by Stevan P. Layne, CPP, CIPM, CIPI
The latest in shooting events, one in a public shopping mall, the other in a busy airport terminal confirm what is unfortunately a sign of the times, and probably a sign of things to come. One of these acts was committed by a disturbed individual with known drug problems. The other with a grudge against a government agency. Neither predictable. Both however, may have been preventable.
Most of our businesses and public institutions do not recognize the daily threat from misguided, mentally disturbed, or substance influenced individuals with easy access to dangerous weapons. Gun control isnotthe answer. Putting more guns in the hands of private security, or even putting more police on the ground is not necessarily the answer. Security awareness, immediate reporting, and immediate response all contribute to the possibility of reducing or preventing similar attacks.
Workers need to be advised about recognizing the signs of mental illness, depression, or substance abuse. Management needs to be prepared to confront employees with potential problems and get them the help they need. When necessary, problem employees need to be removed from the property and restricted from returning. We can’t stop every threat, in every case. We can do more to prevent potential threats before they become a reality.