Mass shootings have become a recurring tragedy in America. The frequency has increased significantly in recent years; estimates suggest more than 250 mass shootings in the United States in 2021 alone. The shootings have taken place in various settings, resulting in the death of hundreds of innocent lives. The reasons behind the shootings are complex and multifaceted, with factors such as mental illness, access to firearms, and societal issues like racism and hate crimes all playing a role. But, more importantly, there is an issue of heart in every corner of America.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 611 mass shootings in the United States in 2020, resulting in 513 deaths and 2,543 injuries. The FBI defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are shot, not including the shooter. Using this data, we know there were 417 mass shootings in the United States in 2019.
Every school shooter has different motivations, but they share common motives like revenge, a desire for dominance, and aspirations of notoriety. Multiple factors, such as social media, bullying, the degradation of society, broken family homes, and controversial ideological beliefs, influence this epidemic. Statistics have shown that 34% of attackers were motivated by attempts to solve a problem. Additionally, 61% were motivated by a desire for revenge. Additionally, 75% of attackers felt threatened or persecuted by others. These motivations are linked to societal issues like racism, fear of intimidation, and hate crimes.
In many cases, attackers exhibit an interest in violence in their writings, poems, essays, and social media posts. In addition, almost all of the attacks were planned in advance; law enforcement assessed that 93% of attackers engaged in behavior before the attack that caused others to be concerned (trigger events). It is also important to note that most mass shooters in the United States are aged 20-49 and male, with only a few female shooters.
Statistics show that 68% of attackers acquire weapons from their homes or a relative. Access to firearms is a significant factor in mass shootings, as the availability makes it easier for individuals to carry out these attacks. Despite the efforts of lawmakers and advocates for gun control, mass shootings continue to occur, leaving many Americans feeling helpless and vulnerable. The impacts of these incidents extend far beyond the immediate victims and their families, with communities nationwide feeling the effects of this ongoing crisis.
The North Group (TNG) has been working on preventing mass shootings for the last six years. TNG has learned that preventing mass shootings requires a multifaceted risk management approach that addresses social, cultural, and psychological factors through a widely used behavioral threat management assessment process, risk management tools and practices, and security operations functions. While security companies nationally can play a significant role in mitigating the risks associated with mass shootings, they cannot solve the problem alone. Preventing these heinous acts of violence is much broader and more encompassing. Security solutions are a start from a risk management standpoint, but understanding mental health is just as important. It takes a village to raise a child; if a child doesn’t feel part of that village or the warmth of that community, they are more likely to burn it down. This is why knowing what to look for in someone’s behavior is critical.
The much larger conversation around prevention begins and ends with training communities, public and private partnerships with law enforcement, behavioral threat management and assessments, mental health access without discrimination, designated funding from lawmakers, further advancement of laws, and criminal prosecution surrounding prior knowledge of an attack. While the security industry does not have control over all of these issues, here’s what we can do to help curb mass shootings.
- Risk assessments: Conduct comprehensive risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities and potential threats to public safety. These assessments should involve an analysis of the physical environment, the type of event, the expected number of attendees, and other relevant factors.
- Training: Training your organization’s employees, volunteers, and leaders to respond to an active shooter. The training should include information on recognizing the signs of potential violence, identifying potential weapons, and evacuating or locking down a facility.
- Access control: Implement access control measures such as metal detectors, swipe cards, and bag checks.
- Emergency response planning: Work with organizations and local law enforcement to develop emergency response plans in an active shooter situation. The plans should include procedures for evacuations, communicating with law enforcement, and providing medical assistance.
- Technology: Organizations must leverage video surveillance, gunshot detection systems, and alarm systems to enhance the ability to detect and respond to potential threats.
We can all agree that mass shootings have become a devastating and all too common occurrence in America. The North Group is trying to do its part in the prevention space. Please feel free to reach out if you need help securing your organization. We are a global risk management company based in Milford, Michigan. You can contact us 24/7 at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-844-750-9222. For more articles like this, visit our blog section.