After James Holmes opened fire during the screening of Batman – The Dark Knight Rises last July, a lot of people (including me) were nervous about going to see the movie. This probably due to the fact that following an attack, there is always the risk of copycats or someone becoming inspired to take action similar to what occurred in Colorado, which causes us to become more alert when we are out in public. As we go into a heightened state of awareness and begin attempting to consciously scan each and every person in our vicinity, we can quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of gestures, postures, expressions, walking styles, clothing choices, and every other observable facet that is available to us. If there isn’t a mental framework that allows an observer to structure what they are seeing and quickly make sense of what they are looking at, increased situational awareness could lead to an observer becoming frustrated in the endeavor. This leads to security professionals either giving up their search for criminal behavior or becoming too slow in the decision making cycle to be effective at preventing violent acts from happening. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
Is the distinction between a terrorist act and an active shooter scenario an irrelevant distinction? I asked this question to a group of graduate students at John Jay College last week during a presentation that I was giving about violence prevention in the public sector. All but one student raised their hands to say that the Boston bombers were terrorists, while none raised their hands indicating that they thought they were active shooters. One student raised his hand saying that it didn’t matter. My guess is that many people would respond in a similar fashion. Would your answer be different though if the Boston bombers chose to use a different weapon in their attack instead of using IEDs?
Personally, I’m with read more…
The May issue of the Combat Profiling Journal is now available for reading or download. This issue is focused around Being Faster Than Your Enemy as the articles and videos are chosen to determine which domains are important in different situations. The faster that you can execute the decision making cycle is what will allow you to maintain the initiative and force the enemy to react to you. Different situations require different observations, for instance while on the move, it isn’t possible to apply all of the domains, so our first article explains which observations are important while Observing On The Fly. Lanny Roark expands upon this as he talks about the role of the cover man while contacting a suspect and the observations that are important during conversation.
These observations are further expanded upon in our video training section, which develops your ability to spot situational awareness in a complex environment. If you can observe behavior in the chaos of Grand Central Terminal, when you find yourself in less-travelled mass-transit stations your ability to make increasingly accurate assessments can occur. The importance of these observations are not only designed to support getting left of bang, but can also be used to regain the initiative after the attack. In our article The Transparency of Familiarity, the behavior of the Boston Marathon Bombers following their strike are examined and how that led to their ultimate capture.
Being faster than your enemy means being able to make quick and accurate assessments under uncertain conditions. In our final article, Shawn Moore highlights the way that Burnout impairs your decision-making and ability to remain objective.
As members of the military, law enforcement officers and security providers decide to leave their industry, there are always going to be questions about how their experience relates to success in the business world. This translation of experiences isn’t always clear to a human resources manager who is comparing your resume to that of someone with years of business specific skills. Because leaving a career in the military or law enforcement for the private sector isn’t like going from a sales job in one company to a similar position in another, the job search can appear to be riskier than it really is.