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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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