Sutherland Springs, Tx Shooting Nov 5, 2017
New York Terrorist Attack Oct 31, 2017
Las Vegas Shooting Oct 01, 2017
It's Time to Change Our Approach to Security
I'm sitting here watching the news about this tragic shooting in Texas with a stunned stare on my face, in shock, and trying to wrap my head around it. I'm sure I am doing what every person watching it is doing... scrambling for an answer, and more importantly, a solution to prevent something like this from ever happening again.
This shooting is the latest of many tragic events and this shooting in particular makes me realize that that we no longer live in the America that we once enjoyed not too long ago. We can debate the reasons, cause and effect, but regardless, the fact remains that we can no longer approach daily life in America the same way we once did. Anyone that is serious about truly effective solutions and willing to set aside politics or ideology would readily admit that we must take an entirely different approach to safety and security. What we’ve been doing clearly isn’t working.
If you're keeping up with the events of the shooting at the church in Texas, then you know an armed citizen engaged the shooter with a personal rifle and ultimately stopped this shooter's rampage. How many more would have died if this person wasn't there or didn't have a firearm? How many more would have died if everyone had to wait for police to arrive on scene, or if the shooter had been allowed to leave and continue killing somewhere else? How many more would have lived if every adult there was trained to use and had a firearm? How many more would have lived if every person there was trained to treat trauma related injuries?
It is time for all of us to wake up to the fact that we no longer live in an America where we can afford for ‘Hope and 911’ to be our planned response to an active threat or life-threatening emergencies. We’ve had enough of these events that at this point it is a dereliction of responsibility to hope that we can call 911 at all, to hope that police will be there in time, to hope that EMS will get there in time and still further hope they can get the injured to a hospital in time.
I currently work for a government agency where I teach security to government employees and contractors going overseas and the main point that I try to beat into them is that their security is an individual responsibility. I train them to understand that when something bad happens, their organization will not likely be there to save them and they must take care of themselves AND others, at least until they can get to safety or help can get to them.
As a society we need to come to the realization that this is exactly where we are in America today. If we really want to prevent, mitigate, and deter threats in this day and age, we have to have a revival of self-reliance. When there is an active threat causing mass casualties the only thing that is going to save lives is the trained application of on the spot kinetic energy, via bullets or bandages. That’s it! That is the ONLY thing that will stop a murderer and save lives! A phone call isn’t going to do it. Your gun at home in the closet isn’t going to do it. The ambulance 4 minutes away when your injured loved ones only have 3 minutes to live isn’t going to do it!
Folks… I hate to tell you this, but the police cannot and will not get to you in time! EMS cannot and will not get to you in time! Most importantly… When there is an active threat present, there isn’t a politician in the world or a single policy from any political party that will save you! Once you accept this undeniable truth, there is only one solution that would actually save lives in almost every mass casualty incident: having the ability to stop the threat and treat the injured right there in that exact moment!
We must start looking at our ability to defend ourselves and our ability to treat traumatic injuries as a personal responsibility. Hope doesn’t stop homicidal maniacs from killing or stop the injured from bleeding to death. And even though we have the very best emergency responders in the world, as dedicated as our men and women working as Law Enforcement and EMS are, there isn’t enough of them, they can’t be everywhere at once, and they can’t travel at the speed of light.
Whether we’re talking about a terrorist killing people in a truck rented from Home Depot, a depraved racist shooting people at a church in Charleston, or someone walking past a ‘Gun Free Zone’ sign and shooting children in a school, the one commonality is that these attacks occur at places that are perceived as “Soft Targets”. After all these attacks, why are there still Soft Targets? Why aren’t we training and arming teachers and volunteer security teams at churches? I know some people find this proposal horrific, but I find the reality of undefended churches and schools full of dead people to be much worse. Sometimes the only real solution is an ugly reality.
Even if we’re not ready to accept that we need to have armed guards as a threat deterrent at gathering places, it is past the time to accept that we individually and/or at the organization level (churches, schools, and workplaces) should have a plan in place to react to threats and be able to treat life threatening wounds and sustain life until help arrives. Take these mass attacks out of the equation for minute… how many crimes would be prevented and how many lives would be saved every year if every law-abiding citizen was highly trained in the use of a firearm and traumatic casualty care? Forget about criminal threats all together for minute… how many people that have died from vehicle accidents, workplace mishaps, and other trauma related injuries would still be around if it was a societal norm to always carry a tourniquet and know how to treat traumatic injuries?
Whenever a mass casualty attack occurs, the one thing everyone wants is a trained responder to be there as quick as possible. Why have we not come to realize that the quickest way that we can get a trained responder there on scene is to already have one there! The best way to ensure you always have a trained responder with you at all times is to BE ONE! Why does this very simple concept seem to escape us every time?
A recent and perfect example of this concept being effective in saving lives is the shooting in Las Vegas. There were hundreds of off duty military and law enforcement there on the scene and they are credited for saving many lives by assisting others to react properly and by providing basic life-saving medical assistance. Again... if everyone attending that concert had the same 1-2 days of training that most military and law enforcement have for treating trauma related injuries, how many more would have survived?
There are people that would have you believe that being more reliant on government to save you is the answer. They would have you believe that if you give up your ability to protect yourself it will somehow make you and society safer. Government can’t help you. Government, with all its good intentions couldn’t stop Las Vegas, couldn’t stop the church shooting in Texas, couldn’t provide immediate on the spot medical care to those hit by a truck in New York. The only thing that stops active threats and saves lives are willing people with the proper training and equipment. The truth that many don’t want you to know is that neither the required skills or equipment to stop, prevent, mitigate, or deter active threats or life-threatening injuries using bandages or bullets is beyond the average law-abiding adult. It just requires training and the will to act. Which are you lacking?
Stay Armed, Stay Ready!
-Survival IS Paramount
Gary Melton is a former U.S. Army Special Forces Weapons Sergeant and Sniper Team Leader with 4 combat tours. He has worked full time for the last 7 years as a Senior Special Tactics Instructor for a federal agency and is the Owner and Lead Instructor for Paramount Tactical Solutions.