Friday, December 14, 2012

Knew what to do

The latest mass shooting incident in the United States, at  a shopping mall in Portland, OR, made me wonder about where we are headed.  I was in Seattle on Tuesday night when the news broke. I was standing in front of a TV monitor at SEATAC, watching the breaking news on a local station.  As the evening wore on, more video footage and more interviews with customers began to flow.  Here's what amazed me:  people really seemed to know what to do in order to improve their chance of survival.

As I listened to interviews and watched some of the video from both inside and outside the mall, it appeared that when the shooting began, customers were taking cover, staying low, and moving quickly; employees were getting people into back rooms, locking and barricading doors; people exiting the mall were voluntarily raising their hands to make it evident to the arriving law enforcement officers that they were unarmed; and so forth.  Basically, people have learned some important things to do (and not do) in a mass shooting event. In one way this is good, but what in the world does it say about our society and culture?

21 comments:

Steve said...

From what I've read, it seems the gunman fired quite a few rounds, yet only hit three people, and apparently was planning on suicide prior to encountering any resistance (police). I almost have to wonder if he even meant to hit the three victims. I guess it's pretty pointless to try and figure out something like this.

I did notice, on what little video I saw, that people were raising their hands as they exited. I guess we've seen enough movies and real-life footage now to know that much, at least. A sad commentary, if you ask me.

As I see it, there is virtually no way to prevent something like this, when people no one would expect to do so, erupt into violence and are bent on suicide. I think what we need to do is figure out a way to end these events as quickly as possible and minimize the carnage. Maybe something like automatic gas dispensers, triggered by the sound of gunfire, that would put everyone in the vacinity to sleep almost instantaneously (if there is such a thing). Perhaps some incapacitating noise, lights, or anything else that would make it more difficult or impossible for the gunman to continue after the first round is fired. It's interesting to think of the possibilities, but most likely, any ideas would be cost prohibitive and somehow, someone would find a way around them anyhow.

Clean said...

While I hate the fact that bad things happen,I'm not sure the bad things are significantly more likely now than they were when we were younger. (You have a better handle on the statistics than I.) Going with the assumption that they're not significantly more likely now, the news you saw means that people are now much more sophisticated and aware of such possibilites - and what to do about them - than when they thought that bad things only happened a thousand miles away and three days ago.

Grundle King said...

I believe it says people are beginning to understand that there is no such place as a "safe zone", especially those places that are allegedly "gun-free" because someone puts a little 5"x5" sticker on the door.

I believe it also says the people are starting to understand that the police do not exist to protect society. They best the police can do is respond quickly, try to limit the casualties, and arrest the shooter (if he/she is still alive)...but the police are not bodyguards and our own personal safety is up to us. A sticker on a door won't protect you. An officer who is, at best, minutes away can't protect you. If you want to live through one of these events, you'd better have a good idea of how you'll respond.

The response time for the Clackamas shooting was incredibly fast, and it sounds as though the police have begun developing new strategies nation-wide to deal with the 'active shooter' scenarios. If you wouldn't mind, could you share some insight as to if and how LPD is addressing their response methods for 'active shooter' scenarios?

Anonymous said...

Steve,

The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Tom Casady said...

Grundle,

Primarily in the aftermath of Columbine, those of us in law enforcement nationwide came to realize that a good deal of our training and tactics in dealing with barricaded suspects was ineffective in the case of an active shooter.

We had primarily been trained to contain the situation, set up a perimeter, remove people from harms way who could be safely extracted, and get SWAT en route. SWAT, in turn, generally was trained to methodically assess the situation and develop a plan of operations. All of this was based on the belief that time was on the side of the good guys.

While that is still true in many situations, Columbine (and other mass shootings before and after) showed us that when an assailant is actively shooting innocents, the implication of the standard "barricaded subject" approach is more casualties. In response, police training and tactics began to emerge to deal with the specific threat of an "active shooter."

Active shooter training for the past decade has emphasized the overarching need to quickly locate, pursue and neutralize the shooter. Officers are taught tactics to move quickly and engage the assailant with the assets on hand.

