Presently, there have been over 400 mass shootings in 2022. According to research, that number climbs every single day. Statistics show there were 417 mass shootings in 2019, 611 mass shootings in 2020, and 693 in 2021, meaning these stats have a high potential to break records by the end of this year. The tragedy of mass shootings seems to be unique to only this country. Why are mass shootings so common in America, and why are they still increasing?
The United States has been through a handful of mind-altering events, such as a global pandemic, national lockdown, and civil unrest, all in just the last two years. While major events existed before, there has been an upsurge in gun violence since 2020. Such hardships are making mass shootings more prevalent, and people are begging for reform.
Gun Violence in America
On average, more than 110 Americans are killed by guns every day. In addition to this, more than 200 are injured by gun violence every day. It’s safe to assume that the effect of gun violence extends far beyond those who are killed and injured. In America, gun violence has shaped the lives of millions who witness, experience, and know those who have been in such a situation. As you can see, the magnitude of everyday gun violence is almost incomprehensible.
Research shows that gun suicides make up 59% of deaths in America, and gun homicides make up 38% of deaths in America. This means that 6 out of every 10 gun deaths are those who own a gun and choose to end their own life, and 4 out of every 10 gun deaths are those who own a gun and choose to end someone else’s life. The United States’ gun violence rate is 26 times higher than that of other high-income countries. The impact this has on American citizens is catastrophic.
The Cause for the Increase in Mass Shootings
While the number of mass shootings in the United States has always been high, studies have shown that the pandemic and its aftermath have jump-started the big increase in violence over the past couple of years. Covid-19 imposed sudden physiological and financial strain across the US, which then amplified fear, isolation, and hardship among Americans. The increase in gun violence is synonymous with an increase in firearm purchases, and the United States has twice the amount of guns per 100 people than any other country.
While it is certainly true that the ownership of guns exacerbates the problem of mass shootings, it is not the cause. Other countries in the world that have a significant amount of guns do not portray the same numbers as we do regarding mass shootings. Perhaps it is this country’s celebration of vigilantism and our cultural value of fierce individualism that make mass shootings so popular. We are one of the world’s strongest military forces and have a habit of settling disputes with guns. This, paired with powerful and negative social forces in today’s society is fueling the fire of mass shootings. These social forces include financial fear, distrust in the government, racism, hate crime, domestic terrorism, and overall increased disbelief in the American dream. All of these social forces are extremely prevalent in today’s current climate, more out in the open than ever since the 2022 pandemic. Taking these factors into consideration, it is no shock this country is on the precipice of a breaking point with mass shootings.
Minimizing the Risks
The staggering increase in gun purchases, paired with mass shootings, means it’s impossible not to think about the possibilities of experiencing gun violence firsthand. There are many proactive solutions to minimize the risks of mass shootings in your place of work, school, and even your own home. Take precautions by implementing weekly lockdown drills at your place of work, which better prepares everyone in case of an emergency. Increase security measures such as lockdown door systems, security camera systems, hiring armed guards, and knowing how to spot a potential active shooter can help divert a situation before it even happens. All of these are great precautions to take when wanting to minimize the risk of mass shootings in the US.
Perhaps the most beneficial precaution to take is implementing common-sense gun legislation. Implementing the proper infrastructure to prevent gun violence in America is the next plausible step in minimizing the risk of mass shootings. As an example, a reduction in automobile deaths in the United States is one of the greatest successes of public health intervention. Implementing seat belts, safer manufacturing, and stricter qualifications to purchase a car have prevailed in decreasing deaths by car crashes. The same could easily be done with guns.
We need to grow and heal our country to fully change the cycle of mass shootings in the US. The statistics of mass shootings in 2022 prove that these numbers are only increasing, and we as a country need to be taking stronger precautions to diminish the tragedy of this kind of violence.
The best strategy to improve school safety is to be familiar with lockdown procedures. Events like the Columbine and the Sandy Hook shooting have taught us that, unfortunately, school shootings are becoming more common as the years go on. Understanding the right procedures and security measures can make a difference between life and death for your staff and students.
An emergency lockdown happens when there is danger, and faculty and staff need to ensure the safety of their students by acting quickly and efficiently. It’s crucial that all staff members be trained and educated on how to handle emergencies in dangerous situations.
Why Should Schools be Better Prepared?
