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By Juliette Kayyem, CNN National Security Analyst

The attacks in Paris were purposefully targeted to impact a city where people go to eat, drink, watch sports and listen to music. These were no military targets, embassies, mass transit systems, hotels holding foreign officials or government buildings.

Instead, restaurants, a sporting arena and a concert hall were chosen because they represent the very benefits of urban life and the vulnerabilities of a crowded space. The Paris tragedy is of such consequence because it was an attack focused on the young, the social, the future: the very heart of every city.

If this is the wave of the future, then every city is inherently vulnerable. What makes them vital — their very openness — also puts residents at risk. For public safety officials, what to do about threats in a city is a constant balance between the risk and the reward. And it is in this context that the decision for an indeterminate lockdown must be considered.

Soldiers stand guard in front of the Brussels Central Train Station on Sunday as the Belgian capital remained on the highest security alert level over fears of a Paris-style attack.     

Soldiers stand guard in front of the Brussels Central Train Station on Sunday as the Belgian capital remained on the highest security alert level over fears of a Paris-style attack.

This weekend in Belgium, in response to specific and presumably credible intelligence in the hunt for the Paris terrorists, Brussels went into lockdown. The decision has now been made by the Prime Minister to extend the lockdown through Monday, a work and school day, at the very least. The economic and psychological impact are immeasurable.

Belgium is in the midst of a counterterrorism mission, and we must rely on its good-faith efforts to protect the population and thwart the next attack. But Belgian leaders’ decisions expose a major challenge in security efforts and one that needs to be prioritized for a future when most cities are likely to have to respond to threats of terror: How do you close down an entire city?

Terror alert raised to maximum in Brussels

Terror alert raised to maximum in Brussels 01:25

Given mobility of people and mass transit systems, cities can find it impossible to try to limit the impact — or what we in disaster management call the cascading consequences — of a shutdown.

Mass transit systems are a perfect example.

During the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent chase of the Tsarnaev brothers, city and state public safety officials believed it was important to shut down areas of Boston as they pursued Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. What they found, however, was that the system of mass transit was so intertwined — buses leading to trains, and vice versa — that to close down a single part of it was impossible. It was all or nothing. And they chose all, closing Boston and surrounding suburbs for a day.

Why planes remain a terrorist target

Why planes remain a terrorist target (Opinion)

This will be true for most cities.

Therefore, emergency response planners should begin to make plans for the potential of closures that are the least disruptive. Most training around city closures, especially in the context of snow storms or hurricanes, assumes that systems are either running or not. It may be in the context of the threat environment that leaders — not just public safety leaders, but those in transit and design — need to develop more limited responses.

But, assuming that isn’t possible, the next step must be to ensure that criteria are well established for when a lockdown occurs and as importantly, when it will be lifted.

It cannot simply be that a terrorist has gone missing; that would mean every major city would be in constant shutdown. Such criteria could include the specificity and veracity of the intelligence and the likelihood that the attack would be thwarted by a shutdown.

Cities and nations must have very clear criteria for when and how they will reopen. In Boston during the marathon bombing in 2013, the governor reopened the city before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. The city struggled to explain how it could convince people that things were safe while there was a terrorist still on the loose.

As it turned out, it was because the lockdown was lifted that a suburban resident saw traces of blood and alerted the police to where Dzhokhar was hiding, suggesting that the “crowds” can often be used to help in counterterrorism efforts.

How GOP 'outrage' helps ISIS deliver its message

How GOP ‘outrage’ over refugees helps ISIS

I don’t know, in the absence of a major arrest, how Brussels moves forward after Monday. The country is rightfully on edge, made more so by being told to stay put. The economic impact of a lost business day alone will be felt throughout the country and much of the EU.

The psychological impacts only aid the sense that that terrorists have changed how we live. Thus, shutting down a city is a tactic that should only be used in the rarest of circumstances, based on criteria that are known to the public and that are understood by those who implement them.

From public accounts, Belgium chose to close the city because of an imminent threat and the hunt for the terrorist, Salah Abdeslam, responsible for the French bombings.

