Monday, April 09, 2018

Not Just Guns And Laws

I feel as bad and outraged about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas school in Parkland, Florida as anyone – I truly do. And I understand the frustration of the students and parents and staff at this school and others across the country who want something – anything – done to prevent such incidents in the future. I have listened to and read the heated comments about this incident, the calls for banning guns and more “gun control” (whatever that means). But I am outraged as much about what I haven’t heard or read.

Because of what I do for a living, I have dissected and analyzed this incident (and most of the others like it) both frontwards and backwards. And what I rarely see (the shooting from Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas being a notable exception) is any outrage directed toward the place where the shooting occurred…in other words, the lack of security which allowed such an event to happen.

Consider just these few issues related to Stoneman Douglas school:

· There was nothing or no one to identify, prevent, restrict or impede the armed shooter from being on the school grounds – no outdoor access control. 

· There was nothing or no one to monitor, identify, screen, prevent, restrict or impede the armed shooter from getting into the school – no perimeter access control. 

· There was nothing or no one to monitor, screen, prevent, restrict, impede or limit the armed shooter from roaming through the school once he got in – no interior access control or response plan. 

· There was the questionable response from the school resource officer who failed to immediately enter the school to engage the shooter.  

But of course the measures needed to remedy these shortcomings – which are unfortunately common at most schools across the country – require more resources, and nobody wants their taxes raised or additional fees imposed.

The point I am trying to make is that there is no single or simple fix to prevent these types of incidents. We need to expend resources to reasonably harden our schools and other “soft targets.” We need to assure that we have adequate plans in place to respond to these kinds of incidents because there is no such thing as perfect or absolute security and such situations will surely be attempted in the future. And perhaps most importantly we need to expend resources to identify and deal with the kinds of aberrant people and behaviors which commit these heinous acts.  

What we don’t have to do is focus all the blame and attention on banning guns and creating more gun laws, because to do so ignores the real roots of the problem.