INDUSTRY FOCUS

A Tragic Turn of Events

No doubt that 2020 will have proven to be one of the oddest years, perhaps in our lifetime. COVID-19 has forced all of us to rethink how to successfully do our jobs. By all counts, the rebound into 2021 have shown good results, except for domestic terrorism.

Mass shootings have spiraled out of control, and one has to wonder what additional security measures could have, should have been implemented to preserve lives. Mass shootings are rising, but make up a tiny fraction of American gun deaths. They are, however, incidents that grab the headlines.

Gun violence has not ended because businesses and schools closed the front doors. It just seemed to turn away from public view. It came roaring back in March, in Atlanta, when a series of mass shootings occurred at three spas in the Metro area. Eight people were killed. This also proved to open the flood gates of what I would consider domestic terrorism.

In the first seven weeks of this year, there have been 63 mass shootings — defined as four or more people injured or killed in one incident. These numbers are crippling, and whether or not this is a side effect of the pandemic is of little consequence.

Charlie Howell, principal at Howell Design Group, said a true secured entry provides a ballistic, vandal-proof public interaction area, separate from the mass of people working in the private space beyond.

“What we do is determine different types of spaces that will be used for that organization. Conceptually we call these Public, Semi Public and Private. We put the ballistic barriers between public and private. In layouts where there is a semipublic we have to case-by-case it to determine the proper barriers.”

In March, a gunman open fire at a grocery store in Boulder, CO. A grocery store cannot lock its front doors, but security measures are needed to prevent a gunman from entering. Ten people died.

On April 15, eight people at an Indianapolis FedEx warehouse were killed, several wounded, by a former employee. I hope security measures were in place, but a quick review would be needed now to better protect workers going forward.

“The second measure is we have to either put the reception staff behind the ballistic barriers or we have to design a desk that can double as an escape pod with a ballistic chamber under the desk,” Howell said. “The third item is training the reception staff to hit the panic button, which we then program to lockdown the facility, alert the response force and change permissions on card access credentials.”

This article originally appeared in the May June 2021 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

  • Securing Entertainment Venues Securing Entertainment Venues

    One thing entertainment venues, sports stadiums and theme park officials want to accomplish is getting people back into their seats. That is happening today—but not without understanding and technology. In this episode, AJ DeRosa shares his insight on how COVID-impacted businesses are able to face safety and security issues with confidence and technology. We also discuss visitor expectations and how venue officials can ensure their space is secure as they welcome visitors back.

Digital Edition

  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Infrastructure Solutions Group
  • Spaces4Learning
  • Campus Security & Life Safety