Only they can make that judgment call, and there is no “right” answer about what they should have done. But, at some stage soon, there has to be a return to normal, and to do so, leaders need to publicly set the stage for how the city’s engines of activity will start churning again, especially if the elusive Abdeslam is not found.

 

Elite FBI teams hunting 48 ISIS suspects in America

 

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With as many as 1,000 active cases, Fox News has learned at least 48 ISIS suspects are considered so high-risk that the FBI is using its elite tracking squads, known as the mobile surveillance teams or MSTs, to track them domestically.

“There is a very significant number of people that are on suspicious watch lists, under surveillance,” said Sen. Dan Coats (R-Indiana).

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Coats, who sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence, would not comment on specifics, but said the around-the-clock surveillance is a major commitment for the bureau. “The FBI together with law enforcement agencies across the country are engaged in this. It takes enormous amount of manpower to do this on a 24/7 basis. It takes enormous amount of money to do this,” Coats explained.

These elite FBI teams are reserved for espionage, mob violence and high-priority terrorism cases, like a joint terrorism task force case last June, where a 26-year-old suspect, Usaama Rahim, was killed outside a Massachusetts CVS. When a police officer and FBI agent tried to question him, the Boston police commissioner said, Rahim threatened them with a knife, and was shot dead.
On June 2, law enforcement officials lift the knife Usaama Rahim brandished toward a police officer and an FBI agent.Photo: AP
With at least a dozen agents assigned to each case, providing 24/7 coverage, this high level of surveillance reflects the severe risk associated with suspects most likely to attempt copycat attacks after Paris.

“It is a big resource drain. Yes it is. Almost overwhelming,” Coats said when asked about the demand placed on the FBI. “There will be a lot of people over the Thanksgiving weekend that will not be enjoying turkey with their family. They’ll be out there providing security for the American people and the threat is particularly high during this holiday period.”

One of the lessons of Paris is that the radicalization process can be swift. According to published reports, friends of the female suspect who was killed in the siege of Saint-Denis, Hasna Ait Boulahcen, abandoned her party life only a month before joining her cousin, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the commander of the plot on the ground. He was also killed in the siege.

Modal Trigger
On June 30, 2014, ISIS fighters parade through Raqqa, Syria, the nominal capital of the Islamic State’s caliphate.Photo: Reuters
FBI Director James Comey has consistently drawn attention to this phenomenon, calling it the “flash to bang,” that the time between radicalization and crossing the threshold to violent action can be very short. Last week, in a rare public appearance with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Comey would only say that “dozens” of suspected radicals have been under “tight surveillance.”

“Together we are watching people of concern using all of our lawful tools. We will keep watching them and if we see something, we will work to disrupt it,” Comey said.

Contacted by Fox News, an FBI spokesman had no comment on the high-risk cases, nor the use of elite surveillance teams.

U.S. bioterrorism detection program unreliable: GAO

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DHS’s BioWatch program aims to provide early indication of an aerosolized biological weapon attack. Until April 2014, DHSpursued a next-generation autonomous detection technology (Gen-3), which aimed to enable collection and analysis of air samples in less than six hours, unlike the current system (Gen-2), which requires manual intervention and can take up to thirty-six hours to detect the presence of biological pathogens. A GAOreport found that DHS lacks reliable information about BioWatch Gen-2’s technical capabilities to detect a biological attack, and therefore lacks the basis for informed cost-benefit decisions about upgrades to the system.

DHS’s BioWatch program aims to provide early indication of an aerosolized biological weapon attack. Until April 2014, DHS pursued a next-generation autonomous detection technology (Gen-3), which aimed to enable collection and analysis of air samples in less than six hours, unlike the current system (Gen-2), which requires manual intervention and can take up to thirty-six hours to detect the presence of biological pathogens.

DHS is taking steps to address the capability gap which resulted from the April 2014 cancellation of Gen-3 by exploring other technology upgrades and improvements to the Gen-2 system.