In the last couple of years alone, the United States has seen an uptick in the purchasing of guns and mass shootings. The gun violence archive has counted over 300 mass shootings this year, painting a scary picture for the months to come. To help create more situational awareness, schools should take extra precautions if an emergency ever arrives at the school’s doorstep. These include extra security measures like lockdown doors, knowing how to spot a potential threat, and adding additional lockdown procedures.
There are multiple different events to be prepared for. The types of emergencies that require extra lockdown procedures include:
- Active shooter or mass shooting
- Hostage holding
- Protests and riots
- Natural disasters
Now that you know what kind of events require extra precaution, here are a few tips to consider to better prepare you for an emergency.
Know the Layout of your School
While this seems self-explanatory, you would be surprised at how many faculty members do not know the full layout and available exits in their school. Teachers and staff should be aware of all classrooms, room numbers, hallways, and exits within the school. Knowing this information will be crucial to making decisions and communicating during a hostile situation.
Plan How to Barricade your Classroom
Assess the environment of your classroom and plan how you would barricade and lock the doors. Arrange furniture, your desk, and the students seating in strategic ways in the room. Planning how to handle a true lockdown beforehand will ensure better protection and preparation for your students while in the classroom.
Utilize Alternative Evacuation
In the instance that there is an active shooter in the hallways, or the doors are barricaded, understand how to utilize the windows for evacuation purposes. This depends on whether it is safe enough to climb out the windows in an emergency. Practice opening the windows in your classroom so that you are prepared if you ever need to use them as an evacuation tactic. If your classroom windows do not open, you may have to break the window if necessary.
What to do if a Lockdown is Issued
Utilizing the above tips could help make an attack harder when you are better prepared for it. Each school may have a different set of lockdown procedures to know. However, below are the most common lockdown procedures all faculty, staff, and students should abide by.
- Lock the doors and windows
- Turn off the lights and close the blinds
- Instruct the students to stay quiet and away from any doors and windows
- Silence all technology like computers and phones
- Count every student in the room
- Wait until further instruction
General Sequence of Events during a Lockdown
Each lockdown is unique based on the circumstance. However, a lockdown is typically the same sequence of events, meaning it’s more than possible to prepare as best you can for any situation. The first thing that will happen is the sounding of an alarm. An alarm is set off to immediately notify the staff of an intruder or a natural disaster. This is the first step in the lockdown procedure, and upon hearing this signal, faculty and staff should prepare accordingly.
The second step is to commence the lockdown procedures for the specific disaster. This is where teachers lock the doors to their classrooms and get the students away from the doors and windows. Someone will call 911, where the police should arrive, and implement further instructions on how to proceed. During the lockdown, teachers should maintain a secure classroom. Teachers should keep the students in a safe area away from the doors and windows, and should not open them under any circumstance unless told to do so. Teachers should also take a head count of their students, and if any are missing, notify someone immediately.
After the event has passed means it is the end of the lockdown and is safe for teachers and students to come out of their classrooms. The school principal should also notify the parents of the students if the parents do not already know.
Teachers should constantly be prepared for a lockdown, and practice these drills with their students. The more everyone is prepared, the safer the environment is in case of a tragedy.
The United States has seen record highs in the last couple of years regarding mass shootings. The gun violence archive has counted over 300 mass shootings this year, and that number keeps rising every day. There is no official definition of a mass shooting, but we can concur it is defined as firearm incidents involving four or more victims. Statistics show there were 417 mass shootings in 2019, 611 mass shootings in 2020, and 693 in 2021. These numbers show an obvious incline, making it impossible not to take precautions.
While implementing extra security measures like lockdown door systems, armed security guards, and training can mean the difference between life and death, the safest bet to eliminating an active shooter threat is before they become an active shooter. This includes knowing the signs of someone contemplating violence and being able to recognize the makings of a potential active shooter.
Observable Behaviors of Concern
The FBI conducted a study on the most common observable behaviors in active shooters. While some behaviors are common among everyone, it is the displaying of multiple behaviors at once in the daily lives of these individuals to be concerned with. The study concludes that at least 5 of these behaviors are common in all active shooters, and most, if not all active shooters experience mental stressors in their everyday lives. These mental stressors include depression, anxiety, paranoia, and other factors in their lives that may warrant their violence. Below are a few signs to look out for to recognize a potential active shooter.
An Obsession with Gun and Mass Shootings
Gun violence is a fixture in American society. Since embedded into the Constitution as the Second Amendment, guns have been prevalent in the United States. It is relatively easy to obtain one and even easier to know how to fire one. Consequently, Americans’ obsession with guns has led to a dangerous mindset instilled in us at a young age. Look out for individuals who are overly obsessed with gun violence and mass killings.
