7 Deadly Reasons Why EVERY Organization Should Train for an Active Shooter Event

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One historical fact about 2017 is that it was a grim reminder that active shooter and mass casualty incidents are on the rise in America.  The staggering number of casualties, the vast amount of locations, and the varied motivations of the attackers are all reasons that our mindset as a society should be changing.  It is still unthinkable to believe that enough evil exists inside some people to commit these heinous acts, but the seemingly endless news cycle of violence remains a stark reminder that there are truly evil people among us. 

In the aftermath of every active shooter and mass casualty attack, most people immediately search for a motive and become hyper-focused on determining the “why”.  The truth is this, active shooters and terrorists all have varied motivations and triggers and attempting to determine what these are for each incident will not prevent the next tragedy.  Beyond the increasing number of attacks and the vast number of victims during the last year, what is even more alarming is the number of different locations where these incidents occurred. 

HERE ARE SEVEN CRITICAL REMINDERS ABOUT WHY 2017 SHOULD MOTIVATE US TO ACTION:

  1. Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, Alexandria, VA – A lone gunman opened fire on lawmakers and aids who were participating in a baseball practice in preparation for an upcoming charity game.  Capitol police officers assigned to a security detail for Representative Steve Scalise returned fire and engaged the gunman.  Two Alexandria Police officers also arrived and continued to engage the suspect in a gunfight that lasted roughly ten minutes.  The suspect was shot by police and later died at the hospital.  A total of four victims were shot by the gunman, all of them survived.

  2. Aztec High School, Aztec, NM – A 21-year-old former student gained access to the school by disguising himself as a student during normal student arrival.  He wore a backpack which contained a 9mm handgun and made his way to the bathroom to prepare for his rampage.  After classes began he exited the bathroom and shot and killed two students.  The school went on immediate lockdown and his access to other students was thwarted.  The shooter then took his own life. 

  3. Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, New York, NY – A former doctor and ex-employee of the hospital, armed with an assault rifle, opened fire on the 16th and 17th floor of the facility.  The gunman killed a doctor, wounded six other people, and attempted to set himself on fire before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.

  4. UPS Facility, San Francisco, CA – A disgruntled employee armed with two pistols began shooting his coworkers during a morning meeting at the facility.  The gunman killed four people and wounded two others before being confronted by police at which time he took his own life.

  5. First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, TX – A single lunatic gunman opened fire on churchgoers who were attending Sunday morning services.  The gunman was eventually confronted and shot twice by a neighbor to the church as he was fleeing.  The suspect fled in his vehicle and eventually crashed at which time he shot himself in the head.  The suspect killed 26 people, ranging in age from 18 months to 77 years, and wounded 20 others in his rampage.  A total of fifteen empty magazines were located inside the church, each of which had a 30 round capacity.  

  6. Fiamma Awning Company, Orlando, FL – A former disgruntled employee entered the business through a back door armed with a handgun and a large hunting knife.  He began shooting several former co-workers with most of them being shot in the head and some, multiple times.  Police arrived within two minutes and prepared to enter the building at which time the suspect shot himself.  A total of five people were shot and killed during the attack.

  7. Route 91 Harvest Festival, Las Vegas, NV – A lone gunman hell-bent on executing as many innocent people as possible, opened fire from his 32nd-floor hotel room that overlooked the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Utilizing several rifles and magazines, he shot indiscriminately into the crowd of concertgoers killing 58 people and injuring 546.  The shooter fired over 1,100 rounds during the attack and ultimately committed suicide as police officers closed in on his location.

These seven incidents are fundamental examples of why EVERY organization should be training to deal with an active shooter or mass casualty incident.  These cowardly attacks have no bias or consistent methodology as to the location or targeted victims.  Every shooter has a different motive or perceived reason as to why they rationalize their actions and they typically PLAN TO DIE.  The truth is this, it can happen ANYWHERE, ANYTIME and to ANYONE.  What’s your plan?

