A Tragic Turn of Events
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Jun 01, 2021
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.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.