A Government Accountability office (GAO) was asked to review the technical capabilities of the currently deployed BioWatch system (Gen-2); the Gen-3 testing effort; and the characteristics of autonomous detection as a possible option to replace the current BioWatch system.

GAO says it analyzed key program documents, including test plans, test results, and modeling studies. GAO assessed Gen-3 testing against best practices, reviewed relevant literature, and discussed the BioWatch program and testing efforts with key agency officials and national laboratories staff.

BioWatch Gen-2: Unreliable information
A Government Accountability office (GAO) report found that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacks reliable information about BioWatch Gen-2’s technical capabilities to detect a biological attack, and therefore lacks the basis for informed cost-benefit decisions about upgrades to the system.

DHS commissioned several tests of the technical performance characteristics of the current BioWatch Gen-2 system, but the department has not developed performance requirements which would enable it to interpret the test results and draw conclusions about the system’s ability to detect attacks. GAO notes that although DHS officials said that the system can detect catastrophic attacks, which they define as attacks large enough to cause 10,000 casualties, they have not specified the performance requirements necessary to reliably meet this operational objective.

In the absence of performance requirements, DHS officials said computer modeling and simulation studies support their assertion, but none of these studies were designed to incorporate test results from the Gen-2 system and comprehensively assess the system against the stated operational objective. Additionally, the GAO report says, DHS has not prepared an analysis that combines the modeling and simulation studies with the specific Gen-2 test results to assess the system’s capabilities to detect attacks.

Finally, GAO found limitations and uncertainties in the four key tests of the Gen-2 system’s performance. Because it is not possible to test the BioWatch system directly by releasing live biothreat agents into the air in operational environments, DHS relied on chamber testing and the use of simulated biothreat agents, which limit the applicability of the results.

“These limitations underscore the need for a full accounting of statistical and other uncertainties, without which decision makers lack a full understanding of the Gen-2 system’s capability to detect attacks of defined types and sizes and cannot make informed decisions about the value of proposed upgrades,” the report says.

GAO notes that the actions and decisions DHS made regarding the acquisition and testing of a proposed next generation of BioWatch (Gen-3) partially aligned with best practices GAO previously identified for developmental testing of threat detection systems. For example, best practices indicate that resilience testing, or testing for vulnerabilities, can help uncover problems early. DHS took steps to help build resilience into the Gen-3 testing, but the report says that future testing could be improved by using more rigorous methods to help predict performance in different operational environments.

DHS canceled the Gen-3 acquisition in April 2014, but GAO identified lessonsDHS could learn by applying these best practices to the proposed Gen-2 upgrades.

According to experts and practitioners, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which detects genetic signatures of biothreat agents, is the most mature technology to use for an autonomous detection system. DHS is considering autonomous detection as an upgrade to Gen-2, because according to DHS, it may provide benefits such as reduction in casualties or clean-up costs. But the extent of these benefits, GAO says, is uncertain because of several assumptions, such as the speed of response after a detection, whih are largely outside of DHS’s control. As a result, the effectiveness of the response and the number of lives that could be saved is uncertain. Further, an autonomous detection system must address several likely challenges, including minimizing possible false positive readings, meeting sensitivity requirements, and securing information technology networks.

GAO recommends that DHS not pursue upgrades or enhancements for Gen-2 until DHS reliably establishes the system’s current capabilities. GAO also recommends DHS incorporate best practices for testing in conducting any system upgrades.

DHS has generally concurred with GAO’s recommendations.

— Read more in Biosurveillance: DHS Should Not Pursue BioWatch Upgrades or Enhancements Until System Capabilities Are Established, GAO-16-99 (23 November 2015)

 

Israel to build sophisticated fencing system along border with Jordan

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Israel’s cabinet has approved the construction of a new high-tech fencing along Israel’s border with Jordan, with the aim of making it more difficult for Islamist terrorists such as members of ISIS from entering the country. Israel has built sophisticated fencing – indeed, complex defensive systems — along its borders with Lebanon, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Sinai. A similar system has been built along parts of Israel’s border with Syria. The Israeli security services are worried that a route through Jordan, the border with which is not as tightly secured as Israel’s borders with its other neighbors, may be an entryway for its enemies.

