Terrorizing Ourselves

Who needs actual terrorists?

How’s this for an ill-conceived emergency preparedness drill? An off-duty cop pretending to be a terrorist stormed into a hospital intensive care unit brandishing a handgun, which he pointed at nurses while herding them down a corridor and into a room.

There, after harrowing moments, he explained that the whole caper was a training exercise.

[...]

The staff at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals-Siena Campus, where the incident took place Monday morning, found the exercise more traumatizing than instructive.

Perhaps a better way to phrase it is that they learned to be terrorized.

Posted on June 1, 2010 at 5:54 AM • 64 Comments

Comments

ScottJune 1, 2010 6:24 AM

I submit that he wasn't pretending. If only he knew it was a drill, then it was the real deal for the hospital staff.

BarbieJune 1, 2010 6:39 AM

From the article:

The staff was supposed to have been told in advance of the exercise, but there was a “disconnect,” North said. That won’t happen again, he said.

That's a nice cock-up. Somebody's going to lose their job over that one, I'd bet.

BenJune 1, 2010 6:41 AM

Haha, yeah. I always say it's an exercise when I get caught stealing stuff. People believe it cause I'm an off duty cop.

dbJune 1, 2010 6:45 AM

That sounds like assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. I hope he gets sued.

MaticJune 1, 2010 6:58 AM

The whole point of an exercise is to catch people unprepared and not expecting anything. The conditions and mindsets must be the same as they will be if a real event happens. People must learn not to panic and act rationally instead. People must learn to cope with emotions that surface during such events, so they can process them faster the next time they happen.

This is of course if you are serious about preparedness and doing whats best for the people if an attack would really happen. If you only want to give the people a sense of security (security theater), then publicly announce the drill, call reporters, invite the mayor and have a BBQ afterward.

JonJune 1, 2010 7:02 AM

Our county runs an annual disaster drill using students as mock casualties. Students get makeup and index cards describing their injuries / symptoms for triage. A couple years ago, an exercise planner added "patient has a gun" to a card. The problem is, nobody told the deputies involved that this would be part of the exercise. The deputies handled it well, but the after-action review got a little tense.

Mace MonetaJune 1, 2010 7:09 AM

Intensive care is for critically ill people in need of life support. That no one died is probably very fortunate. I'd also second that this was an act of real terrorism, as people's lives were actually placed at risk. Had one of the staff (reasonably) reacted with deadly force, what would have been the outcome?

vwmJune 1, 2010 7:32 AM

How can anything like that be legal?

Besides, shouldn't cops involve in an emergency drill be "on duty"?

DonaldJune 1, 2010 7:46 AM

The police officer is incredibly lucky that a brave nurse didn't try to take him down with a defibrillator, scalpel, or syringe.

RoyJune 1, 2010 8:02 AM

The problem with pranks meant to scare people is that they might work.

What would have happened if a workman had grabbed a heavy tool, sneaked up on the terrorist, and caved his head in?

It would not be murdering a police officer: it would be killing a terrorist. If someone terrorizes, he is a terrorist,

If a security guard had emptied his Glock into him, I would LMAO.

BrianJune 1, 2010 8:44 AM

@Matic

I'm not sure that making a drill like a "real event" should be more important than all other concerns (like safety and mental health of the participants).

But in this particular case, it seems even more questionable because it's not obvious to me that this prepares them for anything that might actually happen. Terrorists busting into a hospital and taking people hostage with guns was the plot of a JAG episode, I think, but it doesn't seem like a reasonable terrorism scenario in real life.

bickerdykeJune 1, 2010 8:45 AM

@matic:

No. The point of an excercise is to get people to act without panic in an actual emergency.

So the simulation or training should be announced in advance to AVOID panic.

After a few rounds of that, you could stage an unannounced excercise to test the results of the training simulations.

HJohnJune 1, 2010 9:14 AM

These things can backfire on both ends. Someone could easily end up dead by someone who doesn't know its a drill.

On the flip side, someone could be too careless because they think something is a drill when it isn't. If you've been somewhere 5 years, and they have done several "drills" with no actual incidents, it would be easy to mishandle a situation because you falsely thought it was fake.

