If the President is to appear anywhere in public we see massive security. Inside everyone attending is checked. Outdoors, rooftops are secured and surroundings are constantly scanned. Helicopters overhead survey the entire area. Sharpshooters are there to respond. These efforts are totally understandable as our presidents have far too often been attacked, some with fatal results. They’re always a target. What has changed is the attending crowds and indeed crowds anywhere are now targets. We have developed elaborate actions to protect our president but crowds as the world is now realizing haven’t been given needed protection. The horror in Las Vegas underlines this simple fact.
Crowds not only appear for special events but naturally occur in tourist, recreational, commercial and work areas. Anyone of these must now be considered a potential target and given the kind of thoughtful and effective protections we give our leaders. All crowd sites need to be evaluated as to potential threats. Indoor venues are easier to protect but even there we need to tighten up on who gets in with what. The Orlando attack at the Pulse Nightclub points up the people responsible for and benefiting from the gathered crowds are responsible for their safety. Outdoors the problem grows exponentially. Every area needs to be analyzed as to its accessibility to various threats. Every location needs to be looked at from the prospective of potential mass murderers. Is it susceptible to using a 19 ton cargo truck as was done in Nice France resulting in 86 dead and 486 injured? Is it open to firearm attack such as in Las Vegas resulting in 58 deaths and 489 injuries? Would well placed explosives prove more devastating as in the Oklahoma City Bombing that produced 168 deaths and 680 injuries? Could there be any other form of attack?
So what can be done. For enclosed areas we could do a lot worse than mimic Steve Wynn’s protocols in force at Wynn Resorts providing for the safety of his guests with the least amount on inconvenience. For the far more difficult outdoor areas we must assess the danger points at each site and constantly monitor the area with special emphasis on those points. Well positioned cameras and people doing physical scanning would help, but patrolling with drones would be far more flexible therefore superior. Just knowing they might be out there watching could be a great deterrent. Knocking out hotel windows would be probably be noticed. Arming the drones would have to be balanced in relation to the perceived threats. Even the ability to shoot spikes in the path of a speeding vehicle could prevent mayhem. The air space above any endangered location should be the sole province of security drones.
There is no reason for anything larger than passenger autos to be close to crowded sites. Deliveries should be restricted to off hours when few people are present. Route the big stuff away from exposed crowds. While a car can do great damage, it is much easier to stop than say a 19 ton truck. Where possible even autos should be kept away from crowds.
A combination of mobile weight stations and bomb sniffing dogs should be used to monitor vehicle entry into congested areas. A lot of explosives can’t help but add weight. The Las Vegas shooter had over 50 pounds of explosives and sixteen hundred rounds of ammo in his car maybe adding a hundred pounds. A single driver in a car that weighs more than it should as it rolls over a mobile scale while a camera identifies make and model would be subject to search. Any obvious weight saving such as tearing out seats or smaller wheels would be a giveaway. Traveling light then would be preferred in order not to spend time from being searched. This would make overweight causing explosives even more obvious. Dogs have really been found to really be our best friend where explosives are concerned. Let’s use them. Maybe someone has ideas we haven’t thought of and we can hear them.
What we would have is a security package of drones, car barriers with no trunks present and mobile weight and identification stations supported by bomb sniffing dogs for any vulnerable area. This is a plan for a deterring a maelstrom. Remember the people who would commit mass murder are out to do just that. As we’ve seen they have more than one option to achieve their vile purpose. Timothy McVeigh surely had access to firearms but determined he could do far more harm with explosives. Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhiel had a firearm but did his horrible damage with a massive truck. Stephen Paddock had access to explosives but chose firearms instead. We need to be ready for anything.
Unfortunately, since The Las Vegas tragedy we have heard only speculation as to motive and cries pro and con on gun control. Motive would be nice to establish a profile, but even Wynn’ Resorts’s Stephen Paddock guest profile showed absolutely nothing that would’ve given warning. What might have helped, however, was his protocol of investigating an abnormal time for displaying a do not disturb sign.
The worst part of our response to this calamity has been the retreat into our warring tribes on gun control to the exclusion of even discussing real actions such as the ones we’ve proposed that could actually save lives and prevent mayhem. Again real problem solving is overwhelmed by our cultural antagonisms. Again nothing will get done. Add this to taxes, the national debt, health care and underclass progress where our divisions preclude any real action. Democrats may make gun control a rally the base fund-raising issue just as the Republicans used “Repeal and Replace” of Obamacare but neither goes forward. A year from now, will we be safer by adopting the commonsense proposals such as we’ve made here or will we be still fruitlessly arguing over one method of mass murder to the exclusion of actually saving lives. Given the fact of the 2nd amendment, change even if it ever comes would take a great length of time. Even then the bad people as we’ve seen have other options. We’ll probably never fully understand why someone wants to kill innocent strangers but we know that some will try in the future. We have to be ready. We are all the target.