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  • Writer's pictureJim Watson

Stop the Mass Shooting Madness Today!

As I watched the news break on yet another mass shooting, this past week in both Atlanta and Colorado, my thoughts turned from anger to a renewed commitment to advance the change required to save lives. While It hurts knowing that the technology we developed could have changed these tragedies, hope rises realizing a simple mindset change can move the needle. We need to move from a reactive emergency response to a proactive one. Wider notifications and a joined-up approach to security must be deployed… the technology exists, we simply need to get it adopted more widely.

There are a number of traditional approaches, which can be broken down into simple categories. Most often, according to market statistics, there is a desire to seek security solutions that react immediately when a tragic event happens. Alarms go off, video cameras come to life, doors are locked, police are called. The purpose of this technology is to not only to mitigate further loss of life, it is also to provide the necessary security in order to meet the duty of care requirements.

Similar to these reactive security solutions are mass notification systems. By quickly sending information to others in and around the area affected by a violent act, these systems are a response to something that just occured. Mass notification systems stand ready to alert in reaction to an event, but until danger (or a false alarm) is present they are rarely, if ever, triggered.

Then there are predictive solutions based on detection algorithms, electromagnetic imaging, and smart sensors. They can detect weapons, explosions, and gunshots. These more sophisticated solutions provide a more proactive approach. The purpose of these systems is to stop a tragic event before it occurs or to minimize its impact and ensuing casualties when they do occur. As one parent of a child killed in the Parkland shooting stated, “If we would have had this type of system, fewer lives would have been lost.”. A thoughtful, yet painful, comment to digest.

Now let’s turn to a new type of technology that is proactive with a community network effect. It combines proactive, reactive, and mass notification features into one platform. This technology includes gunshot detection with video and two way audio giving first responders eyes, ears, and voice at the scene. Tools like these could have prevented the death of a first responder in Colorado, and the injury of several others, when they charged bravely into the line of fire to protect civilians trapped inside.

Further, it allows robust communication through push notifications, text messaging, chat capabilities, video, and voice to multi-site locations within a community. As an example, if the second spa location in Atlanta was alerted with the community alert feature with this technology, perhaps lives could have been saved.

While it is difficult to predict alternative outcomes based on the use of one type of technology, it does become a bit more clear when the purpose is considered. If protecting a community is part of the purpose, then applying technology that mitigates multi-site threats is needed. And while multi-site threats are not new, they are becoming more common.

Multi-site communities are often based on heritage, faith, and shared interest. Like minded people living in community together because they share life stories. Jewish, Irish, Italian, Somoli, Sikhs, Muslim, Asian communities are a few that have existed in America for generations. But for some reason, this can make them vulnerable to zealots, bigots, and the unstable.

As an example, Israel and Jewish communities around the world have been dealing with this problem for decades and have been targeted multiple times in recent years. In Kansas City, a shooter began at a Jewish Community Center and then continued a nearby assisted living facility for the elderly. A Pittsburgh Jewish community was also targeted by a shooter that killed multiple people at a synagogue and planned on attacking other sites but was injured in a shootout with police.

Sadly, these and other examples are becoming more common with an increase in community threat. As a Catholic security director of a large US Jewish community said to me recently, “We need to prepare for the likely event that a lone gunman targets a Jewish site, Planned Parenthood, the NAACP and maybe even a mosque on the same day”.

The question is how these multi-site communities can protect themselves from this increased threat. The answer is deploying the right security technology based on purpose. For community protection, the purpose extends far beyond the ‘duty of care’. It requires a proactive solution with network effects. It requires detection, response, and community notification.

Gabriel is the new, community based technology that I referred to earlier and it provides all three of these requirements. It was designed based on a ‘community approach to security’. It is a smart, yet affordable solution that has a network effect that saves lives from multi-site attacks. If one site is threatened or harmed, notification is immediately sent to other sites in the network to engage in a lockdown strategy or self preservation tactics. See how it works HERE

To be candid, the world would be a better place if solutions such as Gabriel did not need to exist. Wouldn’t it be great if the $100 billion spent on security could be applied to medical research, education, and other initiatives to make our world better? Yes, but that is not reality.

The reality is that we need to secure ourselves and those that are a part of our daily lives. In doing so, we need to apply the right technology based on this purpose. And we need to do it now. Even starting within your own community, we can limit the pain and suffering caused by active shooter events using technology with network effects.

The mass shootings in Atlanta and Colorado reminds us that we can’t take our security for granted. My hope is that eventually the network effect that Gabriel provides will grow and cross community lines. Until then, we must begin somewhere, and we must begin today.

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