Within our control

Over the past couple of months, I have heard at least two stories where Federal law enforcement officials have given their professional opinions on active shootings in the United States.  The officials are from very prestigious and reputable organizations and reduced their analyzed reports on active shooting cases and have each one reduced down to statistical data.  They can say that X% are male, female, ages this and other personal characteristics.  They have also said that X% were bullied, and that X% occurred before or after a school break or school intervention (suspension).  The weapons were largely from the homes of these students who brought them to school to use against fellow students and school officials.

With all the data collected, these Federal officials have also stated they focus on t the ‘prevention’ of an active shooting.  In the best case scenarios, a few individuals may be identified as having the potential of harming others, and early intervention may be the answer.  But largely there are just too many other factors that are outside of the control of those in charge of any location, school, organization etc. to prevent such a tragedy.  We absolutely cannot control the events occurring inside the mind of the shooter.  We cannot control the home environment, their social conditions and any other issue related to what may motivate one person to want to kill others. 

What we can have an impact on are the things that are within our control.  For just a moment, think of what you might do to target harden your home to prevent a burglar from entering when you are not home.  Then we will look at what you might do to respond to a person who approaches your home with the intention of a home invasion.  When burglar proofing your home, you would look at ensuring all the doors to your home are the best that you could afford.  You would use solid core doors with no glass in or around the immediate area of the doors or door jams.  Having two inch screws to hold the quality locking devices into place would be a great start.  You would look all over the home to ensure that not just the front or back entrances are protected, but do what can be done to secure windows, use an alarm system and any number of surveillance cameras currently on the market.  Although the target hardening, security and surveillance systems may only deter those criminals who wish to have an easy time burglarizing a home, the truth is if they really want to target that protected home, criminals will do what criminals do. 

Rather than throw your hands up and give up, my years of experience in law enforcement says to make things harder on the criminal, deter them from that particular target and  (unfortunately) the criminal will move on to another target that is easier to access. 

With respect to active shooters, remember there are internal and external threats, those who are absolutely aware of the emergency protocols in that environment (internal threats) and those who have no idea of what emergency activities or the state of preparedness on that site (external threats).  

The people who are in charge of the environments we place ourselves and our loved ones on a daily basis (work, school, shopping malls, movie theaters, sporting events, etc.) may or may not truly consider and take the threat of an active shooter seriously.  If they are realist, these people have provided and continue to provide adequate training to their personnel as to what to do before and during an active shooter.  If they are living in a fantasy world, they may have provided minimum (or no training) of what to do to protect their personnel during an active shooting situation. 

So, what we have within our control is our own ability to educate ourselves and our loved ones as to what they can and should do if caught in an active shooter situation.  The information we provide should empower them about their options to survive and how to ambush the shooter should the shooter enter their immediate surroundings.

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