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Surviving a Mass Shooting Part 1

by Shelly Cloud on 08/04/15

Part I Why is he shooting at me?

by Tony Hubble

 

As a result of the recent school shootings I decided to recycle a blog I wrote after the VA Tech shootings in April 2007.  I was simply going to repost it, but as I’m an ever evolving martial artist, I’ve learned some new things since then, so I’ve decided to dust it off and update it at the same time.  The opening paragraphs were written in reference to the perpetrator of the VA Tech campus attacks, Seung-Hui Cho, so I’ve left some of those paragraphs alone. Additionally, the mental aspects of self defense remain germane. What I’ve added are some specific tactics. This is intended for those of the mind to defend themselves, should the need arise, regardless of the circumstance.  Those who would not need no help from me. They can simply continue to roll the dice.

 

In trying to find the reasons for why this young man Seung-Hui Cho decided on one fine die to commit mass murder the media pundits are tripping all over themselves with explanations save for the obvious. In clinical terms, this guy was a few bricks shy of a load. The whys are fairly irrelevant. The ways to prevent a person's circuitry from going so far awry have too many factors to even consider and they are ALL out of the control of everyone he killed. Some of the people he killed may have not even known him; much less that he was a ticking time bomb.

 

The pundits regurgitate past tragedies, point at commonalities and try to alarm the general public again about the easy availability of guns and whether or not this kind of tragedy is on the rise. Don't fall for this tactic. They're trying to SELL news by sensationalizing it. It does not help the victims or their families of this attack, but the fact is, by pure mathematical statistics this is still a relatively rare crime.

 

They analyze the young man's past behavior and who may have been able to prevent it or report him to some authority or "expert" who could have helped him before he snapped. There were obvious indicators, but only relevant with the benefit of the crystal clear vision of hindsight.

 

"He was a fan of 'First Person Shooter' video games video games," they say and point to the “obvious” dangers of children and young adults playing these obsessively to later act them out in real life.

Want to know who in my unqualified opinion would do this? That's right, a nutcase. I'm not a fan of these games but there are however thousands of children and even adults of ALL ages who play them without any intention of carrying out these deeds in real life. They are in touch with reality and can make the distinction between a game and real life.

Then there's the ease with which we can obtain guns in this country. Well I say thank God for that! I was raised in Puerto Rico, a US territory with some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Care to guess what the gun related crime rate in the island is? You don't have to, it's staggering. Criminals can get a gun easily and what's more, the restrictive laws make criminals out of law abiding citizens who own illegal weapons because they'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.

 

The point I'm trying to make is very few people had the required knowledge and tools to detect this whacko's intent BEFORE he began his killing spree. There was not much that could have been done. Particularly by the people he killed who had no idea who he was.

 

However, in the midst of the attack, there were many things that could have been done. I'm not sitting in judgment of the people who fled a psycho with guns blazing. I'm not questioning their courage for one simple reason. They did not have the mental tools to deal with this incongruous act. It was so far out of their frame of reference that they simply reacted as normal people unaccustomed to violence will react. They will waste precious seconds reacting (or NOT reacting) to the seemingly surreal events unfolding before their eyes.

Most people would say there was nothing the victims could have done. That once Cho entered the building their fate was sealed and it would be just a matter of dumb luck, karma or even a miracle if they survived the attack.

 

Bullshit.

 

There were, and are, several things that could have been done. They all mostly have to do with your mental state in preparation before an attack like this should occur and even after the attacks begin. Conversely there are only three things will contribute to your being a sheep waiting for the slaughter and probably contributed to the deaths of the vast majority of the victims of this tragedy: denial, psychological fear and apathy. I don't want this blog to be one of those enormous scroll-down pages most people like to dismiss and move on. The message is too important. Therefore, I’ve written it in four parts.  The specifics I will outline not only have relevance in a mass shooting, they apply universally to all violent attacks.