Andre LePlumeJune 1, 2010 9:16 AM

How often do terrorists attack ICUs?

The answer is NEVER.

This exercise is totally unjustified by any sane analysis.


spaceman spiffJune 1, 2010 9:29 AM

The cop, the planners of the exercise, the police chief, and anyone on the town council or mayor's office or other official that signed off on this should be fired, sued, and tried on terrorism charges.

Clive RobinsonJune 1, 2010 9:32 AM

Having been caught in a real terrorist (wanabi) incident in a hospital (Lewisham London) where a nutter threw a bag of salt flour and food dye around the place screaming in a way that sounded like a Muslim call to prayers. I can assure you it is not at all fun to think you might need decontamination.

Sadly the hospital concerned did not actually know enougvh about it's own internal layout to stop people leaving via the Hospitals internal corridors and rat runs. when the pulled the "lock down".

Thus if it had of been a real NBC attack many people would have carried out into the community. Which in the case of biological contamination would not have been funny at all.

The lesson I took away from it was not that it was the hospitals fault but that buildings such as hospitals for very very many good reasons are not designed to be "locked down".

Thus you have one of this little security problems.

A.J.Nutter decides to become a "hero for the cause".

Nobody on the ground least of all in a decision making capacity knows if Nutter is realy chucking just salt etc around or if it is a real biological hazard.

Further thbey do not know when tbe y go for the lock down if A.J.Nutter is alone or has the rest of the fruit cake with him pretending to be patients / visitors / whatever and when the lock down happens are not going to pull out a bunch of machine pistols and take out thbose who now cannot escape.

For those in charge if it is not a wanabi they realy are in a lose-lose position. And even if it is just a wanabi the chances are people are going to die because of the lock down because life saving medical care is unavailable to them.

So my view is the police officer and any others involved should have their heads examined (preferably with a base ball bat untill they learn not to be so mindlessly stupid).

periJune 1, 2010 9:42 AM

It took me a moment to connect this with something somebody told me about Grey's Anatomy. This is even dumber than you initially suspected: it happened 9 days after Grey's Anatomy aired its season finale with an armed guy in a hospital. So the hospital administrators seem to have trouble telling the difference between fiction and reality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

GeoffJune 1, 2010 9:42 AM

So what, exactly, are they supposed to learn from it?

As has been pointed out, he's lucky someone didn't hurt him. But now, what if someone really does come to shoot up the hospital and no one wants to risk hurting him in case it's another "training exercise"?

periJune 1, 2010 9:46 AM

@Clive Robinson: "A.J.Nutter"

I thought the last name was amusing! Would I be further amused if knew what A. J. stands for?

Simon HollingsheadJune 1, 2010 10:20 AM

This is also an entire plot from the film Johnny English. Rowan Atkinson parachutes onto the wrong building, brandishes a gun at some nurses (thinking they are scientists), then when he realises his mistake, pretends it was a training mission.

aikimarkJune 1, 2010 10:35 AM

I think this kind of thinking will stop when armed citizens shoot an actor in a future mock training event. Then the planners of the event get charged with negligent homicide or manslaughter.

===========
Much simpler exercise...have people stand in front of a mirror and shout "BOO!" -- populace is terrorized. Training goals met. I bet it would be very cost effective as well.

===========
The stupid! It hurts my brain. The goggles do not help.

BrianJune 1, 2010 10:56 AM

We had a drill like this for emergency preparedness at one of the clubs I belong to. I can see how one would think the same methodology applies to being prepared for this type of situation, but if you just ask someone with a brain, they will say its a bad idea.

Nick LancasterJune 1, 2010 11:08 AM

It would seem to me that an ICU has more than enough real-world emergencies and crises to deal with, and is less in need of 'shock' training to simulate a terrorist attack than most places.

Beyond that, why was the drill just in ICU? Why not the whole hospital, particularly the ER? The story is fishy from the git-go.

