So many lives lost… so many families destroyed. In Sutherland Springs, Texas, at a small Texas church just down the highway from San Antonio, 26 beautiful lives, members of a small congregation, were massacred and countless others left for dead after a monster entered their prayer service and sprayed bullets and destruction. If I’m not mistaken, one news station reported that out of a community of 400 people, 7% of their population died in that killing spree.
Many of those lives lost were of children, grandparents, wives, husbands, from 8 months of age to 75. How could this have happened you ask yourself. What do we need to do to stop it? Many rush to gun control, take all the guns away from people then it won’t happen again. We all know that this is not true. Just consider Chicago where the gun violence in that city is so high it’s tragic, and they have strict gun control. When these killers won’t use guns they use vans, trucks, cars, knives, pressure cookers, box cutters, nothing will stop an individual who is determined to harm others. So, what can we do, we need to be better prepared, be observant, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and report suspicious activity to the proper authorities.
See Something, Say Something
But how can we get a handle on these horrific events? I really don’t think we can. It will continue as long as we have individuals out there who believe that their cause is greater than anyone else’s and will not stop until they have succeeded in their objective. It will continue when those twisted minds think there has been an injustice, or they refuse to take responsibility for their own actions at work. We have evolved into a society that lacks social skills because of the internet and social media, we are afraid to ask the hard questions when it comes to individuals who make idle threats, and we don’t speak up when necessary. In many of these instances the individual made his intentions known, but no one confided in anyone else to warn them. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media pages could provide a hint into the mind of these individuals and perhaps could provide a warning. Just a mere conversation with someone who feels that they have been bullied, mistreated, unjustly terminated can open the lines of communication and may prevent a mindless rampage.
I, as a practitioner of Emergency Management and Planning, am seeing this vicious trend and plead for all businesses, churches, and schools to begin developing escape plans and response plans in earnest. As one of my colleagues mentioned in one of his articles, we must think beyond lockdowns and securing in a room. We now must think escape and evaluation. At concert venues, at churches, in theatres, we must now be cognoscente of where the threat is coming from, and what we have at our disposal to find shelter, safety, or fighting back.
We need to take into consideration how can we begin layering our safety net.
- First, we need to consider the parking lots, then entrances to the building. Are they locked, unlocked, can we funnel everyone into one area where they must enter instead of entering anywhere in the building?
- Churches need to think about a “soft lockdown” where doors are secured and have only one area where people can enter.
- Having your greeters/receptionists become more observant and know how to get help if needed.
- Set up individuals who can strategically be placed in the church who can confront any violent individual from different locations.
- Businesses should initiate identification badges and visitor identification badges to quickly know if the person is an employee or visitor and if they’re in an area that they should not be in.
- Sit down with your group and identify their exit routes and how quickly they can get to them. Have them walk through their escape plan.
- Have a discussion with your employees allowing them to share their concerns and where they feel vulnerable. You may find areas that you did not consider vulnerable.
- Be aware of employees who have been terminated under difficult circumstances and have made threats or innuendos towards employees or staff.
There are many areas and planning that needs to be made and I would suggest you take advantage of the information provided to you via the FBI home page, Active Shooter. You can also use the You Tube channel to gain more information related to Active Shooters and share them with your employees or staff. These pieces of information will not only help you at work but when you at other venues.
I pray for all those individuals who lost their life in not only this mindless event but all the others before that have caused so much grief and pain.
Again, If I can be of any assistance to you or your business, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via e-mail, message, or go to my website, www.rgonzalesconsulting.com
Be safe… God Bless.