By Mr. David Honea (Leonard Wood)August 4, 2016
With the recent events that occurred in Chattanooga, Tennessee; San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida; France and Germany, the threat of an active shooter is a topic on many people's minds.
With August being Antiterrorism Awareness Month on Fort Leonard Wood, it seems fitting to discuss the topic of active shooters, and how they affect us all.
We will discuss active shooters and how you, your fellow service members and even your Family, can be part of the fight against terrorism to help possibly detect an active shooter before anything happens.
The whole purpose behind the Army's iWatch Antiterrorism campaign is to encourage people to report suspicious people, items, or events that seem out of place.
Terrorism is the calculated use of violence, or the threat of violence, designed to infuse fear in governments or society and is usually related to politics, religion or ideology.
When you look at the definition of terrorism, and then analyze the actions that were taken in the earlier examples, it fits into the definition above.
People reacted differently. Some were frightened; most were angered. Everyone handles fear in different ways as shown by the varying responses from fellow citizens. Some, like in the Chattanooga case, took to defending the recruiting stations. Even lawmakers and high-ranking military commanders had a reaction by looking into arming the military recruiters who are out in the communities.
These are some signs to look for, which can be indicators an individual may resort to violence in the workplace:
-- Aggression or threats toward coworkers
-- Presence of unauthorized weapons
-- Abnormal mood swings or depression, withdrawn behavior and paranoia
-- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
-- Suicidal remarks or comments about "putting things in order"
-- Repeated violations of policies, regulations or laws
-- Talk of severe financial problems
While not all of these absolutely dictate that someone will become an active shooter, the point is to raise awareness. One or more of these indicators is a sign that someone needs help, and bringing the perceived indicators to the attention of that individual's leader, chain-of-command or others could prevent an incident before it even takes place.
It is unknown if the individual who opened fire at the Chattanooga recruiting station had shown any previous aggression toward the recruiters. It is also unknown if he had driven past the recruiting station multiple times and observed the parking lot for the best place to commit his egregious crime. Somebody may have noticed something before and just didn't say anything.
All it takes is one person to raise awareness and to get others to pay attention. Stay vigilant. See something, say something. A small piece of the puzzle that looks irrelevant may just be the piece that law enforcement is looking for to complete the picture.
To report suspicious activity, contact the Fort Leonard Wood law enforcement desk at 573.596.0131, ext. 66141, or report what you saw on the iWatch website at www.inscom.army.mil/isalute.
(Editor's note: Honea is an antiterrorism analyst with U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Leonard Wood.)