05 Mar The reality of Hard or Soft Targets
History and past Active Shooters/Assailants have repeatedly shown us they purposely selected the targets they will attack by what they saw as “soft targets.” Shooters have watched, researched or deemed that a particular environment (work site, school, church, public place, etc.) where they feel no person or persons will immediately intervene to stop their violent acts. These shooters had prepared themselves well in advance of their choses deadly day brought with them all the tools they intend to use. In some cases, the shooter may have just used one firearm. In other cases, the shooter brought more than one firearm and/ or knife. And still, other cases involved the possession of improvised explosive devices.
“Declared” Soft targets seem to scream to the shooter to select that location for the rampage. These places are typically locations where their policy forbids the presence of weapons on their property. Schools of all levels typically fall within this category. Either local or state laws have prohibited weapons within the geographical confines of the property. Citizens who may consider violating those laws do so at their own peril with potential criminal consequences if they are discovered to be carrying a concealed weapon.
Other declared soft targets are those who appear be based solely upon their company or perceived public policy. There are numerous places where the company has initiated an edict that forbids the legal possession of a concealed weapon by anyone, or “open carry” where the citizen can wear their firearm in a holster, visible to everyone. And yet, in some places the business prefers that no firearms be on their premises and have placed signs to advise all those who enter of their prohibited firearms policy.
There are also places that prohibit a firearm and the personnel charged with the responsibility of the safety and lives of others may not be armed, and their ability to present an adequate challenge to the shooter is not possible.
It is my opinion that when a potential Active Shooter is aware of these “soft targets” they know they can enter that premises without any armed challenge and commit one or more murders. The shooter also knows that once the shooting starts, he/she has a period of time before law enforcement will arrive, and when they do, those officers will present an armed challenge.
There are numerous past Active Shooting cases that contain those dynamics and facilitated the shooter to murder unchallenged. It is in these “soft target” rich environments we need to consider if a paradigm shift is needed.
“Hard targets” are those in which legally armed citizens may move freely about the environment. Whether the armed citizen is carrying a legally concealed weapon, or wearing their weapon in an open carry condition, the fact that other potentially armed citizens are present and may intervene against an active shooter.
Although citizens have completed a lengthy class in order to carry their weapon in a concealed fashion, most instructors have vociferously stated they should not intervene if an active shooter enters their environment. Another paradigm shift may be required and allow additional training that incorporates how to properly stop an Active shooter and prepare for arriving police.