Anonymous said...

How ironic that you have posted this today, Tom. And a few hours later, the sad massacre in CT. How can someone do that? How?

Anonymous said...

The "How" is easy, the "Why" is not. This conversation needs to start with mental health, it may end with guns, but it needs to start with why actions like these are seen as viable answers to whatever issues were at hand.

Grundle King said...

Indeed, this topic is sadly even more timely considering the events in Connecticut.

How can someone do that? I think that, to understand the answer to that question, you need to have a brain like the shooter's brain...composed solely of excrement. These people have so many things wrong with them, it should be obvious to those around them that something is amiss...but I think most of those people around these shooters just live in denial of their problems...or they just don't bother to notice.

Steve said...

GrundleKing:

Obviously, it is not obvious to everyone when someone has problems that might lead to something like this. Everything I have read so far indicates that all who knew the shooter (in Oregon) were shocked by his actions. As for the Connecticut incident, no one at this time seems to have any idea of the motive.

To me, this is a confirmation of my first comment, that it is impossible to prevent something like this from happening. As much as some people would wish it so, there is no way all guns can be removed from society. Even if they could be, some other weapon, perhaps something more deadly, would take their place. The best we can do is limit the damages as best we can.

I know my earlier suggestions are far-fetched, and probably cost prohibitive. Still, in my mind, and as indicated by the director, the most important thing we can do is to neutralize the shooter as soon as possible.

I don't want to turn this into a concealed carry argument. However, I have a permit, and if allowed, I would be carrying in the schools where I teach. I know in my heart I would do everything in my power to stop such a tragedy, even at the risk of my own life. I'm not trying to come off as some super hero, and I'm not suggesting that allowing teachers and administrators to carry guns in schools is the answer. However, until we come up with a better solution, it is something to think about.

Again, this is not an option that will prevent something like this, but it could reduce the number of dead and wounded by having someone on site with the means to neutralize a shooter.

The cheese stands alone said...

I think the media has had a bigger impact on such events. TV, movies, and especially video games, expose us to more and more violence constantly. We've become desensitised to the violence continually becomes more graphic. I lived in a household with very little access to video game consoles and will chose to do the same with my children. These have become babysitters for parents and parents pay little to no attention to what games their kids are playing. Depending on the age these are played, children do not have the cognitive ability to understand the difference between fantasy and reality. The problem continues when parents don't discuss such differences with their children and these fantasies get confused with the child's interpretation and expectations of reality. With single parent households and tougher economic times, I understand it's hard to spend time as a family and make ends meet, but the communication in a family unit has become completely broken, where technology and media has also played a role - cell phones, texting, facebook. Albeit a separate issue, not enough families talk anymore to instill the values or right and wrong or just being good to your fellow human being. The first person most people think about anymore is themselves, the same as these shooters.

Anonymous said...

Is it mental illness or Demonic possession? The shooting in Connecticut was PURE evil. Insanity alone cannot explain it.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

Steve did not want to make this about concealed carry, but he is right on. We need to stop creating these gun free zones because guess what the only one that pays attention to that little sticker on the door is the law abiding citizen, the CCW permit holder and he/she is not the one we have to worry about! In CT the shooter murdered his mother and stole her guns, he murdered 26 other people. If the laws on the books against robbery and murder did not stop him, what makes some people think passing more laws will help? Like the churck in Colorado Springs, the had armed plain clothes security that ended what could have been a much worse mass shooting! If a teacher/administrator is trained and has a permit, allow them to carry at school! When the Wolf comes to take your little lamb or sheep, the answer is a prepared Sheep Dog to take out the Wolf!

MRDRIVEDRUNK said...

I am sitting at home, nearly in tears. I have been looking at the pictures of those children that had life taken from them. The next time any of us think about harming someone, with words or actions, we need to think of this picture. These innocent children were murdered in cold blood by a ruthless, demonic possessed gun toting maniac. I think a federal law should be imposed to read something like: If someone obtains your firearm and murders another with it, you should go to prison for 30 years. NO questions asked. If you do not lock and trigger guard your weapon, you go to JAIL, period. Responsible gun owners know this. One poster writes, There is virtually no way to prevent something like this??? Geesh, I am glad I do not think like this.

