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Mass Shootings in California

Actually, mass shootings “everywhere!”

Hardly a week goes by that there isn’t a mass shooting someplace in the United States. I won’t assign blame and examine the causes here other than to say, as a former infantry officer and someone who loves the “smell” of being on a range and shooting a weapon, no one needs an assault weapon to protect their home. If it is a potential civil war you are worried about, then you need to “up armor” and find yourself an M1 Abrams tank for sale.

My real purpose in writing is to put an exclamation point on the fact that these mass shootings are happening everywhere, and wherever you are, there is a threat of a mass shooting occurring in your community. Urban, suburban, small city, large city, rural ... they are happening in schools, shopping centers, stores, workplaces, dance halls ... on the street, wherever there is a disgruntled worker or someone angry about other people and how they choose to live or express their means of worship.

Besides listing mass shootings as a potential hazard, which I’ve already written about earlier this year, you need to do a bit of planning. Convene a planning group made up of community member representatives, and at a minimum brainstorm all the different actions that will be needed in the aftermath of a shooting. After all, our mission is “consequence management” in coordinating a response and recovery after a shooting has occurred.

It can be a long list:

  • Fire
  • Law enforcement (multiple agencies)
  • Emergency medical services
  • Hospital
  • American Red Cross
  • Blood bank
  • Schools
  • Crisis mental health professionals
  • Search and rescue
  • Food services
  • Churches
  • Amateur radio services
  • Local media
This basic list of people will help identify others who might have a role in a mass shooting response. Specifically look at roles and responsibilities. That will help in lessening potential jurisdictional or functional role conflicts at the time of the incident.

Then, you should document what you came up with in some form of document, be it a checklist or an actual plan. Finally, a tabletop exercise down the road a bit will help in flushing out other issues you have not considered and bringing more people and organizations to the table.

A mass shooting has become an event about which no one can say, “It won’t happen here,” which should aid in getting people to the planning table.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.