Active Shooter Prevention – Social Solutions

February 22, 2018

With the increasing volume of workplace shootings, and the latest tragedy at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland FL, the search for solutions to this ongoing problem is driving many debates as to what the causes might be. The below link provides yet another perspective for schools. It addresses the confusing, but necessary, consideration of discrete communication during emerging, red-flag conditions. That communication is between school administrations, law enforcement, and mental health professionals – even other schools. “You’ve Suspended a Potential Aggressor…Now What?”

Threat assessment teams, information sharing, community partnerships and automated tools help colleges manage at-risk individuals both on and off campus. As with other forms of workplace or criminal violence, there is no one magic solution to preventing an active shooter incident. What causes a person to become an active shooter and indiscriminately take the lives of random innocent targets? That is why I have, in the past, called this society’s challenge. Is the solution better gun control, improved mental health, law enforcement cooperation, enhanced school security, more parental and student involvement, or better follow-up with school administration? The list goes on, and everyone has an agenda to push.

I believe reducing these occurrences involves significant progress in all of these areas.

police caution tape Gun Control

The gun control debate has to find an actionable middle ground. Gun enthusiast organizations would allow everyone to possess high capacity assault weapons (such as the AR 15 used in Parkland). Does the average civilian need a full or semi-automatic high capacity weapon(s) for self-defense? Meanwhile, liberal, anti-gun proponents would take all guns away from everyone. However, should citizens be able to purchase and license a handgun or shotgun for personal or home defense with adequate and required annual training and shooting practice? Politically, we must find a happy medium on this issue.

Mental Health

Do mental healthcare professionals owe it to their communities to work with law enforcement when a patient’s behavior displays an apparent propensity towards violence? Perhaps police involvement will have some dissuasive effect on the person. At least the police could begin a case file and start having a conversation with the individual. Law enforcement must not let reports fall on deaf ears. The investigation continues as to whether the FBI failed in its duty to effectively follow up on tips related to Cruz.

Home and Family Values

The old-fashioned way of learning right from wrong. Do we remember what they even are? Technology is wonderful and powerful until children lose their social skills to talk to each other, parents, or to school administrators, in order to get in front of their problems. Students interviewed after the Parkland shooting said they knew whom it was going to be. Why didn’t that fact get someone’s attention before the incident?

Security Cameras Violence

Misguided, ‘problem’ children become adults with adult problems. Lacking coping skills with values, they look for someone to ‘text an answer to them’, or they escape to act out fantasy solutions, like in the games they play. Should the video game industry take a careful look at the games they create and perhaps have stricter regulations regarding the production and release of games in which killing and extreme violence is rewarded? It can contribute to the devaluing of life, the de-sensitization of violence and death, and the blurring of the lines between lawful social conduct and fantasy.


Do we have to rethink school security? We may need a new standard and perhaps require law enforcement presence in all schools. No school is immune from violence, or in a safe neighborhood.

As more and more of the types of events occur, it is up to us to create a more prepared society. One that reduces these incidents through proactiveness whenever possible and using whatever means we have in our communities.

Check out AFIMAC’s active shooter video at It offers some real-world active shooter survival tips for individuals and workplace violence prevention advice for organizations.
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