Multiple View-Points, One Reality
In the wake of the media driven hysteria, pundits are calling for everything from repealing the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights to transforming schools into an armed camp.
There are several perspectives on the School Lock Down Policy. There is the law enforcement, the School Administration, the Union’s, Politicians, and Media.
All view the heinous act of coping with an active shooter in a school facility full of students, be they elementary or college age from their particular vantage points.
All of these points have been covered exhaustively. Describing the law enforcement need to respond quickly and cull students from the perpetrators. School Administrator’s have to balance a safe environment conducive to learning and safety. The Unions look at it as a collective bargaining chip, while the media wants to sell their advertising space with as much sensationalism to attract their consumers.
From a Counter-terrorist perspective, let’s examine this from the one vantage point that has not been discussed; the perspective of the terrorists’ planner or miscreant perpetrator of this stripe.
Case study: September 27, 2006 Platte Canyon High School, Bailey, Colorado
”Mid-morning on a Monday in Park County, a 53-year-old drifter named Duane Morrison took up surveillance of the Platte Canyon High School from his Jeep in the school parking lot.
After he saw the uniformed SRO leave the school, Morrison entered the school shouting that he had “enough C-4 to level the building,” he fired a warning shot into the wall, then ordered the teacher and all male students out of the room. He handpicked seven girls to keep as hostages then released the rest.
A 911 call reached the SO at 1141 hours. The staff was “following lock-down procedures as trained,” she reported. Wegener himself, who was in Bailey at the time, arrived within three minutes. His son was a student in a classroom on the first floor, directly below the suspect’s location.
By 1145, five deputies armed with ARs had established containment on the stricken English room. The suspect had locked the door from the inside and had turned off the lights.
The school was evacuated in four hours, ambulances and fire equipment were staged nearby, traffic in the area was shut down, experienced SWAT operators, negotiators, and bomb techs from the metro Denver area arrived to supplement Sheriff Wegener’s deputies — all without a hitch.
Morrison was sexually assaulting the girls behind a TV stand through all this. A series of would-be negotiators proved unable to establish meaningful dialog with him. He refused to provide his name, his motives, or any demands.” [Police report excerpt]
From the Law Enforcement perspective, their plans of Lock-Downs and rapid deployment of resources to surround the facility, in a relatively urban area went according to plan. However, so did the plan of this rapist/kidnapper.
“Following Lock Down Procedures As Trained”
In this case study, the school lock-down policy enabled the sexual assault of seven teen age girls for over four hours.
The greatest threat to students undermining their security is the denial by Administrator’s that the school lock down policy enables the most heinous crimes to be conducted by a determined hostage taker, killer or terrorist team.
Let’s play the role of a terrorist group planning an assault on a soft target that would generate world wide media attention. An American school filled with elementary school children. They know that the School Lock Down policy would lock all of the inhabitants of the building inside with them.
They would now have upwards to 600 teachers and students following their programmed response to lock their doors, sit and wait quietly, until help arrives and hope the terrorists pass them by.
Terrorist Planners Will Exploit the Lock Down Policy
In this model, a planner could take over a building with a large number of hostages, already being controlled and supervised for them by the adults, pretty much with the terrorists doing nothing except making their presence known in the facility.
Next, the place will be surrounded by media and law enforcement. All they would have to do next is tell them all entries and certain vehicles are wired with explosives.
They will make no attempts to breach them according to published protocols. Now, within literally minutes, the terrorists will have hostages in hand and police resources converging on them from all directions.
I do not want to suggest what would happen if they deployed several terrorists teams to other surrounding schools simultaneously around the same County for instance. So just imagine the pandemonium.
Enclosing victims in a facility, where there is an active shooter, or invasion by a trained terrorist team is counter-intuitive, when every natural instincts a human being has is to escape and evade such a scenario.
When a gaggle of ducks is fired upon, they do not group up and lock down under a bush, they scatter and fly away. Telling educated adults behave in a way contrary to what even a duck would instinctively do to survive when it is being hunted, seems rather absurd.
Fire Drills and Fired Upon Drills
Now that we have made a good case against the Lock Down policy being a one size fits all solution to a seriously dangerous situation, the proper response needs to be discussed.
First let’s agree that the current form of lock down policy and their protocols invite disaster. Next, that evil exists everywhere and can appear anytime. Anticipation of it is best done by resignation to the fact that all that can be done is be prepared for it with the resources you have. The most valuable of these is quick thinking and practicing a customized plan of escape and evasion.
The details of which are precluded from the space required to cover it here except in summation. Resolve to escape and evade. Fight back when you must. Get out as fast as you can. Institutions can hire experts in my arena with a concentration on ‘target hardening’.
Counter-measures and readiness go hand in hand. Concealed Carry Permits, CCTV cameras, magnetic door locks and even mini flash bang smoke grenades on the premises, in case of this type of situation will be as much a life saving piece of equipment as a fire extinguisher mounted on a wall.
The critics will scoff at such forward thinking suggestions because their benign policy ideas enabled the rape of teen girls for hours and the massacre that occurred in Newtown, Ct. at the hands of miscreants. From the terrorist planner perspective, policy makers like this make their job so much easier. All I suggest here is to just, think about it.