Steve said...

As much as I hate to admit I feel this way, I've come to the conclusion that most of the mass shooting perpetrators are probably as much victims as those they kill and wound. I'm not excusing their conduct, but it is obvious to me that they are sick. It might be genetic, it might be environmental, but they obviously have something wrong with them that they are unable to control. I mean, seriously, would any person who understands right and wrong, and who had control of their own actions commit such a deed? Very few mass killings were the result of any cunning plan to acquire some personal gain or satisfaction. Most, in fact, were desparate attempts to express their frustration with life the way they saw it, a last ditch effort to let the world know how much they were hurting, or a truly insane, delusional, or psychotic episode. All of these things, while not excusable, are understandable.

Yes, there may be environmental factors that we can blame: this latest shooter apparently had no father figure present in his life. That alone does not explain what went wrong. There are many without father figures who turn out fine.

I've even considered the possibility that some of these shooters may, in fact, believe they are saving their victims from the same type of terrible life they themselves have had to endure.

When it is all said and done, something went wrong, bad things happened, they will happen again, but we will move on and live with it.

The alternative is some kind of absolute control over the lives of all of us that would make life pointless.

Anonymous said...

Over time I've transitioned from 'people don't need all these guns' to 'let more qualified people carry.' Let's face it, guns are never going away. Liberals can try to legislate but, even if the 2nd amendment were cancelled, there would still be guns. Remember prohibition anyone? People who want stuff will get it. I say let teachers that want to be armed do so. You then have a first line of defense until the police arrive.

Steve said...

MRDRIVEDRUNK:

It is ridiculous ideas like yours that bring the NRA to fight against any and all gun-control legislation for fear that once people like you get any kind of foothold, you'll continue until you've completely overturned the second amendment.

There are many things we can do that most responsible gun owners would support in terms of trying to reduce the carnage from guns in the hands of the wrong people. Making them completely useless for self-defense is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

The news report coming out today (Monday) says that the killer spent hours playing violent video games. The Liberal solution is ALWAYS more gun control. MAYBE the issue that really needs attention is the violent CRAP that the Hollywood and entertainment 1%ers are selling. The thirty year sentence MRDRIVEDRUNK put out there may be the right thing to do to those that make money off of violent videos. But that pesky first Amendment gets in the way.

Gun Nut

Steve said...

Gun Nut:

I, too, have little doubt that playing these violent video games has a role in this kind of behavior, yet I doubt there is much that can be done about it unless you can keep parents from buying them for their kids or letting them play in the first place. Part of the problem is that in these "games" you can be killed over and over and just start the game again. You can also kill the enemy seemingly without end and yet when the game is over nothing has really changed.

This is one reason why I think parents should educate children about real guns and what real guns do. One good way is to take them hunting, where they will soon understand that dead means dead. There are no do-overs. They will quickly realize that a careless or intentional act would bring the same result to a human life.

Anonymous said...

I think the constant news coverage plays a big part in all of this, too. How come we as a society can name the people who commit these crimes (i.e. Oklahoming bombing, Columbine, etc.) but we can name only a few, if any, of the victims? Who would get an idea of going into a school and shooting people if the news coverage wasn't so constant and giving the shooter lots of air time?

Bones said...

Hand guns are made for killin,' Ain't no good for nothin' else
And if you like your whiskey, You might even shoot yourself
So why don't we dump 'em people, To the bottom of the sea
Before some fool come around here, Wanna shoot either you or me. - the late,great Ronnie Van Zant

Anonymous said...

Would it really be so bad if the security guards at schools carried guns of some sort? I'm just looking for opinions on this. Most security guards in other businesses carry weapons and since schools have become targets of such violence, wouldn't it make sense that security guards at schools carry weapons? Again, I'm just looking for thoughtful opinions on this. Thanks.