Israel’s cabinet has approved the construction of a new high-tech fencing along Israel’s border with Jordan, with the aim of making it more difficult for Islamist terrorists such as members of ISIS from entering the country.

The barrier is set to span nineteen miles in the south of the country, near the Red Sea. In addition to keeping out Islamist terrorists, the barrier is also aimed at preventing African migrants from entering Israel through Jordan, after travelling across the Red Sea.

Israel has completed a high-tech fence along the Israel-Egypt border in 2013, and the Independent reports that The Israeli security services are worried that a route through Jordan, which is not as tightly secured as Israel’s borders with its other neighbors, may be an entryway for its enemies.

During a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the extension of the Jordanian border fence “important,” and said it is a “very important step” in Israel’s national security.

He added that it will join the fence built along the Sinai and Golan Heights borders, which he said have been important in keeping out illegal migrants and “the various terrorist movements.”

Netanyahu said the fence was not an act of aggression or intimidation toward Jordan, stressing that the fence will be constructed “without in any way harming the sovereignty or national interests of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”

Netanyahu noted that the fence would also protect the Timna airport which is scheduled to open next year, and which is billed as an alternative “second airport” which could be used in case the Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv comes under attack.

Israel has built sophisticated fencing – indeed, complex defensive systems — along its borders with Lebanon, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Sinai. A similar system has been built along parts of Israel’s border with Syria.

Islamophobia Works in the Islamic State’s Favor

Islamic State fighters in Iraq. Photo:Medyan Dairieh / VICE News

Four days after the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, my team and I asked the audience of my BBC Asian Network phone-in show a question, as we do every day. This time, it was: “Will the Paris attacks make life more difficult for British Muslims?”

It had been less than a week since the terrorists of Daesh, or the so-called Islamic State, had gone on their murderous rampage. So, to some, it may have seemed insensitive to be asking so soon how British Muslims were feeling when French hearts from all backgrounds were broken and a manhunt to catch the surviving perpetrators was still ongoing.

Our reasoning was that what IS wanted was for discord to fester—for Islamophobia in the West to become deeply embedded, with the subsequent hatred and mistrust leading to more eager recruits being seduced into their death cult. So it was important for us to gauge whether or not they were succeeding in their aim. We also wanted to discover what it felt like on the ground for the average law-abiding, tax-paying, house-tending, car-driving, life-living British Muslim—or indeed British Asian, being that the average Islamophobe isn’t going to ask a potential victim to fill in a questionnaire clarifying their religious viewpoint before attacking them.

The calls, emails, and texts largely portrayed a depressing picture. I remember a British Muslim caller talking about how his sister had told their mother to not go to the bank that morning because “white people may attack you.” And this was not an isolated case of fear.

It is against this backdrop that The Sun newspaper printed its recent front page headline, “1 in 5 Brit Muslims have sympathy for Jihadis”—a conclusion the journalist responsible made after seeing the results of a poll that never mentioned the word jihadis. The survey’s 1,003 respondents were asked if they had any sympathy for young British Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria. Did that include members of the British Kurdish community going to Syria to fight IS, or joining the Free Syrian Army who are battling Assad and IS?

On the Sunday night before the print copy of the paper hit the newsstands, some had already seen the front page online and tweeted about how irresponsible and inflammatory they felt it was. A British Muslim member of the public, who also happens to follows me on Twitter, tweeted “All 5 Muslims in our household despise extremists. Either me or @TheSun is lying. Only one of us lies habitually.”

READ: I Conducted the Sun’s ‘1 in 5 Muslims’ Poll and Was Shocked By How It Was Used

On Monday morning as people awoke to this headline, my debate show team knew that our listeners would want to discuss the impact it would have. We asked “Is today’s Sunheadline a wake up call to British Muslims or irresponsible journalism?” Many sided with the latter part of the question, as did others in the media. That same day there were articles in other newspapers questioning the methodology and the very basic journalistic shortcomings of the piece, and it was beginning to look like a blatant piece of hate-mongering to some of my listeners.

