2021 The Deadliest Mass-Shooting Year On Record
Its October 14th, 2021, and as of the publication of this post, 2021 is ALREADY the deadliest year on record when it comes to mass shootings. The Gun Violence Archive defines mass shootings as a minimum of four victims shot (either fatally or not) excluding any shooter killed or injured in the attack.
As of October 10, 2021, there have been 557 mass shooting incidents in the United States. In those incidents, 2,305 people were injured and 559 have been killed. While the number of incidents is down from 2020 (611 incidents), there are already 46 more deaths over 2020 and we still have 3 more months left in 2021. The data is show a concerning trend. While correlation does not always mean causation, it is noteworthy to be aware that, with the exception of 2017 and 2018, each successive year has been more deadly than the prior one. This is seemingly highlighting a disturbing trend.
Why Is This Happening?
While there is no singular answer to this question, many professionals have weighed in with a multitude of reasons we are seeing such an uptick in violent behavior. Each new report lines out a potential explanation. Historically, violent behavior has been blamed on violence witnessed in movies, TV shows, and video games. Many blame mental illness. Others blame guns. Still, others blame a society wrought with a victimhood mentality that leads to violent behavior as retribution for a perceived wrong. Some point toward genetic abnormalities or medical ailments (such as tumors) to explain the violence. There is also a lot of focus on social media influence being to blame as well.
The major issue we face in trying to come up with a specific reason, or recipe, for violent behavior, is that not one shooter absolutely resembles the "profile" of another shooter. While there may be common threads among some, those same shooters will be vastly different in other ways. Where there may have been obvious signs (as evaluated after the fact) in some, there may have been none of the same "obvious signs" in others. For example:
- A history of mental illness does not mean a person will become violent. Each mental illness and each individual person are wholly different. 19% of people in the United States are experiencing a mental illness and we definitely do not see a proportionate amount of people committing mass shooting violence.
- A history of bullying or being bullied does not mean a person will become violent. One out of every five (20.2%) students report being bullied and yet, societally speaking, only a handful of people resort to violence, and even fewer resort to mass shootings. Why?
- If medical anomalies, like brain tumors, are to blame, why then aren't we seeing even more mass shootings?
- If video games are to blame, why did it take until 2013 to begin to see such a dramatic spike in mass shootings? Violent video games have been around since the early 1990s after all.
- If the AR-15 is to blame, why haven't violent extremists been mass-shooting people since its invention in 1956?
- 82% of the US population uses social media, so why only a relative handful of active shooters?
What is easy to agree upon is that the rise of the American mass shooting epidemic is likely a toxic cocktail of many different elements clashing together, resulting in catastrophic outcomes. As a society, we haven't even breached the surface of a solution to identify a mass shooter before he/she acts, let alone figure out a way we can stop them. There clearly isn't a magic pill solution today, nor will there be one in the foreseeable future.
So What Can We Do?
It's not all dark clouds and terrifying statistics. There is a LOT we can do to protect ourselves should tragedy strike us. and it boils down to two things:
- Being educated on the things we can do to better control our outcomes if we are faced with a life-threatening active shooter event.
- Expedite the response from the experts that are trained to stop the killing spree, and render aid to injured persons (stop the dying).
An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms.
- Victims are most often selected at random.
- The event is unpredictable and evolves quickly.
- When an active shooter is in your vicinity, you must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with the situation.
- Have an escape route and plan in mind.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
- Help others escape, if possible.
- Do not attempt to move wounded people.
- Prevent others from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
- Keep your hands visible.
- Call 9-1-1 when you are safe. (We will get to this in a moment)
- Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view.
- Lock the door or block the entry to your hiding place.
- Silence your cell phone (including the vibration) and remain quiet. (We will elaborate on this in a moment).
- Fight as a last resort and only when your life is in immediate danger.
- Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
- Act with as much physical aggression as possible.
- Improvise weapons or throw items at the active shooter.
- Commit to your actions…your life depends on it.
- Remain calm and follow instructions.
- Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets).
- Raise hands and spread fingers.
- Keep hands visible at all times.
- Avoid quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety.
- Avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling.
- Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating.
Getting Help Fast
Traditionally, when faced with a crisis, we have learned to call 911. What most people do NOT know is that relaying critical information to first responders is oftentimes extremely difficult and sometimes next to impossible. Here is just some of the information a 911 operator will ask you.
- Location of the active shooter(s). (Address and location in building)
- The number of shooters.
- Physical description of shooter(s).
- Number and type of weapons held by shooter(s).
- The number of potential victims at the location.
But what if you don't have your cell phone on you or a landline nearby? What if you have no cell signal in your building? What if you are hiding and have to be absolutely silent so the shooter won't find you? Most protocols also indicate to call 911 after you are safe, which of course makes sense, but it also takes valuable time.
Outdated Technology - An antiquated process for reporting critical information to first responders during a crisis event
Response Time - The average police response time to a school active shooter, for example, is 18 minutes.* *Source:: Homeland Defense and Security
Crisis Event Time - The average active shooter event takes 13.5 minutes* *Source: www.policemag.com
The Result - First Responders are arriving on scene 4.5 minutes AFTER the active shooter crisis has ended.
Technology as a Solution
Technology can be your best asset when faced with a life-threatening emergency. Critical Incident Response Technology is technology dedicated to alerting first responders of a crisis situation at a school, business, building, or event (indoor or outdoor). The technology does the communicating for you so that you can focus on life-saving decision-making.
The ASR Alert Systems Solution
ASR Alert Systems is a patented state-of-the-art critical incident response technology specializing in the field of alert notifications to Law Enforcement and First Responders in the event of an active shooter or other crisis. Our technology can be customized to any industry, building, or event. We deliver customer-specific technology unmatched by anyone.
With the press of a button, officers & dispatch are directly notified of the incident, along with the address and location within the building. They know what is happening, where it is happening, who it is happening to and help is on the way immediately. This significantly reduces response time from Law Enforcement while also notifying all those under attack within the organization or building.
While we can't predict an active shooter event, we can plan for the best possible outcomes when they occur. As these events continue to occur more frequently and have subsequently become more and more deadly every year, it is imperative that organizations prepare accordingly. We can no longer say, "it can't happen here" because that is a mistake you can't afford to make. If you do, it could cost you your life and those lives that you have a responsibility to protect in your buildings.