Respond and Prevent Mass Shootings

Americans are taking notice, almost EVERY DAY we see another story about an active shooter terrifying innocent victims with a mass shooting.  We MUST take all threats seriously and put into place the resources necessary to stop the violence and save lives.

How many stories must we learn about before we take the active shooter threat seriously?  It is time to intervene.

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2021 is off to a very deadly start.  A mentally disturbed individual killed eight people at various Atlanta businesses. In the Denver area, a grocery store attack killed ten people, including a responding police officer. In March, the Virginia Beach Oceanfront saw a string of shootings spanning several blocks.  The first two weeks of April brought us shootings in California, Mayland, Texas, and TennesseeAt an Indianapolis FedEx warehouse facility, a disgruntled ex-employee killed nine former co-workers.  History has shown that the tragedy of an active shooting attack occurs all too frequently and 2021 is no different, in fact, it is becoming obvious that the number of incidents is on a sharp and steady incline.

Unfortunately, such mass shootings also occur on school and college campuses. 
  • The 1966 University of Texas shooting killed 16 and wounded another 33 before law enforcement was able to stop the sniper positioned in the university’s clock tower.
  • The 1999 shooting at Columbine High School killed 13 and wounded another 24 students.
  • In 2007 an active shooter at Virginia Tech barricaded the building exits before trapping and killing 32 students along with wounded 23 others. 
  • Sandy Hook Elementary School was the site of the 2012 attack that left 27 dead, including 20 elementary students ages six and younger.
  • In 2017 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was the target of a suspended student who killed 17 and wounded the same number of students.
While mass shootings in schools get a lot of media attention, it is important to understand that schools are not the only targets.  Nationwide since 2014 (Gun Violence Archive):
  • 2014 - 269 mass shootings, 1,079 injured, 262 killed
  • 2015 - 336 mass shootings, 1,337 injured, 369 killed
  • 2016 - 382 mass shootings, 1,536 injured, 452 killed
  • 2017 - 346 mass shootings, 1,797 injured, 435 killed
  • 2018 - 336 mass shootings, 1,330 injured, 372 killed
  • 2019 - 417 mass shootings, 1.707 injured, 465 killed
  • 2020 - 611 mass shootings, 2,543 injured, 513 killed (and this while most of the nation was in some form of Covid-19 lockdown)
  • 2021 (as of May 9, 2021) - 194 mass shootings, 769 injured, 223 killed

The reality of the active shooter threat means organizations must know how to respond if confronted with this deadly situation.  There are many popular and effective active shooter response protocols available today to include:

  • Run, Hide, Fight
  • The A.L.I.C.E. Method
  • Avoid, Deny, Defend

These response strategies have proven useful in affording innocent victims the best chance of evading harm, and it is incumbent on those responsible for organizational safety to provide such training to all who can benefit.  This includes employees, staff, students, and all potential invitees.

The truth of the matter is simple.  In a crisis situation, an individual will rise or fall to the level of training they have achieved.  When in a crisis, our brains are overwhelmed by the situation, many people panic and cease moving altogether.  Our brains sort through a database of responses, and without training, a person is more likely to choose the wrong response.  Panic is a tragedy of errors, but it is one of the more preventable human mistakes that we can lessen by training the mind in how to respond.

Additionally, individuals need to also understand what actions to take as they escape the danger.  Simple details such as displaying empty and raised hands when confronted by arriving authorities so as not to be mistaken for the threat.  An organization can do a lot to help its employees and invitees by implementing active shooter protocol training and making certain to practice said training.

Just as important, personnel, should learn the warning signs of a potential active shooter.

The Warning Signs of an Active Shooter

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Being able to recognize the warning signs of an active shooter can help prevent a mass tragedy event. These warning signs include discernable behaviors that can raise concern regarding a potential future active shooter situation. Warning indicators can manifest in many ways such as:

  • Social media that telegraphs a potential shooter’s intent through the posting of content that supports violence,
  • Social media content that promotes the criminal use of weapons,
  • Social Media content that promotes the expression of threatening messages,
  • Negative changes in personal behaviors,
  • Increased aggressiveness,
  • Increased paranoia or
  • Increased depression.