And the focus of most emergency drills for first responders is to put systems in play - deploy tents, establish triage centers, etc. ... not cope with armed aggressors.

mcbJune 1, 2010 11:18 AM

My favorite impromptu drill gone wrong didn't involve a hospital but is illustrative none the less. On an otherwise quiet evening late in the last century a security officer at Lawrence Livermore Labs was found sleeping in his patrol vehicle. The shift supervisor and the rest of his mates decided to teach him a lesson. They put on their assault gear, fitted blanks adapters on their rifles, and attacked his vehicle to rouse him. He woke up under assault, deployed his sidearm (the only one not loaded with blanks), and shot one of his brother officers (not fatally). Corrective action was had by all.

Nick LancasterJune 1, 2010 11:22 AM


What does "A.J. Nutter" stand for?

Either 'A Jenuine' (from the same people who write signs decrying 'morans') or 'A Jihadist.'

David ConradJune 1, 2010 11:40 AM

I may have become far too cynical, or jaded, or something, but can I just say that I deeply regret that some alert individual in the ICU didn't brain him with an IV stand or some equally handy object.

RHJune 1, 2010 12:02 PM

From what I have read, even the Navy (for whom life-and-death scenarios are real) announces that things are drills, to avoid someone doing their job too well.

As others have stated, all it takes is one person who is willing to solve the problem with a few hundred grains of lead to end a "training exercise." I'm sure these things don't happen often in AZ, where the possibility of someone carrying is not small.

Clive RobinsonJune 1, 2010 12:02 PM

@ Nick Lancaster,

" A Jihadist"

Close but unlike normal you do gat a cigar as it's better than my "J" which is a little crude (think "pull off" but a little stronger ;)

BradJune 1, 2010 12:39 PM

I realize that this incident is MUCH more dramatic but how much different then a typical fire-drill at an elementary school? My daughter is terrified of fire alarms and I can imagine the over-whelming fear until she is told that it is a drill (it still takes another 20 minutes or so to actually convince her that it was only a drill). I imagine her fear is similar to that of the nurses on duty during this exercise. I personally don't agree with the "cops" approach but I am curious as to what the difference between a fire-drill which is perfectly acceptable and a terrorist/loon drill.

kangarooJune 1, 2010 12:41 PM

@matic: The whole point of an exercise is to catch people unprepared and not expecting anything. The conditions and mindsets must be the same as they will be if a real event happens. People must learn not to panic and act rationally instead. People must learn to cope with emotions that surface during such events, so they can process them faster the next time they happen.

Wow -- deep thoughts. So I guess dojos are useless, because the students don't believe that the other students are actually trying to kill them? That it would work better if the other students randomly assaulted them on the streets?

This is the kind of genius thinking that leads to these discordian-style scenarios: pin-heads who don't know it, given their pathology. No, in general a large number of non-live exercises are superior to a single, or small number, of live exercises. One, or a small number, of events do nothing to prepare you for the "real thing" -- the number is insufficient for desensitization, and the panic interrupts the careful and thoughtful practicing of the mechanics.

The point of exercises is to replace conscious thought with automatic responses. That is best done by a large number of primarily slow repetitions, where one develops "muscle memory".

How often does the military use live exercises, where the threat of being shot is equivalent to the battle-field? How often do they actually drown, beat and shoot people? Outside of special-ops, quite rarely -- even when live ammunition is used for say artillery, it's under controlled and relatively safe conditions to desensitize to sound etc., not to desensitize to fear.

The world is full of folks who lack the neurons to recognize their lack of neurons. It's an unfortunate paradox -- the slower you are, the smarter you think you are.

EHJune 1, 2010 1:10 PM

Brad: The difference is that school fire drills are not conducted by running into a classroom and pointing a flame-thrower at everybody.

MelissaJune 1, 2010 1:18 PM

Why was only one cop involved? Sounds fishy to me.
We had an incident here in Knoxville where a nut (literally) took a gun to the hospital and started shooting people when he could not find the doctor he was looking for. Seems he had surgery and thought the doctor did something to him or something totally off the wall. Hospital is last place anyone expected a shooting & there was no warning. It ended very tragically. At least one of his victims died and he shot/killed himself. But could it have been prevented? Doubtful. Most of his victims were standing outside or just right inside. So he never even got that far inside. I do not think we need to worry about terrorists as much as we need to worry about some nut needing his/her drug fix. People are quite often robbing pharmacies around here. Only matter of time before they get braver and start hitting the clinics and hospitals.

bob (the original bob)June 1, 2010 1:34 PM

So, if they had responded as they would in a real attack and shot him to death, would that have been a "success" or "failure" of the drill?

