/16/the-endless-fear-of-terrorism/

Article written by Richard J. Hughbank, MA, MS, CMAS, CHS-IV
Published in Inside Homeland Security
®

Robert O'Block, Founder and Publisher

Robert O’Block is founder of the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI). ACFEI is the largest professional forensic education organization in the world and honored to have as its advisory board members many of the top forensic experts of the 21st century. As all humanity now thrives in the Information Age, Dr. O’Block & ACFEI continues to investigate development of forensic educational services that incorporate Information and Communications Technology. Plans have been made to one day offer the forensic field educational services focused on Cyber Justice, iPredator, Cyber Criminal/Forensic Psychology and Digital Forensics.

Feel free to visit their website at www.acfei.com. If interested in contacting Dr. O’Block or ACFEI, their phone number is (800) 423-9737.

SCIENCE, INTEGRITY, JUSTICE & CYBER JUSTICE

 

Robert O’Block | Education Helps Against Dementia

ACFEI Robert O'Block

robert o'block, american college of forensic examiners international, acfei, forensics, forensic sciences education

Researchers have discovered that education not only delays the early symptoms of dementia, but can also slow down the development of the disease -- a finding that could result in faster diagnosis and treatment of dementia, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Previous studies have shown that education offers some degree of protection against the symptoms of disorders of the brain. "This mechanism has previously been observed at a late stage of the disease, primarily in cases of Alzheimer's, which is a type of dementia," says Sindre Rolstad, researcher at the University of Gothenburg. "We wanted to investigate how education affected the disease in the early stages of dementia, known as mild cognitive impairment."

People with mild cognitive impairment can be affected by a reduction in their ability to think, such as reduced memory and a short attention span. "We wanted to find out whether highly educated patients with mild cognitive impairment differed in terms of tolerance of the disease from patients with intermediate and low levels of education," says Rolstad.

By analyzing the patients' spinal fluid, the researchers were able to examine whether there were signs of dementia in the brain. "Highly educated patients with mild cognitive impairment who went on to develop dementia over the next two years had more signs of disease in their spinal fluid than those with intermediate and low levels of education," says Rolstad. Despite having more disease in the brain, the highly educated patients showed the same symptoms of the disease as their less well educated counterparts. This means that patients with higher levels of education tolerate more disease in the brain.

The researchers also studied patients with mild cognitive impairment who did not go on to develop dementia over the next two years. "We found that the highly educated patients who did not develop dementia during the course of the study showed signs of better nerve function than those with lower levels of education," says Rolstad. "This finding means that the highly educated not only tolerate more disease in the brain but also sustain less nerve damage during the early stages of the disease."

The results indicate that a higher reserve capacity delays the symptoms of dementia and the progress of the disease. This can help the care sector to be more aware of dementia in highly educated patients, and thus increase the chances of the correct treatment being given.

Retrieved June 1, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100531082855.htm

Robert O’Block is founder of the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI). ACFEI is the largest professional forensic education organization in the world and honored to have as its advisory board members many of the top forensic experts of the 21st century. As all humanity now thrives in the Information Age, Dr. O’Block & ACFEI continues to investigate development of forensic educational services that incorporate Information and Communications Technology. Plans have been made to one day offer the forensic field educational services focused on Cyber Justice, iPredator, Cyber Criminal/Forensic Psychology and Digital Forensics.

Feel free to visit their website at www.acfei.com. If interested in contacting Dr. O’Block or ACFEI, their phone number is (800) 423-9737.

SCIENCE, INTEGRITY, JUSTICE & CYBER JUSTICE

robert o'block, american college of forensic examiners international, acfei, forensics, forensic sciences education

Robert O’Block | The Piltdown Man: Not “The Missing Link”

ACFEI Robert O'Block

robert o'block, american college of forensic examiners international, acfei, forensics, forensic sciences education

Article written by Megan Augustine, BS

Science is the system of acquiring knowledge, of uncovering truth. However, pranks, hoaxes, and outright frauds have been perpetrated under the guise of “science,” leading mankind not to truth, but away from it. In the case of the Piltdown hoax, that is exactly what happened. This anthropological hoax, reported in science books as truth for nearly 40 years, is perhaps the most famous scientific fraud in history.

In 1912, archeologist Charles Dawson and Sir Arthur Smith Woodward, keeper of geology at the Natural History Museum, presented an amazing discovery to the public, a discovery that shook the very foundations of science at the time. What they presented was a reconstructed skull that they claimed was the “missing link” between apes and humans.

The reconstruction, dubbed “Piltdown Man,” consisted of a piece of skull and a jawbone. Named after the Piltdown quarry in Sussex, England, where a laborer discovered the fragments, the Piltdown Man had the noble brow of the Homo sapiens and a primitive jaw.

Then, in 1915, more remains turned up in the Piltdown quarry: a second partial skull and an odd-looking bone artifact that resembled a cricket bat. Now even those who had been skeptical of the first finding were convinced: the Piltdown Man discovery was real.

The Hoax Unravels Over Time

As time passed, scientific discoveries in other countries, including the “Taung Child” in South Africa and “The Peking Man” in China cast doubt on the Piltdown Man by illustrating contradictory evidence in the pattern of human evolution. However, Piltdown Man supporters remained loyal and rebuffed arguments against its validity.

