Active Shooter: Reducing the Threat

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families who have suffered loss in tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 



 Like so many parents, I remember walking my son and daughter to their first days of school, a place where they need to be safe.                              


Discussions now unfolding about gun control, video games or other aspects of American culture are important, but there is no certainty they will have an impact on this threat to our safety and security.  Even if we can all agree on the “right” approach (snowball’s chance in…), such changes would take years. 

 We can make our schools and gathering places safer today:

 1. Know How to Respond

  2. Help Keep our Schools Safe

 3. Stop the Copycat

News media is not necessarily focused on preparing viewers to prevent and respond to threats like active shooters.  It is not their business model nor is it their responsibility. 

They do, however, have a responsibility to talk about these events in a way that doesn’t feed the twisted fantasy of the next would-be shooter.  The names Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold became household names on April 20th, 1999 after they killed classmates, teachers and themselves at Columbine High School.

Research indicates and the FBI believes there is a “copycat” effect where dramatized events serve to inspire someone who may be contemplating acting violently.  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides guidance for reducing the copycat effect in suicides.  Many, but not all active shooters are suicidal.  Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide may help to reduce the copycat effect on all would-be shooters. 

Members of the media can do this successfully!  We can make a real difference here; 1) comment on articles, 2) write to editors, producers and publishers, and 3) stop circulating trashy or sensational coverage on Facebook or other social media.                             

I am responsible for Wells Fargo's emergency preparedness program including development of the company's Enterprise Incident Management Team, first used in response to September 11th. I work extensively on homeland security partnerships, founding the Minnesota Information Sharing and Analysis Center and recently serving as President of the InfraGard Minnesota Members Alliance. I am now serving as Chair of the Regional Consortium Coordinating Council. I also serve on the National Security Task Force of the US Chamber of Commerce. As a working group member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), I provided guidance regarding the critical infrastructure and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). This guidance became a part of a report on Cross Sector Interdependencies & Risk Assessment which was given to the President of the United States (see all NIAC contributions). In 25 years at Wells Fargo, I managed various programs including executive protection and robbery training. I also provided response and management for a wide range of events from a visit by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to an employee kidnapping, wildfires and hurricanes. As a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, I served in capacities ranging from Amphibious Assault to Military Police and in duty stations such as Norway, South Korea, Japan and the US. It was in North Carolina where I last served as a member of the Combat Replacement Battalion in a short activation for Operation Desert Storm. I am an avid cyclist (or addicted, depending on who you talk with), easily distracted by the latest tech gadget, constantly amazed at the privilege of being a father and a perpetually-novice husband.

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