We’re taking a break from everything, except for what’s been on the mind of everyone for over a week.
The horrible tragedy that saw the lives of children and adults taken by an 18-year old killer in Uvalde,Texas.
You’ve seen so much, heard so much, and read so much.
You won’t read more of the same here.
We’re going deeper.
This is not about re-hashing and speculation.
It’s about facts, and looking forward.
I have no idea whether the passing of gun laws will eliminate mass shootings.
If a would-be gunman really is intent on obtaining a weapon, maybe he can.
I have no idea whether we can prevent an evil person from going on a murderous rampage.
I talked to someone who deals in mental health, and he has doubts whether that’s actually possible.
But I do feel that the security of schools, churches, and any public target, and the coordination with law enforcement CAN be achieved.
I feel this way, because I talked with someone who deals with that very thing. The prevention of what we’ve lived through far too often.
In speaking with the health expert, he presented a profile of the kind of individual who might possess those demons which could eventually result, at some point, in committing a crime of horrific proportions.
It starts with an anti-social personality disorder. It begins at childhood. Some of the warning signs might be a penchant for torturing pets or other animals. It’s been known that bullying, getting picked on, not being accepted by others, could be a trigger.
The child becomes a loner.
He moves on to other outlets. That’s where social media has become a negative force for those who are vulnerable.
They can be drawn to walk down dangerous avenues.
It is no secret that boys and girls can be induced to doing things on social media which can turn into blackmail.
There are threats made, and in some cases the victims resort to suicide.
There is no question, our expert says, that cyber-bullying on social media has had an impact.
Maybe 90% have not told their parents. You can figure out where this can lead.
One point cannot be underscored enough, is that diagnosing mental health issues cannot automatically conjure up a person becoming a mass murderer.
The treatment of mental health problems and the serious warning signs of someone looking to commit a criminal act are two different things.
Our expert realistically feels we won’t ever rid ourselves of loners who keep to themselves and hatch out plans of the kind we’ve seen.
What we’ve outlined thus far, is a broad brush of what the seeds may be inside someone intent on doing serious harm.
And in my talk with him, he kept saying, “how did the shooter get access to the school?”
That brings us to what I feel is the issue that can come the closest to preventing the tragedies we’ve seen.
John Petrone is the Senior Managing Director of Petrone Risk, an emergency preparedness firm.
John Petrone, Senior Managing Director of Petrone Risk
They deal with large entertainment facilities, along with scores of teams in the NFL, NBA, and MLB, and college football stadiums, working on all aspects of safety. It’s all about being prepared for any eventuality.
Preparedness is a big word.
And there is so much more to it than hopefully making right decisions after danger arises.
According to John Petrone it’s about establishing plans, training everyone who works at a facility, and coordinating with police.
We can talk specifically about a school, since that was the latest venue in the news, but it really applies to all facilities.
First comes the plan itself.
It involves everyone who works there. Teachers, janitors, administrators, name it.
It is an educational process educating people on what COULD happen.
Establishing who is in control.
Talking it out.
Then, the establishment of a Standard Operating Procedure.
If classes begin at 8am, and end at 4pm, all doors are closed.
When do deliveries occur?
What times of the day?
What is the name of the delivery man?
Identification required for everyone.
Now comes the key to it all.
It’s called internal table-top exercises.
It’s the actual test of the emergency plan and the Standard Operating Procedure.
It’s really a rehearsal. Just in case.
And there are questions. But no wrong answers. Wrong answers are actually good, since they lead to clarifying and emphasizing the key elements.
What is working? What needs to be changed?
And the entire operation needs to be repeated a couple times a year.
There are new personnel, new people who have business at a school, there are changes. Things change.
Then, the critical full-scale table-top exercise.
Everyone, including the police, fire department, FBI, DHS, local hospitals, become involved.
A true dress rehearsal.
The idea is to create relationships.
Relationships between school personnel and law enforcement.
Trust and comfort.
So when there is an incident developing, EVERYONE knows what to do. No guesswork.
There are people in charge and they make the decisions. There is a chain of command.
The basis of emergency preparedness is setting up a plan.
Adjusting that plan, if need be.
Going over that plan continually.
Keeping those relationships intact.
Remember, a potential mass murderer has been planning on his own.
He’s aware of the school’s schedule, what doors might be open, how he approaches the facility.
All he has to do is plan to do one thing, the school has to prepare for so many more events.
The fact that an incident takes place in a small town is irrelevant.
Think about it, most of these shooting do.
The horrific story of Uvalde has revealed a lack of preparedness, confusion, and indecision.
John Petrone insists, that if there is a plan, involving intense detail, adequate training, real dress rehearsals, updates of personnel, and perhaps most of all relationships with those on the inside and law enforcement on the outside, real advances can be made to possibly eliminate mass murders.
Air-tight, smart security, may be the best plan to realistically get it done.