 


Safety Planning When Someone is Hurting you

by Shelly Cloud on 08/04/15

Safety Planning When Someone is Hurting You

by Shelly Cloud

For many people who have been affected by sexual assault, current and long-term safety can be an ongoing concern. Safety planning is about brainstorming ways to stay safe that may also help reduce the risk of future harm. It can include planning for a future crisis, considering your options, and making decisions about your next steps. Finding ways to stay and feel safer can be an important step towards healing, and these plans and actions should not increase the risk of being hurt.

Safety planning when someone is hurting you:

  • Lean on a support network. Having someone you can reach out to for support can be an important part of staying safe and recovering. Find someone you trust who could respond to a crisis if you needed their help.
  • Become familiar with safe places. Learn more about safe places near you such as a local domestic violence shelter or a family member’s house. Learn the routes and commit them to memory. Find out more about sexual assault service providers in your area that can offer support.
  • Stay safe at home. If the person hurting you is in your home, you can take steps to feel safer. Try hanging bells or a noise maker on your door to scare the person hurting you away, or sleep in public spaces like the living room. If possible, keep the doors inside your house locked or put something heavy in front of them. If you’re protecting yourself from someone who does not live with you, keep all the doors locked when you’re not using them, and install an outside lighting system with motion detectors. Change the locks if possible.
  • Keep computer safety in mind. If you think someone might be monitoring your computer use, consider regularly clearing your cache, history, and cookies. You could also use a different computer at a friend’s house or a public library.
  • Create a code word. It might be a code between you and your children that means “get out,” or with your support network that means “I need help.”
  • Prepare an excuse. Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times or for existing situation that might become dangerous. Have these on hand in case you need to get away quickly.

Safety planning when someone is stalking you:

  • Tell someone you trust. Stalking shouldn’t be kept a secret. Tell your parents, loved ones, a trusted adult, or the local police to determine if a report can be made.
  • Be prepared to reach out. If possible, keep your cell phone charged and have emergency contact numbers programmed ahead of time. You may want to save these contacts under a different name. Memorize a few numbers in case you don’t have cell phone access in the future.
  • Change your routine. Be aware of your daily routine and begin to alter it overtime. Switch up the way you commute more often, taking different routes or different modes of transportation.
    Visit the Stalking Resource Center for more ways to stay safe.

Safety planning when leaving the person hurting you:

  • Make an escape bag. Pack a bag that includes all important papers and documents, such as your birth certificate, license, passport, social security card, bills, prescription drugs, and medical records. Include cash, keys, and credit cards. Hide the bag well. If it’s discovered, call it a “hurricane bag” or “fire bag.” If you are escaping with children, include their identifying information as well.
  • Prepare your support network. Keep your support network in the loop. Let them know how to respond if the perpetrator contacts them.
  • Plan a destination. If you’re not going to stay with someone you know, locate the nearest domestic violence shelter or homeless shelter.
  • Plan a route. Then plan a backup route. If you are driving, have a tank of gas filled at all times. If you rely on public transportation, know the routes departure times. Many public transportation systems have mobile apps that update their schedules and arrival times.
  • Important Safety Note: If the dangerous situation involves a partner, go to the police or a shelter first.

If you are in a domestic violence situation and need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE(7233). You can also visit their website to learn more about safety planning.

If Someone is Pressuring You

by Shelly Cloud on 08/04/15

If Someone is Pressuring You

by Shelly Cloud

If you need to get out of an uncomfortable or scary situation here are some things that you can try:

  1. Remember that being in this situation is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong, it is the person who is making you uncomfortable that is to blame.
  2. Be true to yourself. Don't feel obligated to do anything you don't want to do. "I don't want to" is always a good enough reason. Do what feels right to you and what you are comfortable with.
  3. Have a code word with your friends or family so that if you don’t feel comfortable you can call them and communicate your discomfort without the person you are with knowing. Your friends or family can then come to get you or make up an excuse for you to leave.
  4. Lie. If you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses you could use are: needing to take care of a friend or family member, not feeling well, having somewhere else that you need to be, etc.
  5. Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors? Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?
  6. If you and/or the other person have been drinking, you can say that you would rather wait until you both have your full judgment before doing anything you may regret later.