The Sun replied to the criticism by stating that they had “published the poll’s findings clearly and accurately, including the questions in full.” A non-Muslim emailer called Karamjeet wrote, “The reporting in The Sun certainly doesn’t surprise me, but the way it is reported is totally irresponsible and inflammatory.” Another listener texted, “The Sun is very conniving… they were asking very leading questions, the answers of which could be easily manipulated.” With more than a hint of frustration in her tone, another listener said, “Like those three monkeys, the media by and large chooses to stay blind, deaf, and dumb to those voices who speak out against extremists and terrorists. What do they want? That I renounce my faith? That I take up non-Islamic practices? Will that then assuage them?”

The fact that British Muslim callers have described how their work colleagues no longer treat them with the courtesy they once experienced, or that they are fearful for the futures of their kids, should act as a wake-up call to politicians and journalists that ill-conceived headlines have repercussions for people who just wish to practice their faith and go about their business. We all have a responsibility to confront hatred and bigotry wherever it exists, and at the very least do nothing to unnecessarily exacerbate the situation.

You only have to see the ridicule and backlash that The Sun has faced this week to realize that we are a tolerant nation. But for some of my British Muslim listeners, the fear is that those headlines will be read by some as gospel, tainting the way some of their fellow Brits view them. Instead, we must all unite and show solidarity, for that will only infuriate IS and help to quell the number of Europeans making the journey to Syria to join the terrorists.

England’s New Privatised Police Force Sells Fear to Old People

Stephen Beardsley has the handshake of a bouncer and the CV of a mercenary. He served in a tank crew in the first Gulf War, fought off Kalashnikov-toting Somali pirates as they raided transporter ships in the Indian Ocean, and was dubbed “Big Steve” by tabloid paps as a bodyguard for Wonderbra model Sophie Anderton.

Now, he’s bringing that experience to the mean streets of Frinton-on-Sea, forming a private police force to protect the terrified residents in a seaside town that the regular police have virtually left at the mercy of crime.

Before Steve and his private security team turned up there was only the thinnest of blue lines protecting Frinton. With police cuts taking their toll, the town’s nearest police station is set to close. Frintonians are not taking any chances on the tsunami of criminality that could hypothetically hit at any moment. Araura Global Solutions (AGS) is stepping into the vacuum.

It may be a sensible decision under budgetary stress for the police not to concentrate resources on an area with as little crime as Frinton. In September of this year there were only 34 reported crimes, while nearby Clacton witnessed nearly ten times that number. But the relative absence of crime hasn’t stopped a few hundred of Frinton’s residents paying AGS £2 a week to patrol the neighbourhood in their battenberg 4x4s.

Steve in his office

When I visited Steve to join one of his nightly patrols, he was sure to bat off suggestions that he runs an unaccountable racket of hired vigilantes. “There’s only one law out there and that’s the police,” he said, adding that the cuts to the UK’s police forces are “tragic”.

He said he opts for a calm, consensual policing style – maintaining a preventative presence and talking sense into trouble makers rather than beating it into them. “If you go in there thinking you’re Charlie Big Bananas, you’re in for a world of shit,” he told me. As such, “it can be pretty boring”, he admitted. Really? So not like The Bill then? “It’s more like Last of the Summer Wine.”

AGS are hoping to get accredited by the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme, which will mean the Home Office granting them some pseudo-police powers like confiscating fags from kids or taking the name and address of someone acting in an anti-social manner. For now, they’re limited to citizen’s arrests and trying to look as much like real cops as possible.

Many communities would be delighted to see the back of the police – the criminal community, for one. But also young people from ethnic minorities communities sick of stop and searches; young people who like congregating in public spaces; the friends and families of over 1,500 people who have died in police custody since 1990; protesters who don’t like being hospitalised; or just people who don’t like getting beaten up.