Easy Access to Firearms
While it’s one thing to be obsessed with guns, it’s another to be obsessed with owning them. Someone who brags about easy access to firearms or owns one already can become a potential threat. Again, the Second Amendment makes it legal to be a gun owner in the United States, but being openly passionate about guns and their associated violence is a red flag.
Being a Target of Long-Term Bullying
Studies show that being bullied, and also being the bully directly correlate to violence within both parties. 70% of students who have experienced bullying carry a weapon to school. That weapon could very much be a gun and could result in serious violence. When considering factors of a potential threat, bullying should be high on that list.
Extreme Isolation or Withdrawal
Early childhood trauma, like extreme bullying and home violence, is a common denominator among most active shooters. These early childhood traumas can build up to hopelessness, despair, and social isolation. When someone starts activating differently in this sense, take note, and make an effort to find out what caused their social withdrawal, as it can lead to dangerous effects.
Excessively Aggressive Response to Minor Issues
Someone who is experiencing inner turmoil may have an aggressive response to a seemingly minor issue on more than one occurrence. This marks a lack of self-regulation and can lead to serious harm. The inability to regulate strong emotions when faced with a difficult situation is detrimental to them, and others. An aggressive response can result in an aggressive reaction, so being able to spot someone with low self-regulation can be preventative.
Overt Threats of Violence
Studies show that more than half of active shooters communicate their violent nature to their victims or third parties before a mass shooting. This can involve verbal or written threats, as well as leakage of feelings, fantasies, or intentions of harm to a third party. Violent imagery and videos are also another sign of intense aggression and should be watched very closely.
Gun violence and mass shootings are a multi-faced problem, one that needs more solutions than we currently have. Staying prepared and understanding the signs of a potential active shooter can save your life, and theirs. More often than not, people wait until after the mass shooting to identify what could have been the cause of such inner turmoil. If anyone demonstrates a combination of these signs, be cautious and take action.
2020 saw an increase in gun purchases. Subsequently, the number of shooting incidents rose by sixty-four percent. Recent data findings show at least fifty casualties from gun shootings this year alone.
School shooting incidents in the United States are increasing exponentially, as witnessed by increased casualties and deaths from these incidents. School shootings are not new, as the earliest recorded incident was in Pontiac’s rebellion that resulted in the death of the headmaster and nine students on July 26, 1764. To date, over two thousand school shooting incidents have left over 2620 students scarred or victims of mass shootings. However, there are several ways of decreasing these incidences or curtailing their impact. This can be achieved through security enhanced doors, motion detectors, and implementing lockdown features in schools to deter intruders from causing more damage.
Increased School Shootings in the United States
As of 2017, firearms overtook death by road accidents to be the leading cause of death by persons of age twenty-four and below. The trend is worrying, considering that most of these shootings are orchestrated by students affiliated with these schools. However, more has to be said about the poor storage of these firearms, enabling easy access by school-going children. In 2021 there were a total of 249 school shootings reported in the United States. Of these, at least twenty seven students were killed by firearms. These estimates pale in comparison to the annual deaths caused by gunshots. 2022 has seen an upsurge in incidences involving gunshots to levels only witnessed in the pre-COVID era. This can be attributable to an increase in individual gun purchases. According to research, in 2020 alone, Americans had an estimated purchase of at least twenty-two million guns. This was increased by forty percent when compared to 2019. 2022 has been no better, with at least 50 incidences recorded as of June 2022. The increase in school shootings is worrying; the 2020-2021 school calendar witnessed over ninety school shootings. This was an exponential increase compared to 2019, when only 23 reported cases were reported. Out of these, forty-three incidences ended up with at least an individual being reported to have died, while the remaining fifty incidences only recorded injuries. This calls for more stringent measures to improve the safety of kids in schools. Some of these incidences can be attributed to the deteriorating relationship between teachers and students.
Mass Shootings and Active Shooters
Recent years have seen a spike in the number of mass shootings. This year has experienced at least three hundred mass shooting incidences. This is an increase from their average since data started to be considered. The Washington post noted that on average, since 2014, the number of mass shootings topped at a round four hundred, but 2020 saw the number rise to six hundred and eleven incidences, whereas 2021 saw the number rise again to seven hundred. Based on the current trend, this figure will more than quadruple by the end of the year.