But by the late 1930s, the Piltdown Man was marginalized and by the 1940s and 1950s ignored. The truth began to unravel with a new dating technique in 1949, the fluorine absorption test, which dated the Piltdown fossils as relatively modern. Then, in 1953, after further testing, the fraud was exposed. A group of scientists lead by Kenneth Page Oakley revealed that the skull’s fragments were from a modern human and the teeth and jawbone were actually from an orangutan. The teeth had been filed down (microscopic examination revealed scratch marks), and the bones had been stained with an iron solution and chromic acid to make them appear ancient.

The “missing link,” the answer to human evolution, and the work of Dawson and Woodward was all a hoax! But who was the perpetrator?

The Perp

The perpetrator of the Piltdown Hoax has never been uncovered. Theories abound, but no one really knows -who was behind the largest anthropological hoax in history. Some theories include the following:

  • Martin A. C. Hinton: later the keeper of the zoology collection at the British Museum. A trunk, found in the loft of the museum, bore Hinton’s initials and contained a set of bones stained in the same way as the Piltdown Man fragments. Motive? Some say Hinton developed the hoax to embarrass Woodward, who had previously refused Hinton a salaried job at the museum. Others say it began as a practical joke, but after the large amount of publicity the jokester (Hinton) kept quiet.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: author. Conan Doyle lived near the Piltdown quarry and frequently played golf just a few miles away. As an amateur bone hunter who participated briefly in the digs, he had the opportunity to plant the bones; however, he had no way of guaranteeing the bones would be discovered. But, it has been said that he left clues and references to the hoax in his book The Lost World. Motive? Some argue that Conan Doyle was out for revenge on the British scientific community for ridiculing his spiritualist research.
  • Sir Arthur Smith Woodward: keeper of geology at the Natural History Museum. Woodward stood to gain great recognition as the Piltdown Man’s co-discoverer. Additionally, he had access to the fragments, so why did he not perform any scientific examinations? On the other hand, after Woodward retired from the British Museum, he spent the remaining years of his life searching for more Piltdown finds. Why would a man waste his life digging for something he knew was a hoax?
  • Charles Dawson: amateur archeologist and Piltdown-Man discoverer. Dawson chose to search the Piltdown Quarry and was the one who made the original discovery, with no confirmation from another individual. After his death in 1916, several forgeries created by Dawson were exposed, and no further objects related to Piltdown were ever found. Motive? With this find Dawson would go down in history as the archeologist who found the “missing link.”

How Forensics Exposed the Hoax

Why did it take so long to discover the Piltdown Man forgery? With today’s scientific and forensic resources, hoaxes such as the Piltdown Man would quickly be revealed. But in the time of the Piltdown Man, forensic techniques were not what they are today. Additionally, the Piltdown Man affirmed many scientists’ theories of human evolution. They wanted to believe the “missing link” had been found. Perhaps scientists did not put the findings under careful scientific examination in fear they’d discover they were wrong; they did not want to confront (and possibly disprove) the evidence that proved their theory.

The lack of scrutiny could also be the result of national pride. English scientists wanted to have a hand in unraveling human evolution. Neanderthal was found in Germany in 1856 and Cro-Magnum in France in 1868. Maybe the British wanted a piece of the fame, and this desire overshadowed the search for truth.

In the end, forensics led the search for truth. A variety of forensic experts and their techniques aided in exposing the Piltdown hoax.

First, Dawson and Woodward dated the bones with the help of index fossils they found at the site of the discovery. More recently, radiocarbon dating showed that the human bones were less than 1,000 years old, which dated Piltdown Man at least 100,000 years after the first “modern” humans were on earth.

Second, skull reconstruction in the days of Dawson and Woodward was open to different interpretations. It was not an exact science; two different individuals could reconstruct two completely different models. Today, a 3D laser scanner can photograph skull fragments and a computer- modeling program can accurately piece the fragments together, leaving only one reconstruction.

Third, the teeth in the Piltdown jaw felt smooth and flat. This was much different than the rough, pointed teeth of an ape. Dentist Arthur Underwood took an X-ray of the Piltdown jaw and compared it to that of a chimpanzee’s jaw. He concluded that the roots of a chimpanzee jaw looked much straighter than those in the Piltdown jaw. Today, however, X-ray machines are much more sophisticated and are of higher quality. A modern X-ray would lend critical information to Piltdown’s origins. Additionally, scanning electron microscopes clearly revealed the scratch marks on the teeth, making it obvious the teeth had been filed down by hand.

Although modern forensics would have uncovered the hoax in no time, one question still remains: would modern forensics have been able to nail down the individual responsible for the largest anthropological forgery in history? Unfortunately, we will never know.

Robert O’Block is founder of the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI). ACFEI is the largest professional forensic education organization in the world and honored to have as its advisory board members many of the top forensic experts of the 21st century. As all humanity now thrives in the Information Age, Dr. O’Block & ACFEI continues to investigate development of forensic educational services that incorporate Information and Communications Technology. Plans have been made to one day offer the forensic field educational services focused on Cyber Justice, iPredator, Cyber Criminal/Forensic Psychology and Digital Forensics.

Feel free to visit their website at www.acfei.com. If interested in contacting Dr. O’Block or ACFEI, their phone number is (800) 423-9737.

SCIENCE, INTEGRITY, JUSTICE & CYBER JUSTICE

robert o'block, american college of forensic examiners international, acfei, forensics, forensic sciences education