A mass shooting tragedy over the weekend in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. – 50 dead and 53 wounded –highlights the random nature of violence even as it points to a number of issues for discussion in the security community.
Early Sunday morning, Omar Mateen entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and opened fire with an assault rifle and a pistol. Three hours later, during which the 29-year-old Mateen held hostages and called 911 to declare his allegiance to the Islamic State, he died in a shootout with police. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Here are some aspects of the shooting that will be driving conversations among the security community in the coming days and weeks.
How To Protect Soft Targets
Protecting public places is a tradeoff between implementing extreme security measures and encroaching on individual freedom of movement. Would metal detectors, for example, help avoid such calamities? After a shooting at a movie theater in 2012, high costs were cited as an argument against the measures – the equipment costs about $2,500, and it would cost thousands more to implement a proper checkpoint. How many businesses are likely to go such a route? How might the calculus change in the wake of the most recent tragedy?
How To Respond To An Active Shooter
More organizations will be looking to perform active shooter drills; in effect, to prepare themselves for such an eventuality.
More And Better Background Checks For Security Officers
Security officers have historically struggled with perception problems (such as a stereotype as “mall cops”), and the Orlando shooter’s job as an armed security guard at G4S, working at a South Florida residential community, will likely contribute to negative perceptions, at a minimum. The situation could also prompt a more serious reevaluation of how security officers are vetted.
Mateen was subject to a detailed company screening when he was recruited in 2007 and re-screened in 2013 with no adverse findings, according to G4S. He was also subject to checks by a U.S. law enforcement agency with no findings reported to G4S (although he was reportedly on the FBI’s “radar,” according to press reports.) The unanswered question is: How did it happen? G4S says they are providing their full support to all law enforcement authorities as they conduct their investigations. Encouraging more professionalism among security staff is an ongoing concern.
A Lingering Shadow Of Tragedy At ASIS International 2016
After 9/11, there was a greater sense of purpose just days later when ASIS International held its annual Seminar and Exhibits. The show this year will be in Orlando – and it’s likely the recent tragedy will inform much of what is discussed at the show. Undoubtedly, security professionals will be looking for new and better ways to keep such tragedies from happening in the future.