The May 24 shooting at a Texas elementary school by an 18-year-old identified as Salvador Ramos killed at least 19 students and two teachers.
News reports are saying the school and the school district had “many” security features in place following a shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.
School District Security Measures Reportedly in Place at Time of Shooting
They all seem to have failed as the shooting was terminated by an agent with the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC). First reports are always sketchy, but it appears this Border Patrol agent proactively moved into the situation to engage Ramos and, ultimately, killed the shooter.
UCISD's website states that the district has "proponents to curb and/or eliminate" elements of" violence, vandalism, disruptions and fear" in its schools to "provide a safe and secure environment for all."
Those proponents include four officers, including a chief, a detective and two officers within the school district; partnerships with local law enforcement agencies;
Security staff that patrols door entrances and parking lots at secondary campuses;
Case managers and social workers on UCISD campuses; licensed counselors;
Threat assessment teams; social media threat monitoring;
Visitor management security system; canine detection services;
Motion detectors and alarm systems;
Perimeter fencing at Robb and other schools;
Security vestibules and outside buzz-in systems;
Security cameras; a locked classroom door policy;
Staff and student training;
Threat reporting system.
It’s also reported that the school district uses a service called Social Sentinel "to monitor all social media with a connection to Uvalde as a measure to identify any possible threats that might be made against students and or staff within the school district."
It will be interesting to see what and how the these elements worked -- or did not work -- in this situation.
In my experience, one of the most prevalent ways that security systems are defeated or rendered inoperable is because of the people who are tired of using them. For example in one corporate setting, a new badge swiping system was installed. The introduction of the new badges was uneven and many people were finding that they could not get in to areas of the building they needed to. So what do humans do? They pull a potted plant over to prop open the door so they can get in and out during the day. In some other situations, the security providers "red team" are able to easily access secure areas because the company's personnel is disorganized or doesn't feel like it has the authority to question or stop people.
Active Shooter Social Media Threats?
Again, first reports are always sketchy and can't always be regarded as accurate, but the media is already publishing that Ramos posted "disturbing images" on Instagram and contacted a woman online about his plans before he entered the elementary school, barricaded himself inside and began shooting innocent kids and teachers.
And just like many of these mentally-deranged shooters, they can't help themselves but preview or announce their planned attack on social media. And, just like so many other situations, it appears that the people who are monitoring or the tools that are supposed to be monitoring fail.
By the way, on the right is one those images which Fox News calls "disturbing" is this one of someone holding an empty Magpul PMAG in his lap. Fox News provocatively calls it a "high-capacity magazine" when it is really a standard magazine.
What to Do When a Shooter Opens Fire
What can we do and what can we teach our kids to do in these active shooter emergencies?
Pay attention. Is someone acting weird? Has someone at school been threatening to "shoot the place up"? In Ramos' case, he was not a student. But, he reportedly walked into the school with at least one AR-15 pattern rifle. Does that strike anyone as weird?
Believe yourself. When the loud bangs happen, people start screaming and running, don't deny that something is wrong. Or that it's just a joke. Get ready to move.
Get down! First of all get down on the floor. Second of all, try to get behind something that can offer concealment or stop bullets.
Move away from the trouble. Start crawling away and getting distance from the shooter. Don't stand up to see what's going on or try to get the situation videoed on your phone.
Escape! Often there is a dramatic silence when the shooter runs out of ammunition or is switching to another gun. Use that time to get out of the area.
This is the kind of information that is so important for all of us that we have covered it with way more detail in a number of different posts:
Be prepared for copycat shooters who want to get in on the media attention.
Violence in our country is going to get worse before it gets better. Be aware, be trained, and be ready to save your own life.