Clive RobinsonJune 1, 2010 1:38 PM

On a more recent note Lewisham
Hospital had a very very unfortunate guest in it's Intensive Therapy Unit (young lad who had been shot for talking to the Police). The circumstances of which where that some of the Met's Gun boys where around the guests bed.

Now they are not going to like it but these gun boys (and girls) are nearly as recognisable as an African Elephant in a pink ballet dress with scarlet toe nail polish, for those who care to recognise the behavioral signs.

One obvious sign is a "superiors" intellect that thinks it's OK to take semi auto guns into an oxygen rich environment were other fuel gases may well be present for more than 10% (almost defines "Hazardous Area). And certainly a lot of flamable material such as wound dressings just to add to the flames.

I ask myself the question, potentialy which is more dangerous?

1, Stray rounds from a semi auto going through modern low density non structural walls.

2, A fire ball in an oxygen rich environment where (anesthetic) fuel gases are expected to pe present.

As the used to say "Answers on the back of a postcard"...

jacobJune 1, 2010 1:54 PM

I would have prefered to have read headline, "Beat to death with a bed pan by terrified hospital staff". This guy is lucky that there wasn't cop guarding a prisoner at the time.

Geek ProphetJune 1, 2010 2:56 PM

@Brad

Why does there have to be a difference? Unannounced fire drills don't happen in ICU units, because they would involve nurses and doctors moving people on life support. Equally good reasons apply to terrorist drills with armed assailants. Even if nobody is moved, how would you like to wake up after a heart attack to see a man with a gun standing behind your family? This sort of thing could *kill* the patients.

However, if you do want the difference:

1. Fire drills are expected events. Terrorist drills are not. Anybody who hears a fire alarm thinks: "Could be a drill". People who see an armed man threatening people do not generally think, "Could be a drill". They think, "Oh, my God! He has a gun!", and for good reason. We've been trained since early childhood to expect fire drills. The same is not true for a terrorist drill.

2. The general public doesn't just expect fire drills, they are trained in what to do during a fire drill. I don't know about you, but growing up my school didn't have a single "terrorist drill". By having this happen in an ICU, they are involving patients and their families, none of whom likely had "terrorist drill" training.

3. The "terrorist" had an actual gun. This is equivalent to a "fire drill" that fills the building with smoke and puts flames outside the windows.

4. If someone believes the fire is real and decides to strike back, the worst they probably will do is make things wet. If someone believes the terrorist is real and decides to strike back, at least one innocent (though arguably stupid) man could be killed, plus untold collateral damage, not limited to the guilt felt by the person who killed them. There is a reason why armed robbery is still armed robbery even if the gun is empty.

CraigJune 1, 2010 3:25 PM

The steps as mentioned should have been that the simulation or training should have been announced in advance as reassurance and to avoid panic.

Then a staged and unannounced exercise such as this to test the results of the training simulations.

People do not need to go to work and be put through this?

AndrewJune 1, 2010 3:53 PM

Active shooter is a credible threat for which many institutions must prepare and train. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman makes the point that school violence is more likely to kill than school fires -- we train for them, we have drills and exercises and emergency equipment.

http://www.killology.com/sheep_dog.htm

Real drills are carefully planned and staged. Everyone knows it's a drill. As someone who has played the role of "panicked bystander," "live hostage" and "executed hostage" when the BDU boys make dynamic entry, it's scary enough when you know it's a drill.

This "exercise" was the height of criminal stupidity. Not because they had guns in hospitals (routine here in California), not because drills aren't a good idea, but because no one had any real idea that it was a drill and Horrible Things can happen as a result. It would have been almost as bad if he were waving a machete around -- same risk of accidental injury, heroic staff or bystander, misinformed CCW or off duty police officer, etc.

>> If a security guard had emptied his Glock into him, I would LMAO.