So what kind of community would be so horrified by the absence of police that they would pay to bolster them with their own private A-Team?

On the way to Steve’s office, a taxi driver had offered a clue: “Frinton? It’s OK if you don’t mind walking around with your nose in the air. If you’re not from Frinton, they think you’re a different class.” He then told me a story about a driver who got pulled over by the police without insurance. Apparently her response was, “I’m a Frintonian” and that said she never left the area anyway, so why bother with insurance? “They think they’re above the law.”

Hybrid Firepower: Serbu Firearms’ SU-15 Rifle

Serbu Firearms’ SU-15 upper brings AK operation to the AR platform!
OCT 12, 2015

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With its unique hybrid design, Serbu Firearms’ new SU-15 upper allows shooters to keep the ergonomics, accuracy and parts interchangeability of the AR platform while increasing its reliability.

It’s hard to argue against the ergonomics of the AR. Few rifles are as easy to handle or operate. The safety’s location with this design is excellent, making it easy to access from either side while maintaining control at all times. Collapsible stocks make it possible for a wide variety of people to shoot an AR comfortably. The triggers are simple, with dozens of choices ranging from super-fast competition triggers to those built for tactical applications. Upper receivers of various calibers, barrel lengths and configurations can be easily changed to meet any need. There are lots of things to like, and the design has been refined and improved over the decades.

For many, the weakest point of the AR system is the buffer and the spring located in the buffer tube. Changing barrel lengths or calibers often requires these to be changed. Having that spring “boinging” in your ear can be distracting, if not outright annoying.

It can create issues with carrier tilt and other factors that effect reliability. Maybe the most limiting factor is that it makes folding stocks all but impossible without significant expense and alteration. Operating systems have improved over the years, but most long for the reliability, simplicity and robust construction of the AR’s strongest competitor, the AK-47. This has resulted in several attempts to meld the two designs. In the last few years we’ve witnessed what looks to be the best solution—an upper assembly built with AK-type internals that drops on an AR lower receiver, providing the best of both worlds.

To read the full article, check out the 2016 issue of GUN ANNUAL. To purchase the issue, go to PersonalDefenseWorld.com/subscribe.

U.S. Marines, Gabonese Share Tactics

PONGARA, Gabon — U.S. Marines and Gabon’s Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux, or ANPN, worked together Sept. 14-25, at the Pongara National Forest to help the nation’s fight against wildlife trafficking.

At the request of the Gabonese government and through coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Libreville, the Marines and sailors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, trained with ANPN park rangers in infantry tactics to help build the nation’s capacity to counter trafficking of ivory and other animal-related products.

The training comes at a time when the elephant population has been dramatically decreasing across central Africa – faster than the elephants can reproduce, according to multiple news sources.

RELATED: U.S. Marines, Tanzanian Rangers Train to Fight Trafficking

An Aug. 20 BBC news article reported the forest elephant population is down to 15,000 from 22,000 in Gabon’s Minkebe National Park, which is approximately the size of Delaware, due to high demand for the elephants’ ivory tusks.

Gabon contains almost half of all the elephant population in central Africa estimated to be nearly 100,000. This “presents an enticing target for traffickers, especially as wildlife populations fall elsewhere” according to a June 28 National Geographic article.

In February 2014, President Barack Obama outlined initiatives in the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking that calls for combined efforts to reduce the demand for these products while simultaneously curbing the illegal trade industry.

The strategy calls for “combined efforts from nonprofits, corporations, individuals, and foreign government partners, to make that happen.”

Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is determined to rid the country of this problem and recently requested outside assistance to counter the activities that are destroying elephant populations in the central African region.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Nikzad, the SPMAGTF-CR-AF Gabon team leader, and his team of five Marines and sailors were in Pongara’s National Forest training 14 park ranger supervisors using the “train the trainer” model.

“Before the training started, the ANPN leadership took all of us out to areas where elephants and other wildlife roam and the tour goes to show their dedication to preserve the wildlife here,” said Nikzad. “Most of these guys have taken part in this type of training in past rotations. They are fighting criminals who have military-type skills and the tactical training we teach them, coupled with the train-the-trainer approach, will ultimately assist them in their fight.”