To learn more about improving your physical security, training for a critical incident, or obtaining an evaluation for your school, church, business, or home, please visit our website at contact us or give us a call at 615-236-6484.  We are passionate about helping all organizations achieve real security.

5 Common Factors Present in Most Active Shooter Incidents

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I believe every American asked themselves the same questions Monday morning upon seeing the news from Las Vegas.  Why did he do this?  Why do these keep happening? Will this ever stop?  Although it’s in our human nature to want to understand the why, at the end of the day, the “why” does not matter.  The “why” will not bring any of those victims back to their families.  Furthermore, the specific reason that each of these gunmen use to justify their actions is different for each one. 

Although in each incident there are a multitude of differing contributing factors, the ultimate responsibility lies with the person that made the decision to place so little value on human life and execute their fellow man.  As to the question of will these ever stop, the sobering answer is no.  Mass casualty incidents are on the rise in both frequency and body count.  So we must focus our attention on studying these events to aid us all in developing a plan of action for when they do occur.

Here are five common factors that exist in the majority active shooter incidents.

  • Maximum Carnage.  Active shooters have one common goal and that is to inflict as much carnage and mayhem as possible.  They seek to feel powerful and victimize others to fill some void in their warped mind.  This can’t be predicted.  Each one of them has a different trigger that ultimately made them snap.

  • Soft Targets.  They seek out and select soft targets.  Soft targets are those with lack of intense security and where they expect to meet the least amount of resistance. Selection of these soft targets increases their chances of being able to inflict as much damage as possible in a short amount of time.

  • Reconnaissance.  Active shooters typically visit and are familiar with their target locations.  In the business, we refer to this as reconnaissance. They observe and familiarize themselves with the target location in order to maintain the upper hand should they meet any resistance.  The shooter in Las Vegas had been there for four days.  The shooter at the Pulse nightclub had frequented the location on prior occasions.  One of the shooters in San Bernardino actually attended the party first before leaving to arm up.  The two shooters at Columbine High School were students which means they were intimately familiar with that building and campus.  The point is this, they generally do some type of planning that involves the specific location to be targeted in preparation for the attack. 

  • Suicide.  Active shooters are cowards.  They seek to victimize the most helpless to fuel their psychopathic driven rage.  They plan to die as part of the attack and most commit suicide just before or as they are being encountered by the police.  

  • Mentally Ill.  Active shooters are crazy.  I know this seems elementary and is something we all assume but this is a very important aspect of these incidents.  Whether they were born crazy, became crazy over time, or just plain snapped one day, they are all still nuts and completely unpredictable.  So to my point about this, you can’t predict or control crazy but you can prepare for it.

Whether it’s your home, your business, your church, your child’s school, or any public place, HAVE A PLAN.  No matter where you go, ALWAYS identify at least two exits as a matter of habit.  Talk to your family about what exactly your plan is so that there is no having to think about it during any kind of major incident.  When under intense stress, we lose our ability to think rationally.  However, prior planning embeds itself in your brain so that you are able to recall it under stress.  In any critical incident, some will fall victim, those who have prepared will fall to their training.

To learn more about planning and training for a critical incident or strengthening the security presence for your home, church, school, or business, please visit our website or give us a call at 615-236-6484.  We are passionate about helping people and organizations achieve real security.

5 Things Every Church Should Do To Improve Security

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Tennessee church shooting leaves one dead, several wounded, officials say. That was the headline on Sunday, September 24, 2017. According to police the masked gunman shot and killed one female in the parking lot and then entered the sanctuary where he began shooting people indiscriminately. One Church member, a 22 year old usher, was able to respond by physically confronting the gunman, during which, the gunman received a self-inflicted gunshot to his chest. That member then went to his car in the parking lot, retrieved his own weapon, and headed back into the church where he held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived. Clearly things could and would have been much worse if not for the heroic and selfless action of that young man.

