HERRIN — A home-grown expert in predicting and preventing mass victim attacks will speak as part of the Herrin Area Historical Society Guest Lecture Series. Herrin native Dr. Gary M. Jackson will speak at 2 p.m. Friday in Herrin City Library. He currently lives in Pasadena, Maryland.

“It’s great to be in my home town. I was born about two blocks from where I am presenting,” Jackson said.

Jackson is a behavioral psychologist with a specialty in artificial intelligence who has worked for corporations and the federal government. He was a research psychologist with the U. S. Secret Service Intelligence Division and an intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He's had extensive experience in counterterrorism, counterintelligence and counter-narcotics.

His most recent book is called “Surviving Mass Victim Attacks: What To Do When the Unthinkable Happens”. The work describes strategies for surviving such attacks.

In his presentation, Jackson will go over some of the tips from the book.

“I am going to make that a major focus,” Jackson said. “My goal was to write it in such a way that people could use it. Someday I want to hear that somebody survived an attack, and the reason they survived is they read my book.”

He added that he is helping to train the U.S. Army next month on some of these techniques.

In the meantime, Jackson does have a few quick tips everyone can use:

Be aware of your surroundings using all your senses.

Don’t walk around with ear phones or ear buds in or glued to your cell phone.

Walk against traffic. Walk near a building, so you can duck in the case of an incident.

He said we put on seatbelts when we get into cars or board airplanes. Everyone needs to learn more about mass victim attacks.

He also suggests learning how to report suspicious activity. In most mass victim attacks, there was some kind of behavior to suggest the risk.

“We can actually prevent some of these by improving how we report,” Jackson said.

He holds B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and an M.A. degree from the University of Illinois — Springfield. During his years at SIU, he worked as a medical technician at Herrin Hospital and Doctor’s Hospital in Carbondale. His parents were Manuel Lee and Lynnie Jackson. His sister, Reita Caringer, lives in Herrin.

This event is free and open to the public. More information is available by calling 618-967-4082.

HAHS also is sponsoring a second event, a book signing by Rev. Jerry Anderson, also a Herrin native, from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday in The Hartley Art Gallery and Event Center at 100 S. Park Avenue. Anderson will sign copies of his book, Ordained by "Angels: A Memoir of an AIDS Chaplain." 

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Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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