What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?

After a Sexual Assault

It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after a sexual assault. Please know that you’re not alone. Below are some things to keep in mind. If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, call 911.

  1. Your safety is important. Are you in a safe place? If you’re not feeling safe, consider reaching out to someone you trust for support. You don’t have to go through this alone.
  2. What happened was not your fault. Something happened to you that you didn’t want to happen—and that’s not OK.
  3. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673).You’ll be connected to a trained staff member from a local sexual assault service provider in your area. They will direct you to the appropriate local health facility that can care for survivors of sexual assault. Some service providers may be able to send a trained advocate to accompany you.

When you call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, a staff member will walk you through the process of getting help at your own pace. You can also visitonline.rainn.org to chat anonymously. Hotline staffers can also provide information on topics you might have questions about, including:

Sexual assault is a crime of motive and opportunity. Ultimately, there is no surefire way to prevent an attack. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotlines at 1-800.656.HOPE, and online at rainn.org

WTH!!! Those aren't my Panties!

by Shelly Cloud on 07/28/15

WTH!  Those aren't My Panties
by Shelly Cloud
So, you found a pair of panties in the glove-box of your car.  They aren’t yours, they’re not your style, they’re too small etc…. either your husband is having an affair or….they are his panties.  Either way, you want to know.   Are you ready to open that can of worms?  Are you ready for the answer?

When you need to know the truth, hiring a private investigator might be the answer.  This is not something to take lightly.  You have two outcomes, he's cheating (or likes to wear panties), or he's not cheating.   Either outcome will hurt- if he's not cheating, then their are some serious trust issues.  

There are a few things to consider when hiring a private eye.  What is your purpose?  Are you doing it to gather legal evidence for court?  Once you gather your evidence and find out he is cheating, what will you do with it?   Will you confront him?  File for divorce?  Take him to court?  You need to be clear with what you want to accomplish before you take this important and costly step, hiring a private investigator.

If your purpose is to gather evidence for court, make sure the private investigator you hire has experience in this area and knows what can and cannot hold up in a court of law in your state.

Why would you hire an investigator instead of doing it on your own?  Well, first of all, they are the experts.  They have the investigative tools to do the job right.  They are licensed by the state to do what they do best- surveillance and gathering information.  If the reason for gathering evidence is to show proof in a court of law, then you want a professional that knows what he/she’s doing.  You want evidence that will hold up in the court of law according to the state you are in and minimize the risk of it being thrown out.  The PI knows what is legal.

The private investigator you hire should have years of experience and specialized training.  Having the experience and the specialized training, they will be much better at collecting evidence than you are; they will not be emotionally involved and they can be more objective of the situation and circumstances.

You also need to do your due diligence when hiring a private investigator.   You need to find one with a solid background and someone who has had experience, especially for the investigation you are hiring them for- you don’t want an armchair private investigator.  Private investigators can specialize in a wide range of areas.  You want to find one that specializes in infidelity.  You want the correct evidence collected and you want to make sure you are not wasting your money or time.

In most states, licensing of a private investigator is mandatory.  Find out what the laws are in your state and make sure the investigator you hire is following the laws.  Make sure the PI you hire has the required amount of insurance.  This will protect you from potential liability while the PI is working on your case.  Accidents happen and you need to be protected in case those accidents lead to a lawsuit or criminal charges.

The cost of a private investigator varies from one PI to the next, depending on their areas of expertise, years of experience, types of service requested and the state and city you are in.  No matter the cost, you have the right to ask for prices up front and referrals from past clients.  Shop around, don’t settle, this is a life and a marriage, and might involve children, that you need to take into account.

