On the night of October 1
, an apparent lone gunman with an arsenal at his fingertips, fired a semi-auto rifle altered with a bump stock to fire automatic rounds into a soft target of vulnerable concert goers, killing 58 and over injuring 500 people.
According to law enforcement, Steve Paddock conducted a site advance and prepared his room on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, as a command post with mounted cameras in the hallway to monitor first responder reactions. After firing into the crowd for approximately 10 minutes, Paddock committed suicide when he detected Las Vegas Metro preparing to breach his room.
This horrible incident reminds all of us how quickly people can perish in a seemingly safe environment. Besides being vulnerable, what can we learn from the Las Vegas tragedy?
Utilizing the Secret Service model of three circular rings of security, professionals should conduct a vulnerability assessment of the outer, middle, and inner perimeters.
The outer perimeter should incorporate an examination of high ground with an understanding that any secreted overview needs mitigation to prevent a shooter with the ability to unleash a barrage of bullets into a crowd. Pipe and drape, as well as bullet proof ceramic can be used for blocking high ground positions.
The middle perimeter should establish checkpoints into the venue with magnetometers manned by a trained armed staff to detect weapons or explosives before a perpetrator can enter the inner circle of concern. Bomb sniffing dogs should also be at checkpoints both as a visible deterrent as well as a detection of explosive material.
The inner perimeter should have undercover security personnel in the crowd, trained to assist in any evacuation in the event of an attack. The assessment should provide for avenues of escape or areas to run to for cover.
According to various studies, people have on average 3 minutes BEFORE law enforcement personnel are able to resolve an active shooting situation. 3 minutes is a long time when bullets are flying and people are bleeding out. As such, emergency equipment such as tourniquets and other medical supplies in close proximity or ideally be on hand in the event of an attack in which people are wounded.
The attack in Las Vegas involved assault weapons. But we must keep in mind that 19 terrorists were able to seize 4 passenger jets that led to the death of over 3,000 victims. The two radicalized brothers in Boston used improvised items off the shelf of a grocery store to place bombs at the Boston marathon to kill and maim their victims. In Europe trucks are being utilized to kill hundreds of victims. Killing innocent people is evil and it is incumbent upon us to examine what inspires someone to engage in pure evil.
Additionally, training to always be situationally aware is mandatory. Today, everyone is responsible for them and as Dr. Sebastian Gorka said, “everyone must be tactically aware the minute they walk out their door.” When you enter a venue think how you can escape or hide if an attack occurs.
Talon offers training in Targeted Violence Prevention & Active Shooter Response, as well as event security. Please contact us for a consultation.
In addition, Talon has recently partnered with Leatherback Gear; makers of the world’s safest backpacks. We have partnered with Leatherback Gear to not only help market their patented backpack-to-bulletproof product line which has been designed to be deployed in seconds providing front & back Level IIIA protection; but because we believe you are your best resource in any life-threatening situation. Leatherback Gear will empower you and your loved ones if you are ever caught in a life-threatening situation. With a Leatherback Gear backpack, one has armor, tourniquets, and RFID protection hidden within an everyday item that chances are you are already carrying. With the Leatherback Gear backpack, you can now run, hide, and/or fight with armor on. For more information on the Leatherback Gear backpack-to-bulletproof product line go to
Ron Williams, CFS
United States Secret Service-Retired