By Michael Morrison (Leonard Wood)August 31, 2017
Historically, antiterrorism, force protection and physical security efforts have focused primarily on terrorists or other organized groups of aggressors.
It has become more common for lone aggressors or homegrown violent extremists to plan and execute relatively coordinated incidents involving ramming people or knife attacks that, much too often, result in serious injuries and/or the death of large numbers of personnel.
There are some recent incidents of this happening in major cities across the world. It's way too soon to forget about the London Bridge attack where eight people were killed and multiple more injured. If those thoughts were beginning to fade away, the recent Barcelona's Las Ramblas promenade, killing 13 and injuring 120, is a more recent instance.
School is back in session for most of the nation now, and we need to deal with the idea that while we want our children and grandchildren to be safe in that environment, there is a chance that something could go wrong.
Our children are in school for nearly 40 hours each week entrusted to someone else's care.
Are they prepared? Is the school secure? Is there a trained outside police agency? Have we talked to our children about their personal safety and do we have a communication plan in case of an emergency?
Thank goodness our schools have outstanding school resource officers to protect our children, and well-trained law enforcement to protect our communities.
Like the other topics we've discussed this month, it comes down to the three words:
Take the time to educate yourself and your loved ones on the topics and issues that concern you.
Be positive and proactive. Don't abdicate your safety to someone else. Understand you can make a difference and don't have to be a victim.
Ask those questions; make that plan, and then practice the plan.
There are numerous sources about active shooters and school violence and how they can be interrupted in several ways.
One statistic that speaks out is those people that have been trained in "Run, Hide, Fight" have a better chance of surviving an incident.
Understandably, this is a sensitive topic. There is no single answer for what to do, but a survival mindset can increase the odds of surviving.
In almost every case of these active shooters, there were warning signs surrounding the behavior of the individual(s) involved. Many noticed, and very few followed up and reported them.
We've asked for your help every day in this battle on terrorism by reporting anything suspicious and by adopting the "See something, say something" mindset.
You can make a difference, however small you think your role is. Victory starts with you. Stay vigilant, proactive and safe.
(Editor's note: Morrison is an antiterrorism officer for the Fort Leonard Wood and Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Antiterrorism Office.)