Yesterday I noted that even an imbecile with a sightless AR-pattern pistol is an effective response to an active shooter situation. Less somebody mistake that statement as a blanket approval of armed individuals taking it upon themselves to stand guard uninvited over military recruitment centers let me discuss why such a security model isn’t viable. The Army has been telling its recruiters to treat random armed watchmen as potential threats and its right to do so:
WASHINGTON — The Army has warned its recruiters to treat the gun-toting civilians gathering at centers across the country in the wake of the Chattanooga, Tenn., shooting as a security threat.
Soldiers should avoid anyone standing outside the recruiting centers attempting to offer protection and report them to local law enforcement and the command if they feel threatened, according to a U.S. Army Recruiting Command policy letter issued Monday.
Effective security relies on effective threat modeling. When the threat model is an active shooter the most effective response is an armed individual able to provide resistance. Before an active shooting begins the threat model is different because the potential attacker still isn’t known. Under that model you must assume everybody who isn’t trusted is a potential attacker (trusted individuals could be potential attackers as well, which is why you need redundancies). How do the recruiters know that the person who took it upon themselves to stand watch isn’t actually planning to shoot the place up? They don’t.
This is why nobody, whether they be tasked with securing a top secret military facility or a bar, puts any random schmuck who volunteers on guard duty. Verification is required before somebody can be trusted to provide security services. Bars need to know that their bouncers are going to verify patrons’ ages instead of take payouts to let high school students in. Businesses need to know the person at the front desk isn’t a member of a gang of thieves planning to rob the place. Military recruiters need to know that the person at the front isn’t a copycat wanting to take out some military personnel.
The most effective defense against a potential shooter is arming the individuals you trust to be on your property. As I stated in yesterday’s article, responding to an active shooter doesn’t require training beyond being able to send rounds towards the shooter. Response time is the critical factor so the more armed individuals on site the faster the situation will likely be resolved. But the armed individuals must be trusted to be a viable part of your security model otherwise you can’t know if they’re going to be a defender or aggressor until the attack is underway.