Monday, January 6, 2014

Responding to Mass Shooting — Necessary After the Fact


All-Too-Familiar in America Today

On the topic of mass shooting two pieces caught my attention:

First, a definition of mass shooting from this site: “Mass shootings” are defined by the authors of a report, who are from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University, as incidents where a gunman opens fire in a public place with the motivation of killing many, at least one of whom is “unrelated” to the gunman. This means the data does not include gang violence or crimes where shooting is a byproduct.

Summary from this reference:  As the FBI takes stock in its approach to dealing with mass shootings post-Newtown — something it has been instructed to do by Vice President Joe Biden — it is changing protocol for how to respond to the growing number of active shooter situations. Previously, police officers were instructed to wait for a SWAT team before apprehending active shooters. Now, the FBI is training police how to most effectively respond themselves.

The second piece is from here and is rather chilling:  The school in Newtown, CT (at Sandy Hook elementary school), the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, and the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, shows America’s angst over mass shootings in public places is growing, and for good reason. A key part of the report, also cited in the first example above, the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State follows:  “The rate at which these events occurred went from approximately one event every other month between 2000 and 2008 (5 per year) to more than one a month between 2009 and 2012 (almost 16 per year). Our tracking also indicates that this increased rate has continued into 2013.”  Other key findings from the 110 active-shooter attacks identified by researchers:

  1. Shooters are 94 percent male (the youngest was 13 and the oldest 88).
  2. The shooters often use handguns (59 percent of the time), followed by rifles (26 percent of the time), shotguns (8 percent), and unknown weapons (7 percent). In 33 percent of the cases, the gunman used multiple weapons. In 7 percent of the shootings the gunman wore body armor.
  3. The average median time for police to respond to these incidents (where data was available) is three minutes (quick, but ...).
  4. Despite the hurried police response time, the study found that almost half of the active shootings are over before officers arrive 
Hence the need for police to respond quickly even before SWAT or other quick rapid forces as mentioned by the FBI in reference one above.

Yet, so many Americans, blinded by their absolute loyalty to their guns and fear of government coming to take them away or control their access (which is not the case at all that I have ever seen) is troubling, too since it displaces common sense, let alone rational sense about stopping this insane violence.

More later, I am sure. Thanks for stopping by. I expect some comments on this post. The topic of guns is a sore point with the GOPs right flank following closely along side a woman's right to choose her own health care and birth control.

Stay tuned.

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