Experts Say this is the Way to Prevent the Next School Shooting
Since the recent spate of school shootings, experts have been looking into ways to make schools safer for students and administrators. There has been a lot of research going on, and many proposals are now on the table. The good news is that many of the strategies to prevent further school shootings do not involve putting more guns out into the community.
Find Ways to Listen to Students and Teachers
A supportive school environment is one strategy put forward to help prevent school shootings or other traumatic events. The idea is to build an environment where students feel safe and included and able to communicate.
The community should be heavily involved in the school atmosphere with parents and other community members regularly engaging with school activities.
Research has revealed that over the last seven years, 20 to 30% of students have reported that they had seen a weapon on the grounds.
Students and teachers who are aware of weapons and are not afraid to communicate is a more effective preventative measure than waiting for a response from the FBI.
Implement Health Care Measures
Improved health care could help spot troubled individuals who are at risk of being triggered into violence.
Behavioral screening tools could help to identify the high-risk students who would then become the focus of health care professionals and local mental health facilities. At risk students could receive the counseling they need to help them integrate more successfully into their community.
Becoming Aware of Obsession with Firearms
Students who commit mass shootings in a school often develop an obsession with firearms months before the shooting occurs.
A developing obsession with firearms and weapons that are designed to kill a lot of people should be taken as a warning sign.
Discussions on the Second Amendment will always enter a debate such as this. However, if students are professing a desire to kill with lethal weapons, then law enforcement and mental health professionals should be made aware of them.
These individuals are not expressing their right to bear arms but are instead declaring themselves as a danger to society. Policies should be introduced to provide more latitude for authority figures to intervene legally should the above situations occur in the community or school.
Create More Awareness in the Community
Whenever somebody expresses a desire to harm others, there should be some form of action taken.
Hotlines should be available for students, neighbors, and teachers to call and make others aware of the potential threat.
Of course, this strategy will require extensive educational measures to make everyone aware of who to call and when it is appropriate.
Expulsion Shouldn’t be the Final Solution
Troubled students who are expelled can often become more determined to carry out a school shooting. For this reason, more involvement with the student’s care needs to occur after expulsion.
Expulsion can often mean that not only has education been denied, but the individual also loses access to an affordable means of support and counseling.
The gap between expulsion and a troubled teen getting caught up in the juvenile justice or welfare system needs to shrink or close if more shootings are to be prevented.
An active shooter is a term used to describe a person who is actively engaged at killing people with a firearm. There is no apparent method or pattern behind how they select their victims.
The term is also used to describe someone who may be using other weapons such as explosives (usually improvised) to either harm a large group of people or to make it more difficult for law enforcement to apprehend them.
Mass shootings are terrifying events to be caught up in, and tighter gun control laws appear to be an ineffective solution.
The Las Vegas shooting was perpetrated by an individual who had no prior history of mental illness and no criminal history. Both facts enabled the shooter to purchase many of his guns legally from local gun shops.
The only deterrent which may have prevented the tragedy would seem to be a ban on all gun ownership. Of course, if you consider how long the war on drugs has been going on, then even a total ban on guns won’t be 100% effective.
Determined gun owners will still be able to get firearms through the black market. Plus, there are other weapons available to a crazed person intent on killing a large group of people, such as small van driven down a packed sidewalk at high speed for just one example.
Surviving an Active Shooter
The key to surviving an active shooter is to possess a little paranoia whenever you are out and about, so use it to your advantage.
- Always sit near an exit
The corner of the theater or stadium isn’t exactly the best seat in the house, but it will be if you need to make a quick escape. Try never to find yourself surrounded and in the middle of a crowd.
- Wear good shoes
Surviving an active shooter almost always comes down to how fast you can get out of there, and this means you should always wear good shoes which won’t slow you down.
- Be vigilant
The brain likes to view the world as if it’s completely normal. For instance, during the Aurora, Colorado shooting, many witnesses reported they thought it was all part of the show at first. Even though they felt something wasn’t quite right when they noticed the shooter walk in, they stayed put. If the situation feels wrong, then leave.
- Don’t Stop Running
Even if you make it outside, you are still in danger. A few victims of the Paris shootings lost their lives because they stopped once they made it outside. They didn’t realize they were still in the range of the shooters and were gunned down while getting out their phones. Just keep going until you are positive you are out of the danger zone.
- Fight Back
If you ever come face-to-face with an active shooter, know that they will show no compassion. Pleading for your life is not going to save you. Your best chance at survival is to rush the gunman and take your best shot. You will have more chance of surviving the encounter than if you stay on your knees and beg.
Be vigilant, be prepared, and stay safe. A course in self-defense and combat also won’t go astray if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, not just one involving an active shooter.
Active Shooter Deterrence
Security can be classified as a continuum made up of five steps: Deter, Detect, Delay, Respond, and Recover. We will be focusing on active shooter deterrence measures appropriate for schools in this article.
During the respond and recover phases, there has already been loss of life. First responders are just minutes away, but that may as well be a lifetime in an active shooter situation.
More lives can be saved during an active shooter scenario if the focus is put on deterring, detecting, and delaying an active shooter from participating in their horrific endeavor.
Creating an Effective Active Shooter Deterrence
The NYPD reports 97 percent of active shooters in 230 documented cases were male. In the case of schools, the age groups of the attackers fall into three categories: 10-14, 15-19, and 20-24 years old. Late teenagers make up the largest group.
Most of the individuals in question had mental or emotional issues and had some grievance against the educational institution – both real and imagined.
Potential attackers are determined to achieve their objectives and will go to great lengths to succeed in it. Sowing doubt in their mind about their ability to make a successful attack will be a significant deterrent.
Create A Strong Security Presence
Ensuring there is an active security presence at the school could help prevent an attack.
Signage indicating that both uniformed and plainclothes patrols are regularly active in the area may cause a potential attacker to reconsider their actions. But if this method is to be successful, there will need to be a visible police presence on the premises at various intervals.
Prepare School Staff
Supplying school staff with defensive measures such as bear spray, Tasers, and pepper spray will help prevent an attack if it is routinely made known that staff are prepared and trained for an active shooter attack.
One person alone may not be much of a deterrent, but if many of the faculty can come to the school’s defense, an attacker may not be motivated enough to continue with their plan.
The above strategy may be more effective if the trained staff and faculty are permitted to carry concealed weapons. Not knowing who is armed and who is not will sow seeds of doubt in the attacker about how strong their potential resistance will be.
Secure School Entrances
Maintaining a strong presence of adults and security personnel at the school’s entrances will deliver a show of strength and enhance the perception that an area is a safe place.
Engaging in conversation with every student as they make their way into the school will also make it very difficult to enter with a concealed weapon. Personal connections are also powerful deterrents for troubled individuals who may respond well to positive attention.
Random metal detection checks will also deter attackers from trying to enter with a concealed handgun. The popular misconception is that most school shootings are carried out with powerful assault rifles, but these are difficult to hide.
Most school shootings are done by way of small, easily concealed handguns and random metal detector checks will create another obstacle for the potential attacker.