Please read this useful article, entitled U.S. Secret Service: 10 warning signs before a school shooting.
It’s always useful to study real research on subjects such as the Active Assailant predicament. Otherwise, fear rules and distorts decision-making and ultimately how we address this serious issue.
Note warning sign # 4: “Most attackers had experienced psychological, behavioral or developmental symptoms.”
Note warning sign # 6: “All attackers experienced social stressors involving their relationships with peers and/or romantic partners.”
Note warning sign # 7: “Nearly every attacker experienced negative home life factors.”
See a pattern? I do. I’ve seen it for quite a while and write about it frequently. It’s a collective blind-spot in the United States in reference to the Active Assailant plight. Most people (including so-called professionals) remain myopically fixated on the point of impact (i.e., the actual shooting) and proceed to wrongly presume that the only effective means of mitigating the Active Assailant crisis is with law enforcement and bullets.
Some stretch a bit upstream and (rightly) focus on identification of pre-incident behaviors. In this manner, we can more successfully predict and intervene, thus potentially thwarting an Active Assailant incident.
That, however, is not far enough upstream.
I say we go way, way, upstream, to the point when children are conceived and then reared into adults. Frederick Douglass told us a deep truth when he said:
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
We have significant issues in the United States regarding behavioral health issues. Reflect back on the warning signs mentioned in the article (4, 6, 7, and others). We will lose the battle to get control of this crisis if we continue to focus more on the consequences of social problems and behavioral health issues (take a pill and walk on) and the Active Assailant issue (kill the threat) and less on, from the beginning, literally, building better humans.
This is a long-term, mitigative approach, with far-reaching benefits. By going far more upstream and creating more sane children, a more sane society, our future ancestors (not yet born) will reap the benefits. And these benefits will make our current efforts look paltry.
I am NOT advocating that we stop all our valiant efforts at developing and training the very best Active Assailant Response Plans. Let us continue!
I AM, however, saying that, if we don’t give more attention to growing better humans (literally, remaking how we are raising children and transforming everything in society which impacts them), then we are wasting time and energy (while we continue to respond, respond, and respond to continuing incidents) and doing little to nothing for future Americans who will simply inherit a less-than-sane society and a societal cul-de-sac in reference to the Active Assailant situation.
Building better humans is seemingly a large endeavor. And yet, not really. It’s simply a slight reorientation of our focus and energy. Is it an issue fitting for a Law Enforcement or Security Professional? Perhaps not for many in those fields. However, we cannot let our disciplines contribute to blind-spots because of excessive silo-ing.
Imagine how we could impact in a positive direction, not just the Active Assailant crisis, but all social issues! Better (i.e., psychologically, physically, and otherwise) humans = a better society!