Endgame for this scenario: dead if stupid cop, arrested and fired security guard eventually and expensively cleared of criminal charges but without much treatment for his acquired PTSD and flashbacks, massive and expensive wrongful death litigation, probably a disarmed hospital security department (even though the guard had done nothing wrong, would you trust these idiots to supervise armed personnel?) and a severely weakened hospital security program resulting in X number of preventable crimes, injuries and deaths for years to come.

Firearms-related training demands meticulous attention to safety procedures. Live drills also demand care and attention. Combining the two ramps up both the intensity and the potential hazard. This was arrogant police and security carelessness at its finest.

No LMAO here.

The ArchonJune 1, 2010 5:28 PM

@Andrew: "Active shooter is a credible threat for which many institutions must prepare and train. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman makes the point that school violence is more likely to kill than school fires -- we train for them, we have drills and exercises and emergency equipment."

Dave "Murder Simulator" Grossman? Uhhh, maybe it's just me but citing one of the people who treated Columbine et al. as a news-media meal ticket isn't helping one's cause at all.

chrisJune 1, 2010 6:30 PM

@ aikimark - I think this kind of thinking will stop when armed citizens shoot an actor in a future mock training event. Then the planners of the event get charged with negligent homicide or manslaughter.

I think not.
---------------------------------------
@andrew - Endgame for this scenario: dead if stupid cop, arrested and fired security guard eventually and expensively cleared of criminal charges but without much treatment for his acquired PTSD and flashbacks, massive and expensive wrongful death litigation, etc.

I think so, except for the "eventually... cleared of criminal charges", about which I have grave doubts. In the States we call it "CYA" - cover your ass. Pick a volunteer and blame him for your errors. Best defense is a good offense, etc. Who are you going to believe, police professionals or some wild-eyed citizen who actually killed somebody who was just doing his assigned job?

AndrewJune 1, 2010 7:22 PM

@The Archon

"Dave "Murder Simulator" Grossman? Uhhh, maybe it's just me but citing one of the people who treated Columbine et al. as a news-media meal ticket isn't helping one's cause at all."

In 1992 through 2002 in California, zero children died from school fires in California.

School shootings? In school fatalities in California numbered 4 in 1992, 1 in 1993, 2 in 2001.

Seven is greater than zero.

School fires are not _ rare, but we have good planning for them.

Active shooters are even more rare but the planning is not as good, contributing to the fatalities. Grossman is a subject matter expert, an ex-U.S. Army Ranger and psychology professor. He is trying to care out a science of killology. You've also got the causality out of order; he was working on his second book ("Stop Teaching Our Kids To Kill") when Columbine happened.

I don't agree with everything he says, but I do feel that he has a very cogent point about preparing to deal with violence generally.

One point Bruce hammers over and over again is how much FUD we create and money we waste preparing for the popularized, sensationalized and hypothetical threats. Unfortunately, workplace violence isn't hypothetical any more than school fires are -- but most organizations and institutions are not as well prepared to handle it.

High risk, high consequence events can't be wished out of existence even when they are relatively rare -- otherwise why bother to plan for earthquakes?

Grande MochaJune 1, 2010 11:02 PM

@ Geek Prophet: 'The general public doesn't just expect fire drills, they are trained in what to do during a fire drill. I don't know about you, but growing up my school didn't have a single "terrorist drill".'

I never had a "terrorist drill" either in my schools while growing up. However, my son's school *does* have such drills.

tensorJune 1, 2010 11:08 PM

"High risk, high consequence events can't be wished out of existence even when they are relatively rare -- otherwise why bother to plan for earthquakes?"

Earthquake zones are well-known and defined. I have experienced several earthquakes: two in Seattle (on the Pacific 'Rim of Fire') and two in New York. The latter two were 4.0 and 3.0 on the Richter scale, and also the biggest New York earthquakes of my lifetime. The Seattle 'quakes shook walls, and were small by local standards. Guess which locale has residents stocking earthquake kits, and which does not?

