Please see this article entitled: Nine dead after California sees three mass shootings in four days in The Guardian. It’s an article that merely details the most recent mass/active shootings.
It is plainly clear that our law enforcement capability has the means to effectively stop a threat, that is, shoot and kill an active shooter. That’s not questioned. We have that down, and we should keep honing our skills and tactics for such a need.
What is also plainly clear, however, is that our society (collectively…all of us) is continuing to fail at creating a society that is not conducive to violence. We not only continue to fail, but we seem utterly oblivious to take up any major initiative to re-recreate a society that is not so conducive to active shooters.
I’m not sure how much more is necessary to provide a sufficient wake-up call.
These events will continue to occur as long as we continue to refuse to go more upstream to begin preventing them. Just for the record, no, being satisfied with diving into pre-incident indicators, pre-incident risk factors, pre-incident signals, is not enough. It is definitely something, and we should continue it. It is not, however, enough.
Stopping at pre-incident indicators, pre-incident risk factors, pre-incident signals, and hardening our buildings with new locks, cameras, fancy gunshot detection technology, etc. is nothing more than a continued fixation on waiting too long. We are waiting too long, so long in fact that we’re barely staying left of bang and much of our fascination still resides at the moment of bang (i.e., the shooting), alongside the specious presumption that a long-term fix can be done by law enforcement
Whatever is causing boys to grow up to become active shooters is nothing less than a modern manifestation of a hydra-headed pathology. Chop off one head, and it grows another. Keep chopping and they continue to grow back.
Keep stopping the threat. Keep shooting the active shooters. They will continue to manifest out of our society until we take up (while keeping all the other good work) a new line of work. This new line of work must go so far upstream that it likely causes our normal sensibility to whisper to us that it’s not possible. Yet, that’s hopelessness speaking.
We must go well upstream, beginning at the birth of children and re-do everything we are doing which has, over time, created a society in which boys are too prone to grow up to want to actively kill people.
The time for work is now. We are now paying a heavy price for inaction. The longer we wait, the more into the future this sickness is pushed.
This is long-term work. We (anyone reading this now) likely won’t see the fruits of the work. But our future ancestors will. We have a moral obligation to do something about it.
We owe it to our children, and to their children, and to their children, ad infinitum, to work at creating a different future.
This is big work. If we don’t do it, who will?