Integrated Security Services, Inc., New York

An Active Shooter Among Us

11 Aug

M16 riflesGun violence and mass shootings are all too common in America. Several horrendous incidents have clawed at the country’s moral fabric, prompting a search for solutions. What steps can be taken to prevent future tragedies?

What measures could have stopped homicidal maniacs like Dylann Roof from carrying out their atrocious crimes? Open access institutions like Churches, malls, and schools unfortunately offer tempting targets for violent offenders, and so they must all reexamine their approach to public access.

A Sickness Plaguing America

As detailed in an excellent feature from Rolling Stone, gun violence is a true epidemic facing America. Despite an overall decrease in firearm ownership, mass shootings are worryingly regular occurrences, with most of the perpetrators having obtained their weapons legally.

An in-depth examination by the Washington Post sheds further light on these revelations. The most disconcerting element of the article notes that “Active Shooter” incidents have grown more frequent in recent years.

An active shooter incident is described by federal authorities as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” Yes, it’s as horrible and senseless as it sounds.

A Series of Catalysts

SWAT unit

In finding a cure for this epidemic, it’s crucial to understand how the perpetrators acquire their weapons and gain access to these venues. The events that ultimately culminated in these violent attacks are the keys to unlocking a sound strategy for prevention.

In the case of Dylann Roof, who carried out a recent atrocity at the Emanuel African Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina — the weapon used was acquired legally, due to a critical error during a routine background check. The Washington Post explains how a legal loophole allowed Roof to obtain a weapon, despite pending criminal charges.

Alternatively, James Holmes, who in 2012 carried out the deadly theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, legally obtained firearms and the components to construct improvised explosives from multiple retailers, as detailed in an article from ABC News.

But what’s the most horrific thing these two incidents have in common? Both murderers walked right through the front door.

This CNN piece details how the Colorado theater shooter walked into the multiplex after purchasing a ticket before leaving through the theatre’s side exit, propping it open, and re-entering with enough firepower to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting victims within.

Dylann Roof entered the South Carolina church and spent nearly an hour at a Bible study before opening fire on the unsuspecting pastor and congregation, as detailed in another article from ABC News.

Access Control Protocols Create a Visible Deterrent

Codelocks Ltd. /flickr

Codelocks Ltd. /flickr

It’s not realistic to suggest that these institutions and venues lock their doors to the public. However, establishing more clearly defined boundaries, as well as an increased security presence, can provide a visible deterrent against those intending to commit these heinous acts of violence.

The inclusion of “invitation or appointment only” restrictions, alongside electronic access controls and trained security personnel, empowers venues to be more selective about which areas are easily accessed by the public, and those that require special authorization.

A Clear and Present Danger

Certain tragedies are unpreventable, but the number of incidents can be reduced without locking out the public — provided that there are advanced security systems in place.

Recent events have made it abundantly clear that preventative measures are crucial to maintaining a safe environment across America, and the range of services provided by Integrated Security Services present an ideal starting point for accomplishing that goal.