This is a guest post from my friend Ron Borsch. Ron has compiled one of the most inclusive active killer incident databases in the world. His perspective on the issue is an important one.
ACTIVE KILLER ACTIVITY: GOOD AND BAD NEWS©
Copyright 2015 Ron Borsch
We recently took a five year glimpse at the incidents that fit our protocol for Rapid Mass Murder© (RMM) by an active killer (available HERE). This time we are sharing research that reveals we are presently on track for 2015 to tie the lowest incidence of RMM in the last decade. On average over the preceding decade, the first half and last half of each year have been about evenly split 50/50 with RMM incidents.
When this was written, June 2015 was not quite over. Our Stopwatch of Death© database revealed only three incidents of RMM for the first half of 2015. While a rash of RMM could always occur in the last half year, presently we are looking at simple math that reveals optimistically, we could end the year with six or less RMM. For example, the first half of 2006 and 2007 were three RMM, with both years ending with five and six respectively. The lowest number of RMM incidents in the last decade was five in 2006. The highest was seventeen incidents, (2012).
ACTIVE KILLERS IN CHURCHES
In our PACT law enforcement only newsletter we recently announced that RMM in churches were receding. They fell from 3rd place to 4th and finally 5th place, all a blessing. Unfortunately, on 061715 Emanuel AME church in Charleston SC experienced a RMM that killed nine parishioners including the Pastor, who were engaged in Bible study. Cornell William Brooks, president of NAACP, said “There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture”. We agree of course, having used and preferred the “coward” term for years in place of mentioning the coward’s name. We have also campaigned to shun, and suggest others, especially the media, shun names and pictures as well. Logically, it is part of removing the motive for those with “Numerous Unstable or Troubling Symptoms”© that seek attention by achieving “Instant Celebrity Status” in infamy. When and if these immature minds no longer see the names and pictures of active killers in the media, most would lose interest if they would fail to elevate themselves from nobody-status to allegedly becoming a “somebody”.
Typically in RMM incidents, these murderous cowards prefer unarmed defenseless victims. Therefore they favor places where the law, rule or signs prohibit law abiding citizens to carry firearms. As a result, active killers over time have only been stopped in half of these RMM incidents. This means in half of these incidents, “the killing stops only when the active killer says it stops”. In the other half, on-site unarmed citizens, many of whom died trying, have been the majority factor in stopping the killing, initiated by a “Single Actor Lifesaving Others”© (SALO), 80% of the time. Of course, had honest law-abiding qualified citizens been allowed to carry firearms, many more incidents could be prevented or at least death and injuries would be greatly reduced.
The minority factor in successfully stopping the killing has been law enforcement, initiated by “Single Officer’s Lifesaving Others”© (SOLO), 70% of the time. LE is handicapped by multiple factors such as: Rapidness of mass murder; Delays in notifying law enforcement; Distance-Response time and Locating time All of this should lead to the conclusion that: “Since we cannot keep bad persons with guns out, logically we should welcome good persons with guns in”. For law abiding parishioners with a concealed carry license in Ohio, information on how they may legally carry in church can be found HERE.
TWO DIFFERENT TIMELINES: KILLER VS POLICE
Typically, when a surprise ambush shooting at a school, church or workplace starts, there is an understandable delay in notifying law enforcement, (“5 to 7” minutes via Ed Sanow). Here, it is key to understand that there are TWO different timelines: The timeline of active killer’s murdering time are “A to B” and the timeline of police response and action is “C to D”. Rapid Mass Murder© (RMM) can and has occurred almost anywhere. Typical police intervention has been historically too late to stop the killing or mitigate casualties, but we have been doing much better in recent years. For example, in 2013 there were 10 RMM incidents and it was the first time in recent history where in all of that years incidences of RMM the good guys stopped the killing. Also for the first time, in 2013 law enforcement stopped more incidences of RMM than the already on-site citizens. Common targets have been K-12 schools, universities, workplaces, offices, churches, malls, or any typically unarmed victim-rich environment. Most commonly, serious injury and death has already begun when police are called. Generally there are two types of law enforcement responses to an active killer:
(1) KNOWN INJURY AND OR PROBABLE MURDERS
The typical law enforcement active killer response is usually based on probable cause via a telephone report. The call taker quickly gathers “WHERE and WHAT” is happening, then dispatches officers. Responding officers may or may not get any more relevant information before their arrival. The typical RMM incident places law enforcement in the unenviable position of trying to catch up to an active killer, who is -99% alone, who started first and is racing to complete his body count before police can stop him. The very few active killer known shooting times are averaging +/- 6 minutes (including two 15 second events). Obviously, the total law enforcement response effort to stop the killing is extremely time-sensitive. Arriving on site, absent any further information to locate the killer such as sight, sound, smell, intelligence or intuition, it will be the first arriving officer’s job to go get it. Those that would prefer to round up a “Posse” of multiple officers first, while innocents are being rapidly murdered are negligently missing the point of their oath to protect citizens and stopping felonies in progress.
(2) “PRE-NOTIFICATION”, NO KNOWN INJURY OR DEATH
It is rare for law enforcement to be fortunate enough to receive pre-notification of an actual active killer event about to happen. The “potential” however, is always there. In actuality, the call may be merely about an out-of-place suspicious person perhaps wearing clothing or carrying something that could conceal deadly weapons. Unfortunately without overt action here, there is no way of telling whether we have someone planning or setting up a RMM until after contact is made, (revealing a deadly weapon, numerous rounds of ammunition, Etc.), or an attempt to kill actually starts. Lacking any probable cause information to believe that a RMM was about to occur, the suspicious person may call for an extra cautious but prompt field contact.
