How You Can Prevent Mass Shootings

Written by Ryan Stancil
Posted June 8, 2019

12 dead. 5 injured.

That's the toll of the recent shooting in Virginia Beach, which took place on Friday, May 31 at a municipal building.

The shooter was an employee of the city. All of the victims in the incident were either city employees or contractors. Six of the victims were employees of the city's public utilities department, which is the same department the shooter belonged to.

Just hours before the shooting began, the perpetrator, DeWayne Craddock, turned in his resignation. By all accounts, he was in good standing with his employer, with no ongoing disciplinary issues.

Eyewitnesses say that he displayed no unusual behavior before the attacks. In his adult life, his only brushes with the law involved minor traffic violations.

In the past few years, Craddock was known to have legally purchased a number of guns, including a pair of .45 caliber handguns, which were used in the shooting.

In the week since the shooting, much has been said about gun violence and the need for tighter gun restrictions. Less has been said about how this is the latest of a seemingly rising trend of workplace violence.

The Trend You Don't Hear About

The shooting in Virginia Beach was one of the worst incidents of workplace violence in the past 10 years, but it's hardly the only one. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 2 million Americans experience workplace violence. And those are just the cases that are reported.

2016 saw 500 workplace homicide victims, 10% of all fatal occupational injuries. Many of those, like the Virginia Beach incident, were committed with a gun.

In some cases, co-workers and witnesses will recall warning signs in retrospect. In others, like Virginia Beach, the violence comes suddenly and without warning. Either way, the trend is a disturbing one that serves as a bullet point on a long list of reasons for why it seems like the world is becoming an increasingly dangerous place.  

Some jobs are more prone to experiencing it than others. Health care workers, teachers, retail workers, and law enforcement officers are among those who are at the highest risk. But, really, it's something that can happen anywhere, at any time, for any reason.

And when something like the Virginia Beach shooting happens in the workplace, the renewed calls for increased security always follow closely behind.

The Steps to Prevention

The building where DeWayne Craddock carried out his attack had minimal security. Only passes were required to access employee areas, and he still possessed his, having just resigned from his job.

So, sadly, there wasn't really a system in place to keep him from carrying out his attack.

Politicians in the state have all sounded off on the incident, with responses ranging from offering condolences to sensible, if not vague, promises to "do something". Senator Tim Kaine, in particular, was quoted as saying that he would "keep pushing for Congress to take action to prevent the daily scourge of gun violence in America."

All too often, the gun debate gets slowed down by partisanship. This always leads to slow, incremental changes if any developments emerge at all.

And while the debate rages, people like DeWayne Craddock are free to exploit lax security to act out their rage on undeserving co-workers and people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But there is a way to prevent this from happening.

Technology exists, able to hide in plain sight, with the ability to detect when a person is carrying a weapon. Whether that's a knife, a gun, or an explosive device, the system is able to recognize it when the person gets close enough. Going a step further, it can also scan a person's face. It will not only match that person's face a database, but can do things like determine the person's mood.

This all makes it possible to figure out a person's intent and alert the authorities accordingly.

It would especially be useful in situations like Virginia Beach, where the shooter had access to the area and wouldn't look out of place being there at first glance.

This technology is already proven. It's in place in stadiums, concert venues, and other high-traffic areas in a non-intrusive way. No one besides the operators and venue owners knows it's there.

It can be hidden in advertising kiosks, behind digital signs, and within screens that would draw the eye and make someone look up. This means it can go just about anywhere: Hospitals, schools, stores, hotels.

And only one company owns the technology.

So it stands to benefit financially when this solution is put in place to keep other incidents like the one in Virginia Beach from happening again. If you get in now, you can save lives and take advantage of the profits to come while doing so.

Keep your eyes open,

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Ryan Stancil
Contributing Editor, Outsider Club

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