There are many ways to go about catching a cheater.  If you choose to do it yourself, you can go snooping around- your emotions getting in the way and confront your husband with the evidence you have collected.  If you confront him prematurely, and he was having an affair, you have tipped your hat and he might take the affair even further underground and you're taking the chance that the evidence you found will be admissible in court.

If you confront him and find out he has a reasonable explanation about the evidence you collected, you have more than tipped your hat.  You have possibly ruined your marriage and there is no going back. 

So, whether they were someone else’s panties, his panties or a gift he was going to surprise you with---when  you open that can of worms, there is no putting them back. 

Make sure you know the truth, hire a professional- a state licensed private investigator.  By using a licensed private investigator, you have a better chance of avoiding these mistakes.  Private Investigators have the tools and experience to gather the evidence, with an unbiased and unemotional “private eye”.

This is why I do this..............

by Shelly Cloud on 03/22/15

by Shelly Cloud

Here is another "find"  I have been able to be a part of for a Military Veteran.  His initial letter: Feb 21, 2015

Shelly,

Got your info from Art Sloane.

Trying to find a Pxxxx X. Morales. He was a draftee stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky in 72-73. He was from the Los Angeles, California area.

That is all the info I have. think you can help me?

Thanks!


Steve Hughey


Mr. Hughey,
I hope this is the Pxxxx Morales you are looking for.  As I stated in the earlier email, their are no other names or information matching who you were looking for.  I was not able to pull up any information connecting him with the military, but that could be for many reasons.  His data could have been missed in putting the info into a computer, or files were destroyed, etc.
 
So, here is the info I can find on Pxxxx X Morales (dates in parenthesis shows time frame of residence at address)  Please let me know how things go.  Would love to hear the story and pray that it is a positive one.
 
 
The phone numbers I found are not 100% positive feedback.  But I will give them to you just in case they are Pxxxx's.
(626) xxx-xxxx   (98%)  
(626) xxx-xxxx   (98%) 
The address he is listed at is a mobile home park.  
Here is the number to the office:  I called and verified this one is correct.
    • (626) xxx-xxxx  - XXXXXXX VISTA MOBILE PK
I found an email, but am not sure how old it is.  People go through emails quite fast :)
Good Luck in your reunion!
Shelly Cloud

Testimonial: I had been trying off and on for over 42 years to find an old Army buddy I was stationed with at Fort Knox Kentucky with no luck whatsoever.

His last name is Morales and all I knew was he lived in the Los Angles area at the time. 

A couple of weeks ago there was an article in our paper in the Veterans section that said "Shelly Cloud" specialized in finding old military friends. So I thought, "what do I have to lose"?

I sent her an email and gave her his name, where he was stationed and when, the unit we were assigned to and the city he lived in prior to Fort Knox. Within in a few short days Shell sent me an email with three people. One of them had a middle name (which I had forgotten). She sent me information with an address and two possible telephone numbers. the first # I got voice mail and left my contact info. The second #; I knew when he answered "it was him"!

Needless to say he was VERY surprised to hear from me after 42 years! We were only able to talk for about 10 minutes because he had to get to work. But we plan on talking again and possibly meet with two other guys who were in the same unit.

THANK YOU "Shelly Cloud"! You are a true miracle worker and I could not be more happy with your service! Now I'm scrolling my memory for other buddies to have you find.

Thank You again from the bottom of my heart. God Bless You!

Steve Hughey
Chandler, AZ




WWII Ring

by Shelly Cloud on 03/19/15

by Shelly Cloud
Since the article in the Arizona Daily Star I have received many requests to find military friends.  But, I have also received requests outside of the norm.   One request came from a gentleman who's son had found a ring out shrimping.
Here is his letter dated February 21, 2015:

Hi Shelly, I read in the news paper Veterans Voice that you are able to locate veterans.  Several years ago I found a ring that once belonged to a WW 2 veteran and have tried several ways to locate family members to return the ring to them.  The ring appears to be of Army emblem and inscribed inside is " Sgt S Kapture, ASN 20632280 with the date of 1/1/1943".  
Also I have a medical ID bracelet, U.S. Navy inscribed H. C. Sullivan, 377 40 32, USN FL T. that I would like to return to the family. 