SPMAGTF-CR-AF Det. A is based out of Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, where they stage and prepare for theater security cooperation missions into various countries in Africa. This specific iteration is manned by Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, permanently based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Coast Guardsmen from various stations across the United States.

Active School Shooters Are Not “Campus Visitors”

Dated October,12 2015

By Warren Pulley
CEO, RyPul Threat Assessments

RyPulLos Angeles, CA Securing school campuses around the country has become a major point of contention, with each side of the debate entrenched in the fact that they believe their ideas are the best and most reasonable. But the first thing school systems need to do is to stop designing protection plans as if active shooters are merely visitors to our campuses, when, in fact, they are killers at large.

Both sides do have some degree of support in their respective circles of influence, and in some cases, what each side is proposing just may work on a small, district-sized scale.  For instance, I often hear gun rights advocates supporting the idea of arming teachers as one of the most effective means of protection for our children while at school.  While this approach may have some effect on the active shooter, that shooter would have to encounter the armed teacher who is adequately trained to square off and stand in the line of fire with an armed intruder, and fire well-placed, consistent shots under pressure.  If all of those factors can be achieved them there is room for a measure of success.

However, in my professional opinion as a former police officer and current worldwide protective specialist, training a teacher to that level of profiency may require more instruction than most teachers or school systems are willing to dedicate.  On the other hand, I do support the deployment of more armed school resource officers and directed police patrols as a way to help in the deterrence of armed violence.  But in most cases, there are just not enough police professionals available to make a noticeable difference in the response times needed to make this approach effective as anything other than highly visible window dressing.

Then we come to the other side of the debate that insists on increased video surveillance, key card scanners, mental health legislation, limited entry and exit ways, metal detectors, student badges, etc.  Now, all of these things can make a difference – if used correctly all of the time, maintained in proper working order, are fully funded, and are used in conjunction with armed security staff.  We must remember that active shooters or armed intruders do not follow the standard protocol of using designated entry ways, nor do they wear badges that can be scanned, or stand in line to be processed into the school campus, or even really care about the presence of school video surveillance systems.  Active shooters arrive on our campuses with one single-minded purpose:  to inflict as many causalities as possible in the shortest amount of time before the arrival of highly trained, paid and competent security professionals.

And while the argument continues to rage about who is right or wrong, or best suited to draft policies that mitigate the loss of life and property damage on our school campuses, the active shooter is only doing one thing:  planning their next attack regardless of school policy, procedure or practice.

The active shooter will engage our children while they stand outside in perfect lines to be processed into our wholly unsecure campuses. The active shooter will do the evil deed of killing our children while being watched by the overpriced, high-definition camera systems that our school systems have purchased to watch and record the murder of our children.  And afterward, parents, educators and security professionals will launch into the debate about what to do.

I recently learned that a school system in this great nation came to the conclusion that the best way to deter a school shooter is to simply “move the doors on each of its campuses to a new location within the building.”  I am supposing that this idea will somehow confuse the shooter and cause them to just forego their intent?  I shook my head in disbelief while reading the article, and wondered just how idiotic we as a society have become.  And don’t get me started on one Alabama school district’s idea of simply having its children “throw canned goods at its armed intruders;” what poppycock.

The answer to our questions is extremely simple.  Let’s no longer debate the issue about the so-called “militarized look of our campuses,” as we already have that in place in nearly every school in the country with our high wire fences, armed security staffs, metal detector entry points, roving armed patrols, locked metal gates, key carded entryways and high frequency radios. Let’s simply utilize the current technology in place today.  Passive ballistic protection products are on the market which are already offered to police officers, food service workers, airline pilots and bank employees.  This low visibility and high protection option has become the gold standard for protecting against gun violence around the world.  Passive ballistic protection works.  Debate over.

http://anapr.com/2015/04/20/active-school-shooters-are-not-campus-visitors/

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