On the other hand, a report of a person or persons visibly displaying and or threatening with a deadly weapon would certainly be a red flag. For example, a man-with-gun report would require man-with-gun strategy and tactics. Along with prior training experience and knowledge, the strategy and tactics should be based on the perceptions and reasonableness of the on-site contact officer/s. Deadly force is always an on-site individual officer judgment call, frequently made in a split second either in defense of innocents or self-defense of the officer/s.
MOTOR-VEHICLE-MOW-DOWNS, MURDER BY CRIMINAL ISLAMISTS
In these MVMD incidents, parts of our RMM protocol, (… four or more murdered or attempted … in the same public place), may not qualify for our “Stopwatch of Death© database because some of the victims were in different locations. However, we still need to monitor this increasing method of murder. In previous law enforcement newsletters we warned of both active killers and terrorist’s use of Non-firearm murder methods being increasingly used. In polite company we would not normally discuss this, but the criminal militant minority of a minority Islamists are not polite company. Multiple MVMD incidents have occurred in the USA, but due to a touchy-feely lack of accurate in-depth reporting, most folks are not aware of this newer method of “Low profile under-the-news radar” and details of terrorist murders. Islamists using motor vehicles to purposely murder and injure innocents are at it again, this time in Graz Austria where the criminal driver killed three and injured 34 including exiting the SUV and stabbing people. (HTTP://WWW.JIHADWATCH.ORG/2015/06/AUSTRIA-MUSLIM-DRIVES-CAR-INTO-CROWD-KILLING-3-THEN-GETS-OUT-AND-STABS-PASSERSBY)
Islam terrorism expert Robert Spencer starts his article with orders issued from the Islamic state:
“Last October the Islamic State issued this call to Muslims in the West: ‘if you are not able to find an IED [improvised explosive device] or a bullet … smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him. If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car or business. Or destroy his crops.’ But as usual, police are not investigating this as terrorism-related, and instead are assuming the Muslim perpetrator was mentally ill”. This 26 year old Austrian, a truck driver by trade, was misreported as “mentally disoriented” to avoid calling him what he was, a criminal Islamist murderer acting under the ISIS “call to Muslims in the West”.
ACTIVE KILLERS AND BLACK SWAN ATTACKS
In his book “Lone Wolf Terrorism,” author Jeffrey D. Simon speaks of “black swan” attacks as unique, novel terrorist incidents that nobody has previously thought possible. He credits Nassim Nicholas Taleb for the three main attributes of a black swan from his book “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable”:
(1) “It is an event that is an outlier, since it lies beyond the realm of normal expectations. (2) It has extreme impact. (3) Even though we never expect such an event to occur, we tend to come up with explanations for it after its occurrence, which then makes the black swan explainable and predictable”.
Here, we make the case that these are also the traits of an active killer attack. For example, the unenlightened and simplistic Utopian expectations in a school, church or workplace are that their site will NOT be attacked, as if “They will always occur somewhere else”. As no surprise, RMM always has extreme impact as well, especially in schools and churches. And of course afterwards, we also tend to come up with vindications which “allegedly” makes the active killer attack explainable and predictable. Since words have meaning, the active killer term is “NOT interchangeable, with the totally neutral term active shooter. Active killer, (“One who commits/attempts Rapid Mass Murder”©), includes all methods of murder and is not merely firearm specific.
On assassins in “Lone Wolf Terrorism” regarding terrorist groups and lone wolfs, Simon notes “The lone assassin possesses his own secret which he will not consciously betray”. Active killers are also assassins of a sort, but in the case of immature minds and some narcissists, they do not keep their plans “secret” as well. Of course, other people must share blame for failing to report and prevent tragedy when they get hints and questionable clues about a person who has “Numerous Unstable or Troubling Symptoms”. These would be such things as a suspects prior actions, verbal declarations, video, pictures, Etc. especially on the Internet.
“CHANCE FAVORS THE PREPARED MIND”
Our friend Massad Ayoob is fond of saying “Chance favors the prepared mind”. Understanding both chance and whatever we can of the tracking history of RMM, gives us the opportunity to prepare our minds, to make plans for those we want to guard and protect. Further, we can helpfully enable others by suggesting what they can do to help themselves before law enforcement can get there, is key to their preparation. Leonard Pitts Jr., in his “It wasn’t a surprise” column, (062215 Cleveland Plain Dealer), about the SC Church murders, wrote “But one thing let no one dare to call it, and that is ‘surprising’. This attack can be regarded as surprising only by the very innocent, the very ignorant, and those who have not been paying attention”.
As the reader can surmise, there is evil in our world, and active killers are part of this evil. Sir Robert Peel, founder of the English Police system, emphasized that the police are the public and the public are the police. As a term of endearment for Peel and English police officers, they are referred to as “Bobby’s”. In America, we need more of this citizen solidarity with law enforcement officers, especially the eyes and ears of the public contributing to prevention and or early warning about active killer candidates.
“We suggest, you decide”
About the author: Ron Borsch manages and is the lead consultant for the PACT Consultant Group, which trains LE officers and does some Pro-Bono work for civic groups such as Churches. In the name of and supported by the seven SEALE Chiefs of police, Ron is also the founder and 1998-2015 was the manager and lead trainer for SEALE Regional Training Academy in Bedford Ohio, a post-graduate facility. Ron built the academy LE client base to over 100 agencies from ten states. After enlistment in the U.S. Army, and serving with the 101st Abn Paratroopers, (Viet-Nam 1965-1966), Ron had a career with Bedford PD, serving decades in patrol, including duel responsibilities serving as Rangemaster, Pistol Team captain, DT/Arrest control instructor, SWAT operator and trainer. Ron is also a staff instructor with the Kent Martial Arts Club.