The Ongoing Paranoia of Public Shootings – Can They Be Prevented? [POLL]
When the news of last month’s shooting at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi was broadcast, I knew it would only be a matter of time until the next shooting was to be reported.
Hence the shooting at LAX carried out by South Jersey native Paul Ciancia.
And what’s becoming scarier, besides the fact that we hear an increasing number of shootings or lockdowns in public places, like last night’s shooting at the Garden State Plaza; is what I think what seems to be our prevailing attitude.
That it’s become part of the pastiche of life here in 2013.
You knew it would only be a matter of time until headlines like the following would appear.
While the question goes through my mind, I often think there’s little more that can be done to prevent this kind of violence.
More gun control? Better screening of gun owners? Keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people? Assault rifle ban. Blah BLAH blah BLAH!
All discussed ad nauseum.
A day after a gunman caused the lock-down of Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, Jersey City police, mall and EMS spokespersons weighed in on their preparedness should a similar incident result in mass casualties.
The overnight incident in Paramus ended with the gunman, Richard Shoop, 20, of Teaneck, taking his own life. There were no others injured by the gunfire and police said it did not appear Shoop intended to hurt anyone but himself. Nevertheless, there was a large response by emergency responders preparing for the worst case scenario.
Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea said, “we are prepared, with the caveat that you can never be prepared enough, so we continue to train and continue to evaluate our equipment and our techniques,” adding that preparing for an active shooter incident was a top priority for Mayor Steven Fulop when Shea was appointed.
Shea said the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado “changed everything.” Before then police responding to an “active shooter” situation would usually “surround and isolate and allow hostage negotiations to take place, but they were not interested in being talked to. They wanted to kill as many people as they could. Now the first responder will immediately enter and address the shooter.”
The director said the first officers to arrive will be reinforced as other officers and equipment arrive. He said the city trains in active shooter scenarios regularly and four Emergency Services Unit officers recently received training from the Department of Homeland Security in active shooter response and are now certified instructors. They will now give a four-day training courses to every officer in the department.
The owner of Jersey City’s Newport Centre Mall released a statement today saying the safety and security of shoppers, retail tenants and employees is a top priority.
But (the owner) said “To protect our local community and property, we do not discuss details of our security procedures. We will continue to work closely with federal, state and local authorities to take appropriate security measures that provide a safe environment at our mall.”
So the question, in light of all this is, “Are there steps you’d like to see taken to make malls and other public places safer?”