Looking closely at these events helps us recognize what we can learn, and how we can apply these lessons moving forward to reduce the likelihood that another town must face this type of unimaginable loss.
On May 24, 2022, the town of Uvalde, Texas, suffered a major tragedy in the form of a mass shooting that took the life of 19 Robb Elementary students and two teachers. Yet, this loss has been felt worldwide as many people wonder how these incidents continue to happen. Looking closely at these events helps us recognize what we can learn, and how we can apply these lessons moving forward to reduce the likelihood that another town must face this type of unimaginable loss. Secondarily, it allows us to find a way to give our kids the ability to go to school without worrying that they may face violence that prevents them from returning home safely to their parents. So, what have we learned?
Mass Shooting Incidents Require Immediate Engagement by Law Enforcement
Generally, when responding to a call involving a suspect with a gun, law enforcement approaches with caution. A specialized team such as SWAT is often mobilized, sometimes contacting the suspect in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful surrender. The one exception to this protocol is when there is an active shooter. We have learned that as soon as law enforcement or other counter aggressor engages the assailant, the assailant will turn their attention away from innocents. Because of this, modern training mandates that officers engage the suspect immediately using a process called rapid deployment. Rapid deployment involves law enforcement heading directly toward the sound of the shots, many times in teams of two or four, to stop the shooter as quickly as possible. There is no waiting. There is no mobilizing a special team. There is only moving as fast as they can toward the situation to stop the threat and save lives. This is where the Uvalde response fell short.
According to a timeline provided by The Texas Tribune, the first 911 call was made at 11:28 am, when the shooter crashed his vehicle and took shots at two witnesses who attempted to approach the accident scene. A second call was made by a teacher, informing dispatch that a person with a gun was on school grounds. An officer arrived one minute after the second call but mistakes a teacher for the gunman. At 11:33, the gunman enters the school, firing at least 100 rounds in the process. Uvalde police enter the school at 11:35 am, retreating after facing gunfire that caused grazing wounds—which the FBI reports occur in one-third of active shooter incidents. The suspect continues to fire his gun and, although other officers entered the school, after hearing more gunfire, they retreated at 11:44 am. At 12:50 pm, 1 hour and 22 minutes after the incident started, a border patrol officer breaches the room the suspect is in and kills the shooter.
The one question many have is how many lives would have been saved if the classroom had been immediately breached, which has been the law enforcement protocol since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, with a goal to minimize the loss of life during these events. If Uvalde has taught us anything, it is that we must ensure that all law enforcement personnel are trained in rapid deployment. They must also regularly train for these events so every officer knows how to respond quickly and swiftly to active shooter incidents.
The Importance of Civilian Active Shooter Survival Training
Another lesson we can take from Uvalde is how important it is for everyone to be trained in active shooter survival. While the hope is that law enforcement will respond to this type of event swiftly, as we’ve learned, people cannot solely rely on this to occur. Additionally, taking certain steps in the first few moments of an active shooter incident can make a difference in the number of lives lost.
Active shooter survival training provides civilians with the steps they can take in a mass shooting incident. For instance, NC Protection Group has the resources to guide you through Active Shooter Survival Training teaches that this response involves:
• Assessing the situation
• Leaving, if possible
• Impeding the suspect
• Violence, if necessary
• Exposing you position to law enforcement safely once they have arrived
Training for these incidents is as critical as training for a tornado, fire, or other major event. It teaches the steps you can take if confronted with an active shooter so you can give yourself and those around you the best chances of survival possible. In a perfect world, the police would instantly respond at the first sign of trouble, preventing bad actors from inflicting any harm. But the world we live in is far from perfect, requiring each of us to take action to protect ourselves, our families, and others around us. Active shooter survival training is a good first step in this process. It not only helps to save lives but also shows our children that we are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to give them a greater sense of peace in a world that all too often forces us to face evil in the form of an active shooter.
Speak with an Experianced, Licensed Security Officer at the North Carolina Protection Group today (919) 886-6274