These can all be precursors to someone who is contemplating a mass shooting. It is essential to take any and all threats seriously that suggest violence and to implement the necessary resources and intervention. In nearly all mass shootings to date, the shooter had made public statements regarding the intent to commit the act, and nearly all shooters had a personal connection to the facility and/or person(s) targeted.  Providing assistance to a troubled individual in advance can prevent violent actions in the future. 

If you see/hear something, say something.

In a Mass Shooting, Responding Officers Need Information to Save Lives

OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE, responding officers will need actionable, precise, and accurate information, including the identification of the threat taking place and the location of the attacker.

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It is imperative that organizations begin to provide options for those under attack should a mass shooting or other violent situation occur.

Consider the science of a typical brain during fear response.  People have reported:

  • Loss of sight
  • Loss of hearing
  • Normalcy Bias (i.e. an innate desire to not overreact causes us to underreact)
  • Memory loss or gaps
  • Freezing or feeling locked in place, some even to the point of paralysis
  • Cortisol and adrenaline surges causing blood pressure and heart rate increases making the fear response stronger
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Loss of time or perceived time continuum slowing/accelerating
  • Auditory perception changes (hearing something that seems close when it is far (or vice versa), garbled or muted sounds, overly loud or distorted sounds.
  • and many more unexplained perceptions

In a fear response situation, a person may very likely NOT BE ABLE to communicate effectively to responding authorities (i.e. when calling 911 when under attack from an active shooter).  Therefore, having a simple and somewhat "thoughtless" process for victims becomes a critical component to getting first responders the life-saving information they need.  

Critical Incident Response Technology

During a crisis event like an active shooter, when many (if not all) people involved will be experiencing some depletion of motor skills, having a plan to summon help is by far one of the most important keys to survival.  That is, calling the professionals for help and making sure they have the right information IMMEDIATELY so that response can be IMMINENT.  Traditional methods of contacting the police have proven to be ineffective many times over as people experiencing the life-threatening situation have a difficult time remaining calm and communicating the information that police need to respond to.  This is where ASR comes in.

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.

Our critical incident response technology uses hard-mounted buttons, mobile pendants, and an optional mobile phone application to DIRECTLY communicate with first responders in the area to significantly decrease response times to an active threat or crisis situation.  

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Having dedicated hardware that is readily accessible and easy to operate is KEY when it comes to life-saving tools.  The methodology utilized to place the ASR Alert button stations is different for every client and/or organization. By having a dedicated button that is mounted in convenient locations (such as in a classroom or near office doors) or wearing a pendant, staff can activate an alert to staff and provide law enforcement with all of the necessary information to respond with the PRESS OF A BUTTON. By depressing the ASR Alert Button, Law Enforcement Dispatch know the location name, address, location within the facility, and type of emergency.

ASR offers the best commercial critical incident response technology solution in the industry. Our reliable and redundant methods of alerting persons who are in danger, as well as providing the fastest notification to law enforcement by communicating directly with police dispatch are not matched and we hold the patent on this direct communication technology.  

While difficult to influence the actions of those who are mentally ill or wish to commit violence, the safety and security of individuals can be enhanced through an understanding of active shooter response strategies.  Moreover, the recognition of the potential warning signs and providing intervention to the individual in question can enhance the safety of the overall community.  Finally, by having reliable methods of communicating with first responders during a violent attack, organizations can better prepare to mitigate the loss of life.  Let ASR show you how to prepare for the best possible outcome should an active shooter situation happen in your building.  SCHEDULE A VIRTUAL DEMONSTRATION FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION TODAY

Have questions or wish to schedule a virtual demonstration? Please contact us below.