2021 saw an increase of fifty percent of active shooter incidences from 2020, an increase that averages at around 96% increase when compared to its four-year average. The FBI has documented at least 61 shootings in 30 states that resulted in the deaths of at least one hundred individuals and injured another one hundred persons. Active shooting is an incidence where an armed individual or individuals are actively killing or trying to kill people in highly populated areas. Of these incidences, sixty were carried out by male individuals, with only one female reported incidence. This calls for an update in the security measures taken to prevent such incidences, as some could result from homeopathy and lockdown related issues. This may be coupled by the high financial distress experienced during the curfew, as not everyone can cope with such situations easily. However, this has also led to some impressive innovations that can be used to curtail the impact of these incidences. More so, the government can implement more effective pieces of legislation to prevent such incidences.
Some of the effective methods include:
Increasing Armed Personnel
Increasing the number of armed personnel can effectively reduce the time it takes for police officers to respond to an incident. This may reduce the pressure on the available persons and help increase the number of patrols conducted by police officers. They can also be equipped with better tools to handle live fire effectively.
It is easy to procure a firearm by individuals, both ex-convicts, and other individuals. States can implement strict laws preventing anyone from acquiring firearms, especially individuals with a history of violence. In addition, people allowed to use firearms should undergo proper training to reduce the number of accidental shootings.
Access To Mental Health Services
Suicide ranked among the major causes of death related to gun shootings. These can be attributed to mental health issues such as traumatic episodes related to past shooting incidences, traumatic experiences, and increased stress levels. Accessing mental health services to deal with these increases can help drastically lower such occurrences.
School Shooting Lockdowns
In as much as schools are safe, most are not intrusion free; they suffer a level of permeability that allows outsiders to access the school grounds, offices, and even classes. Lockdown drills are an effective way to teach students what to do in case of an attack. But putting real protective measures can effectively deter intruders from causing real harm to students. Haven is a company that offers services that can amp up the security level of a learning institution or a place of worship. The Haven lockdown is one such security feature that gives administrators the power to control the opening and closing of doors in the school. They also include patented designs that deter intruders from accessing classes. Their school lockdown system is designed to keep away intruders from students while at the same time deterring the intruder from escaping. It features different designs that give administrator rights over doors, the presence of egress buttons, and door locks that can be opened and closed with Bluetooth connectivity. In addition, some of their doors are bulletproof in case of the live firing of ammunition. Finally, this system involves an alert system that signals local authorities in case of such an occurrence.
School shooting incidences have risen, particularly in the last five years, experiencing new record highs. These can be attributed to increased purchases of firearms. Increased levels of stress and poor storage mechanisms of firearms. There are various ways to reduce these incidences and others that can help mitigate the casualties from such occurrences. Haven Company is one company that offers lockdown solutions t schools, apartments, and religious places of worship that deter intruders, lock down the facility under attack and notifies security forces of the attack at hand.
At the time of writing this article there has been 27 school shootings in the United States in 2022, and there will no doubt be many more before the end of the year. School systems across the country are scrambling to implement safety measures that will protect students from the threat of active shooters, but taking such measures requires allocations to their budgets which just don’t exist.
There are solutions to increasing much needed school security, with funding that exists through Federal Grants that can be secured to cover the costs for active shooter door locks such as the school lockdown systems provided by the HAVEN Lockdown.
Listed below are 2 Grant Programs that can help schools obtain the funding they need to secure their schools, and lower the potential for tragic loss from active shooter incursions.
The ESSER Fund
The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund is a federal funding program that was approved by the Department of Education and is directly used to assist state education agencies (SEAs), which is then allocated to school districts, also known as local education agencies (LEAs). Although originally intended for COVID-19 aid, this fund also helps schools by investing in infrastructure, and provides emergency financial assistance for a variety of necessary projects to school districts across the country. The program is available to K-12 institutions until September 30, 2024.
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program
This grant provides funding from FEMA for the support to nonprofit organizations (such as schools) that are at high risk for active shooter incursions or terrorist threats. The purpose of this grant is to add physical security enhancement such as what HAVEN Lockdown provides with their lockdown systems that prevent an active shooter from breaching classroom doors.The intent of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program is to integrate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts. It is also intended to provide greater coordination / collaboration for emergency preparedness activities among public and private community representatives, as well as state and local government agencies.
Contact HAVEN to Learn More
For more information about how you can obtain federal funding or to schedule a consultation with HAVEN, please fill out the form below and we will get right back to you.