The Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Mass Shooting: Looking Back, Thinking Forward

Mike White

October 1, 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting was the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in our nation's history.

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As the I reflect on the tragic events that occurred in Las Vegas on the evening of October 1, 2017, I think about how many lives were changed, directly and indirectly, in a matter of 10 minutes. It was the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in our nation's history. Approximately 60 people were killed and over 850 were injured. Many security risk professionals who visited the site, such as myself, struggle with imagining the shocking magnitude of what happened and determining strategies for predicting and preventing something like this from happening again.

Honoring the Heroes

Honoring the first responders who ran toward the danger is essential. They struggled to zero in on the shooter's location and then, in some cases, were pinned down because they didn't have the firepower to respond to the attacker's high-powered arsenal and the 1,000 rounds he expended. Many of them put their lives at risk to save others. These brave men and women included law enforcement officers and SWAT team members from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as well as off-duty personnel attending the event from agencies such as the U.S. Navy, Rhode Island State Police, Utah Army National Guard and – in the case of a British soldier – 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards.

Learning From the Event – and Looking Forward

Did we learn something from this tragedy? Did we develop better measures to help anticipate, prevent and respond to a long-range active shooter threat with precision fire from an elevated position and the like? Can we pull some "good" out of this bad? Yes, we did. And we'll continue to do so. Our assessments of routine gatherings and events must now consider extended perimeters for multiple threats that, in the past, we only planned for in extreme circumstances, such as Presidential or Head of State visits or events with intelligence suggesting terrorism.

Working Together to Make Sure This Never Happens Again

Prevention is critical and can be achieved with a thorough, professional security assessment. It is also essential to have an emergency response plan with a key understanding of first responder capabilities and life-saving options that can be put into place for the event. The risk of a similar horrific event like this is greatest for outdoor venues that are scheduled and identifiable. That said, extending perimeter security around structures, key corporate locations and areas with high pedestrian traffic is also a best practice that can provide enhanced safety and security.

Jensen Hughes can assess the security risks, threats and vulnerabilities confronting organizations and special events and help develop successful strategies and plans for managing emergencies. Learn more about our security assessment and risk management services.

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About the author

Michael White
Mike led and directed hundreds of Secret Service Special Agents, Specialists, Sworn Officers and support staff.

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