At this point we don't know what motivated the gunman to carry out this heinous attack. However, does the “why” really matter? The answer is no. We could spend days and days trying to figure out why these happen and trying to predict when and where another one may occur, only to come up short. We all have to go beyond asking ourselves why and adjust to the reality that these types of mass casualty incidents are on the rise and we have to accept the fact that we must do something to prepare for them. 

HERE ARE FIVE THINGS THAT EVERY CHURCH SHOULD DO TO IMPROVE THEIR SECURITY. 

1) Form a security team. Hopefully your church already has some sort of security team but if not, now is the time more than ever. More than likely these crazed gunmen are not going to target the large mega church that has three uniformed police officers sitting outside. They likely select their targets based on their ability to carry out as much carnage as possible. Having an obvious and visible security presence is critical.

2) Get a threat assessment and security evaluation done for your particular facility. Every church building and property is different and will have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to achieving physical security. Hiring a professional to evaluate your facility can make all the difference when it comes to critical incidents.

3) Develop plans and protocols. Your team needs specific plans and protocols in place to be truly effective. Every man for himself is not a plan. What are the preventative measures and protocols going to be and who is responsible for them? What are the teams’ specific roles should an intruder enter the building? These are all things that need to be nailed down in advance.

4) Conduct training. Training and repetition is what makes soldiers and police officers so effective at their respective jobs. They face situations daily where they must take decisive action immediately upon encountering a threat when there is no time to stop and think. They do this by relying on their training so that when the time comes they don’t simply react, they respond.  

5) Be vigilant and consistent. Do not take for granted that another member of your team has already checked the south parking lot, or has secured a particular door, etc. Do not get complacent about your plans and protocols. Consistency can save lives, complacency kills.  

If you want to learn more about strengthening the security presence at your church or business, go to  our website or give us a call at 615-236-6484. We are passionate about helping organizations achieve real security in this dangerously developing world.

Can Workplace Violence Incidents Be Prevented?

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Can workplace violence incidents be prevented? The short answer is no but there are several ways the number of incidents can be reduced and/or the casualties mitigated greatly. 

We all remember in April of this year when that lunatic estranged husband of San Bernardino teacher Karen Elaine Smith walked into her special education classroom and executed her in front of her students. He also struck two children, killing one, before taking his own life. There are no words to describe the tragic loss of life of that 8 year old boy, Jonathan Martinez, or the trauma the children in that classroom have suffered. The emotional scars will last forever for the family of Jonathan Martinez as well as the children that survived.

So we must ask ourselves, as we do after every tragic incident, how could this have happened? How did the systems and protocols in place at the time so greatly fail Karen and those children? 

A spokesperson for the school said that it was common for family members to visit their spouses and that the staff recognized him as Karen Smith's husband. They further noted that he followed protocol by signing in at the office and said he did not appear agitated or upset. So where was the break down? It is unclear what type of specific training the school faculty had received at the time but it was potentially preventable by one simple act.

Had Karen simply told a co-worker or an administrator what was going on behind the scenes with her soon to be ex-husband then I venture to say there could have been a very different outcome. Had she told them about the specific threat he made about shooting her and her students, the school certainly would have had protocols in place to prevent his access to that school. 

But two things prevented her from doing just that. 

  1. The first is she didn't take him seriously enough at HIS WORD.

  2. The second is that she was either too embarrassed about what was happening in her personal life that she didn't want to share that with others, especially at her place of work, or she did not want to “bother” others with her problems.

Folks, the time for taking people at their word, especially threatening statements, is long past us. How often do we hear the common phrase, "I didn't think he would actually do it" or "I didn't think he was serious”?  The answer is often enough that innocent lives are being ripped away because people fail to say something or take action. 

Furthermore, we are often so concerned with what other people will think of us that we let it control our actions or in most cases inaction. It is often the case that others problems eventually become your problem whether you want them to or not. There is a simple phrase used by law enforcement and military instructors that “complacency kills.”  I’m here to tell you, inaction also kills.

We want you to feel empowered and ready if the worst happens. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your school or business in an active shooter situation. Or click here to learn more about our services.