How often should we know about silly butchers through working environment shootings occurring on an army base, school or your place of employment before positive, absolute steps are taken to turn them away them?
Politics aside, there’s so much wringing of the hands and incredulity when these tragedies take place. Much discussion has been made that each mass shooting perpetrator in recent memory has had serious mental issues or religious fanaticism as their backdrop. There’s violent agreement among most that the nation’s mental health care system is beyond broken. Of significantly less prominent public discussion (but not lost at all to those of us who work on military installations) is the fact that each shooter has typically chosen a target-rich environment, with most of their victims (in the case of those on mil installations) hamstrung or prevented outright from the carrying of firearms. Each installation/facility/command should have the ability to select 4-5 (numbers should vary with size of command/building) highly screened individuals who, after thorough background check, screening, and psych eval are authorized to carry a concealed weapon at work.
Identity of these individuals should remain unknown to other command members. But, in future instances of a shooting rampage on a federal installation, is it not worth the cost/risk involved of armed personnel in your building if DOZENS of lives can be spared the next time someone with mental issues decides to play zombie killer in your building? Doesn’t it stand to reason that most shooters would give more pauses to their chosen location if they didn’t at least contemplate that their efforts to kill dozens were thwarted or stopped far short of their desired kill count because a capable officemate stood ready to respond, ONSCENE, at the first indication of an active shooter?
TSA’s Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service has figured this problem out in the wake of the 9/11 attacks of 2001. Several thousand officers are in their program, which costs $20 million/year to run, including the week of training, firearms/equipment, ammunition, recurrent training and administration. Theirs is a relatively inexpensive program, because the officers are all volunteers and do the training on their own time.
I’ve got to believe that there are amply qualified and stable personnel willing to serve as crisis responders in virtually every federal building. I would gladly volunteer. Taking the positive steps to create and implement such a program on DoD installations/facilities would certainly afford better protection and chance of survival than the current “grab the nearest chair or hide under your desk until help arrives” instruction that we so often receive.
Fixing this problem (at least as far as federal or military installations goes) involves wrangling in the political quagmire of the gun control debate as well as running the gauntlet of access to medical records (the whole HIPAA/Privacy Act debate). But are you going to care about gun control or HIPAA laws if Mr. or Ms. X guns down a deranged assailant before they are able to take down your wife or husband in their place of employment?
The proper regulations and control measures in place would greatly curb or eliminate these tragic events from taking place again. I would argue that research, implementation, and management of a controlled program for concealed carry employees onboard federal installations is much more efficacious and easier to implement than either 1) controlling the sale of any firearms (based on magazine capacity, lethality, or any other parameter) or 2) denying access to firearms for the mentally unstable will be.
Were you aware that In the Army, any field grade officer or GS-12 civilian can authorize subordinates to carry service weapons in the workplace to “protect DOD assets and personnel”? The authority is AR 190-14, Chapter 2.
Do you know of any on-post shootings that are linked to PTSD?
The two high profile events that I am tracking are the FT Hood attack, by a terrorist that had not been deployed, and the Washington Navy Yard attack, by a delusional former service member that never deployed. So why target veterans?