Hospital security staffs prepare for the threats they expect to face: violent drug users in the ER, possible kidnappings from the Maternity Ward, guarding prisoner patients. As other commenters have noted, when has there ever been an armed assault on the Critical Care ward? Every security resource dedicated to this never-threat represents a theft from the proven threats.

Analogies to the fire drills are also wrong. We're trained from youth to evacuate the building when the alert sounds (or is announced via another method). The danger is being trapped in a burning, smoky building; this situation has claimed countless lives over the ages. What exactly is the danger in terrorist attack: death, or becoming a hostage, or something else? We simply don't know. At my place of employment, we're taught to duck and cover at threat of terrorism, because any response which has us gather (like an evacuation) would simply provide a target-rich environment. (Also, if we innocents are under our desks, it gives responders less trouble in identifying -- and maybe taking down -- the assailant.)

I'm a New Yorker; my sister lost her boss and three other co-workers on 9/11. That attack killed approximately as many Americans as did drunk driving in September 2001. If we lose sight of such proportions, we really have "surrendered to the terrorists."

AC2June 2, 2010 12:42 AM

@tensor: "Earthquake zones are well-known and defined"

Umm no they're not. One may think they live in a non-earthquake prone zone, until the first one (that is in recorded history) strikes.

You really are putting to much store in the geographers' limited knowledge of the earth's crust and tectonic actions..

Its only more probable that a zone where there have been repeated earthquakes (in recorded history) would experience more quakes. And quake prediction (and I mean REAL short term prediction like "There will be an earthquake sometime tomorrow afternoon"), even now, is quackery...

tensorJune 2, 2010 1:22 AM

"Umm no they're not. One may think they live in a non-earthquake prone zone, until the first one (that is in recorded history) strikes."

Please give a modern example.

"You really are putting to [sic] much store in the geographers' limited knowledge of the earth's crust and tectonic actions.."

Again, please give a modern example of a "surprise" earthquake. I believe the closest such example would be the Indian Ocean Tsunami of late 2004, and even that was the result of a known fault line.

"Its [sic] only more probable that a zone where there have been repeated earthquakes (in recorded history) would experience more quakes."

Please acquaint yourself with the science of plate tectonics. It might help you to understand why Japan spends much money on earthquake preparations, whilst Ireland does not.

"And quake prediction (and I mean REAL short term prediction like "There will be an earthquake sometime tomorrow afternoon"), even now, is quackery..."

Um, who had claimed to make such predictions? And that is a comment on the span of geological time, not upon the proven science of plate tectonics.

As for "quackery", when did we last hear of a real assault upon an Intensive Care Unit by a lone gunman? Again, please provide complete, documented examples.

kjrJune 2, 2010 3:13 AM

Had a quick flick through the comments, but couldn't see if this had been raised:

Isn't this also couterproductive in the case of a real terrorist attack? People will not be certain if it is a training drill or not, as it will have been established that drills will be just as realistic and may not be announced.

Also, it might be useful for terrorists to announce that they are performing a drill, which might make people more compliant, and cause people to not alert the authorities.

Raving paranoia, I know, but there are always unintended consequences....

Geek ProphetJune 2, 2010 9:28 AM

@Grande Mocha

Certainly, our children have such drills. However, I'm betting that the majority of people in the ICU as patients and visitors are not school-aged children, but are closer to my age. Those drills won't count as advanced training for the patients and visitors in ICU for about 40 years.

Also, the training for drills in school only counts if the drills are similar. In school, they set off fire alarms for drills. In public buildings, they set off fire alarms for drills. Our training works. The training your kids got in school for drills only counts in this case if the drills in school involved armed men taking all the teachers hostage.

mcbJune 2, 2010 10:44 AM

@ kjr

"People will not be certain if it is a training drill or not, as it will have been established that drills will be just as realistic and may not be announced."

Are you concerned a "real" terrorist might attempt a hostage-taking and everyone present will ignore him thinking it is just another unannounced exercise?

Along those lines one risk of "crying wolf" is that it reduces the likelihood each of us will respond forcefully enough if the real thing were ever to occur.

jdoJune 2, 2010 4:40 PM

@Matic

"The whole point of an exercise is to catch people unprepared and not expecting anything. The conditions and mindsets must be the same as they will be if a real event happens."