If it helps any these items were found while fishing in the Jacksonville, FL area in late 1980's.

I would appreciate any assistance you could provide on either item. 

Howard Lauer, USAF, Ret

This is what I found for him, my email dated February 23, 2015:

Full Name:
Steve J Kapture   
Death:
Buried:  Buried at: Plot B Row 2 Grave 11
Florence American Cemeter y
Florence, Italy  
Death:  22-Sep-44  
Death Date:  22 Sep 1944  
Memorial Cemetery:  Florence American Cemetery 
Memorial Country:  Florence, Italy 
Memorial Location:  Plot B Row 2 Grave 11  
Residence:
State Michigan  

World War II 

Rank:
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army   
Service Number:
20632280  
Awards:
Silver Star, Purple Heart  
Regiment:
168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division  
He was born in 1918, had only one year of high school, no spouse or children.  He lived with his stepdad and mother, brother and sister.  I looked for the sister as she was the younger of the two.  Her married name was Helenxxxxx.  She died Oct 17, 1997.  I found who I believe is her son.  His information is provided below.
 
 XXXXXXXXXXX, CLIO, MI 48420-9766 (GENESEE COUNTY) (07/1985 to Present)

Mr.  Lauer followed up and sent me this letter.  

Dear Shelly, after years of searching, my son found the ring in Jacksonville Florida while casting his shrimp net in 1988, you were able to provide me with the information I needed.  I was reading an article in the Surprise AZ Community news written by Mr. Art Sloane in which he mentioned that you were able to locate a friend of his in a very short time.  He put you're contact information in the article.  I had tried numerous veteran units organizations to track the owner of the ring without any results.  I have also posted information about the ring on face book and other media contacts without results.
I thought to myself what have I got to loose and provided you with the same information that I had provided others.  Within a few days you came with up all the information on the veteran in question to include the site of his burial in Italy.  Just today I was able to speak to the nephew of the veteran, who himself is 74 years of age, that has a picture of his uncle hold him when he was a baby.  He and his brother never knew where or when their uncle had died.  I could tell when speaking to him that it brought a little closure to that part of their family history.  I am mailing the ring along with the information you provided to me to the nephew in Clio MI on March 9, 2015.
This brings closure to me also.  Knowing that the ring will come to rest with the family members of the WW 2 Veteran.  I cannot thank you enough for you're research which came so I can complete a mission of many, many years, that mission was for the return of the ring.

I remain ever thankful,  Howard F Lauer,  MSgt USAF, Ret.

I received a call last week from a Flint, Michigan reporter.  They got a hold of the information about the ring and wrote up a little piece.  My name is wrong, but you get the gist :)

Arizona Veteran Standdown Event

by Shelly Cloud on 03/19/15

I was invited to participate in the Arizona Military Standdown Event in Phoenix, AZ.  

My goal in going was to be able to help homeless vets find family members they have not been touch for years.  Maybe they wanted to get off the street and reconnect with their parents, spouses, children or other loved ones.

Another goal was to help them connect with old battle buddies or other members from the unit they served with.  Having lived with a father who served in Vietnam with severe PTSD, I understand the need to reach out and connect with people who went through the same thing or were there with them during a moment in their military career.  Sometimes just connecting can help with PTSD.

While I was there, a journalist with The Arizona Daily Star asked me to find someone from his past.  I did so within minutes.  He was so happy, he wanted to share what I can do with his readers.  He wrote an article up in the Veteran's Voice telling his readers of my services to Vet's.  

I have done many searches for Vet's after they read the article.  This is the reason for my blog.  I want to share the stories with you.  They are heartwarming and positive and sure to cheer your day.

I am a Private Investigator by trade, but this is also my hobby.  I did not serve, I have not protected our country from anything~this is how I thank the Vet's for serving and dying to protect our  United States of America.

Thank you!!!