And so another mentally ill man walked into a school and murdered 26 innocent people, worst of all most of them were children under the age of ten. How can we prevent this from happening in the future? What technologies are there that can help? How can we educate ourselves on prevention? Why are we not putting political pressure on our elected officials to provide meaningful solutions rather than sympathetic media sound bytes and pounding the anti-gun war drums? All good questions to ask.
There’s so many lessons learned in the Special Operations community that can be applied to everyday life. After the Aurora shooting I was inspired to write a short e-book with tips on how to survive an active shooter.
Recently I learned about the Newton tragedy while on vacation in Africa, and as a father myself (with kids in elementary school) I wanted to write something that would provide solutions. I decided to take a quick survey of former SEAL teammates, many of them now work in tier one corporate security, I asked them what their thoughts were.
Here’s what we came up with.
1. It Takes A Village
Right away, parents and teachers in local schools can start a School Watch. It would be a voluntary program augmented by parents. More adult eyes, ears, and cell phones around schools can only help and likely push predators away. Educating teachers on how to deal with active shooters is also key. Creating and implementing a standardized system of awareness
2. Leverage Technology
Expensive? How much is your child’s life worth? I don’t know of any community that wouldn’t support their local school in raising outside funds to purchase some technology that could provide an early warning. Several examples are:
- Metal Detectors
- Conventional and high-energy X-ray
- Active millimeter wave imaging (most of us have been through these at the airport)
- Energetic trace explosives detection.
“If a airplane full of people is worth the screening, then our children should be worth it as well. We developed a lot of technology post 911 to detect box cutters, lets put some of that at our schools”, said one former Navy SEAL who works in the security sector.
Schools are pretty good about funneling visitors through one entry way and adding technology to these funnels wouldn’t prevent but they would disrupt and warn. The further from the classroom the better.
3. Be More Aware
It is difficult to predict behavior, but easy to PAY ATTENTION to it, especially with all the paths of communication these days. In every case there have been warning signs, clues, and outright threats that go ignored. Whether its journals that go unread or disturbing tweets, we must start paying attention. We have to take cries for help seriously and OVER COMMUNICATE warning signs to those surrounding these potential murderers. Bottom line, if there are threatening clues or cues being broadcasted – tell someone, tell the authorities, retweet it, so that the warnings can be reciprocated with action.
There are things we can and should be doing right now to help prevent these things in the future. Churchill said it best. “I never worry about action, but only about inaction”. It’s time for us Americans to take action.
Look for more feedback from the rest of our writing team this week.
As I was wrapping up this post a representative from Escape the Wolf informed me that they are working on an Escape the Wolf e-learn for kids as we speak. It’s very similar to their travelers eLearning but more interactive with a emphases sexual predators, active shooters, and online threats.
The company is comprised of former intelligence and Special Operations professionals, and also informed us that they are willing to consult with public schools about security measures for free.
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