Yeah, that's a great idea. So what happens if there's another off-duty LEO in the area, maybe one from a different agency?

One of my cousins is a secret service agent. They're required to have their weapon at all times, and thoroughly trained to react with instant deadly force to incidents like this. What if he was visiting his sister (a nurse) at the hospital? Given the 'conditions', his 'mindset' would be 'exterminate threat'.

G-manJune 2, 2010 6:36 PM

Back in the 90's during my USAF days my co-workers and I were part of an Anti-Terrorism Exercise we conducted during a Readiness Inspection.

Everyone on station knew that Anti-Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness exercises were being done almost non-stop throughout the two-day period, yet when we kidnapped a nurse from a break area (she was one of our team members dressed as a nurse who had infiltrated the clinic), the witnesses still freaked-out. We were using a rental van and we were dressed in black with ski masks. Apparently it was pretty realistic, since a young airman at the entry control point aimed his loaded M-16 right at the windshield of our van (instead of simulating as he should have done).

The problem was that he was too far away to have heard us yelling "Exercise" during the kidnapping but he was apparently able to see the incident...all he saw was two guys with ski masks in the distance grabbing a female nurse and shoving her into the van. We hadn't planned on him seeing the incident, as it was done to see what the witnesses in the clinic break area would report. All three of us saw our lives flash before us! Thankfully he figured it out before he squeezed off any rounds.

BF SkinnerJune 2, 2010 7:12 PM

@Andrew "Active shooter is a credible threat "

Workplace or school shooting is a VERY rare occurance. The risk is negliable. That's why, when it happens, it's BIG news.

In an admittedly personal sample I've been through 3 school fires in K-College (about 17 years) and not a single shooting.

BF SkinnerJune 2, 2010 7:15 PM

@Clive

I think you spend too much time in hospitals. Get out where it's safer okay?

Russell CokerJune 3, 2010 6:32 AM

One important thing to note when considering "fire drills" is that the fire alarm is used for many things other than fires. Gas leaks etc. Most cases where it is triggered in a non-drill everyone expects that it is not a serious risk. If cooking gas has leaked in the basement it's usually not a serious risk, but everyone leaves just in case.

When a fire alarm is tripped in a hotel or other major building an evacuation and a visit from a serious delegation from the fire department is the default response. I expect that most fire alarms in hotels are from pranks, but we all walk slowly (and safely) down the stairs anyway.

A drill for an event which is usually not dangerous when it's not a drill isn't really a worry.

jacobJune 4, 2010 9:03 AM

Have to give some background here. I do have a Conceal carry for a compact .45. I do site visits in a lot of hospitals. This whole thing is nuts and makes me nervous to think about. I normally know when a drill is going on. Not always. If I saw this kind of thing. I really don't know what I would do. He is in actuality unarmed, I am not. He is yelling, threatening staff. Is he yelling "drill"? I would hate to shoot someone for a stupid drill, still. tough call. I would love for someone to give a protocol for this. "Stop, or I'll shoot?" Messed up procedure for a drill...At least put a pink tip on the damn gun. That would at least clue someone in on the drill and give a couple seconds for him to see the gun and say "Drill". my reponse, "ok, put the gun down. Drill over." Just my thoughts. I want to add I have never fatally shot someone and absolutely do not want to.

HerbMJune 4, 2010 10:55 AM

Not only concealed carry holders (yes, Nevada is a "shall issue" state) but off-duty cops (including from other jurisdictions, departments, or commands), and a raft of other possibilities for someone who didn't get the memo who might have legitimately taken defensive action, up to and including killing the 'terrorist'.

This was incredibly stupid.

Years ago the local TV station in New Orleans along with the police did a feature study on whether people would help a crime victim: Among these were the 'kidnapping' of a woman by several men who drug here into a car in front of 1 Shell Square.

It's a wonder no one was killed or seriously injured.

jsJune 8, 2010 6:50 AM

@Simon Hollingshead: talk about a movie plot scenario... The description reminded me about Johnny English, too. Perhaps the cop was also looking for the villain in the next building?

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Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Co3 Systems, Inc..