Active Shooter Security Training Needed for Members of the Media
By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
This week, there was another fatal school shooting. This one happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The shooting spree left 17 people dead and over 14 others wounded. It also sparked renewed discussion about gun control and how to prevent future active shooter incidents.
As this shooting unfolded, multiple news media rushed to report from the site. Some news sources showed footage of the scene and the triage set up by fire and emergency medical services departments. Other news outlets later reported that the shooter tried to escape punishment by blending in with the students and staff being evacuated.
Media Should Be Careful Not to Air Information that Potential Shooters Could Use
The United States has several very important freedoms – including freedom of the press and freedom of speech. But it is particularly important during incidents such as the Douglas High School shooting to prevent the media from sharing too much information.
Unfortunately, active shooter situations have increased. To keep aspiring shooters from making their attacks more successful and lethal, any discussion of a shooter’s tactics should not appear in the mainstream news. By receiving security training about what information not to divulge, reporters could help lessen the lethal effects of any future shooter incidents.
Balancing Free Speech with the Need to Keep Criminals from Learning Dangerous Information
Members of the media perform an important public service by reporting events so that citizens can understand what is happening. This reporting is politically important because it keeps citizens informed about their government. Free speech is so fundamental a right that the founding fathers included free speech in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution.
The advent of the Internet and developments in computer science and technology have made it quite easy for criminals to research information that could help them carry out mass shootings. Members of the media must learn more about security boundaries and how to prevent vital information from falling into the wrong hands.
As we’ve seen from numerous active shooter incidents, criminals learn from each other. Unless news outlets become more cautious in what they release to the general public, there will be more security threats in the future.
Determining What the Public Should Know Is Difficult, but Not Impossible
Finding the balance between keeping the public informed and withholding specific information on active shooter incidents will be difficult. But that balance must be found to protect the general public.
Any information about the tactics of active shooters, the types of weapons they used and any other pertinent information should never be released to the public. Safeguarding such information will become increasingly important to saving lives and preventing active shooter situations in the future.