It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


A solution to school and public area spree killers?

page: 1

log in


posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 01:47 PM
I've been pondering something for awhile and I think this bird is ready to take out and serve. I hope this forum is appropriate as this is not tied to ANY specific recent event or the current political debates raging in our nation.

The thought that sparked this originally was looking at spree killings in a logical and reasoned way. Much the same way I've been taught to diagnose computer problems or while trucking, work mechanical issues a hundred miles from anyone, well enough for a mechanic to understand what's wrong. It's a simpler process here, actually. This isn't about fixing something, it's about breaking it. Let me explain.

In my analysis, there are 4 things a spree killler needs, regardless of where they do it. Be it a School, Mall, Workplace or public square. The basic requirements to the killer don't change. As I see it here, they are:


#1 Access. The shooter must be able to get into the location with the tools to do the killing. I say tools because places like Columbine had almost 100 explosive devices forming the primary means of attack. This isn't even gun related, see?

2. Compliance. The killer requires victims who won't shoot/stop HIM. He needs people who won't fight long enough for him, the killer, to do what his warped plan requires. Even Fort Hood saw this play out as a room full of soldiers, taught the basics (at least) in hand to hand defense and with more inclination to interfere than the average person, was shocked into numb compliance in their role as victims. Armed MP's ended it and obviously, not soon enough.

3. Weapons. A Shooter or Spree Killer needs weapons. This isn't as clear cut as it sounds. Around the same time Sandy Hook happened in the United States, a crazed man did a similar thing in a school half way around the world with a knife. It also made headlines. As mentioned, Columbine used far more explosives (which failed to function) than firearms. In rare cases, people have even gone berserk and killed or maimed with their bare hands.

4. Time This is the MOST crucial thing a Spree Killer needs. As opposed to a contract killer, a crime of passion or a planned murder for personal gain or revenge, a Spree Killer has multiple victims across an undetermined area of space and in most cases, not neatly gathered in one place. This demands time for relatively free movement to hunt and kill the victims he's gone there to kill.


When someone seeks to make a thing or system or plan work, it's a difficult thing at times. Many moving parts or factors MUST all work and work properly. If any one important factor fails, the system fails. In the example of my 18 Wheel truck, the whole thing could and DID come to a sudden dead stop on occasion by things as simple as a $1 fuse, the lack of a $5 tube of grease or picking up a $0.10 nail on the highway. Show's over and Game's over. Until that tiny thing works again? Nothing works. So it is, I approach this problem looking to BREAK the system a Spree Killer requires. Not the whole system...and not every factor. Just ONE. ONE factor he needs to do his evil work. That factor?


Time is a funny thing and it's perceptions. Time can seem like an hour is a few minutes or each moment can seem an hour. It can be a tough thing to conceptualize. I had been a professional driver for 3 years when I first had my epiphany for time and how long seconds really are. A CHP Officer helped that after I told him a car hit my truck about 5 seconds after I stopped. Well, he asked twice many seconds? I was pissed by the 3rd time and he knew it. Who was he to teach me time? Well...He was someone who understood it better than I did. 5 seconds sounds SO short...until you stop and long count that. thousand. PAUSE 2....two thousand PAUSE 3....three thousand PAUSE and so on. It got settled out that it was 2 seconds, not 5 as I'd have sworn to in COURT before he had his lesson on true time at a road side accident scene.

So how does the lesson of a CHP Officer years ago help? The killers NEED time. That is an ABSOLUTE requirement. Seconds matter. It takes less than 3 seconds for an untrained person to change magazines in a handgun. 4 seconds in an AR-15. This is assuming they aren't holding the loaded one and starting from the cold click of an empty chamber. Halve that time, otherwise or with training. Still.. TIME.... This is how and why I've chosen that factor and only that one. It is THAT critical.


Ground Rules

There are people here who have experienced my suggested solutions first hand. There are some who have simply read about them or maybe seen one of them in the real world from a distance. Others already fear them and haven't even seen one function. This is telling and makes quite a statement in itself. What I will go on to outline here is NOT for the weak of heart or soft of will. We're dealing with a problem measured in the dead bodies of innocent people. Solutions that will WORK and not simply look good on paper and for press conferences will RARELY EVER be pretty, easy or to many, acceptable.

It's for the above reason I start this by saying, NOTHING I am suggesting should or would be used outside of an active spree killing situation or other ONGOING and IMMEDIATE threat to life. To enforce and insure that, I would DEMAND as any solution be picked up, laws at state and federal levels be added along with them for their misuse...and with CLEAR, not vague language. EXCEPTIONALLY even a child can literally understand and be comfortable with how and when these measures would be implemented.

The Scenario

You're sitting in a middle class eating place at your favorite shopping mall. You're there with your wife and children. It's not a special day or any occasion this evening but just a time to get out of the house and spend some family time together. You don't have a weapon and for whatever reason, cannot personally do anything to intervene or to stop what is about to happen.


You hear shooting from up the mall breezeway. In initial curiosity, you go to the window and see, as no one outside has begun to react yet. Seconds pass... 5..10..15.. when panic sets in outside. Finally..NOW..people realize just as you do, those were and *ARE* gunshots and screaming which is moving your direction.

Over those 15 seconds, others moved faster. You realize the doors to the rear kitchen area are already locked or barracaded. You cannot run. Your family is with you. This isn't a bar..just an open eating area. There is no effective hiding.

(The gunshots move closer...the screaming louder and more...pain filled, you realize)

You grab your family and frantically turn tables to hide behind, praying whatever is shooting won't come there. It'll move won't visit you this night.

(commotion outside...crashing sounds at entrance)

You now realize the sirens you just started to hear are almost gunfire erupts inside your eating place. You can't be seen..your family, can't be seen. Your in cover! You're safe. ...and those are your final thoughts as the bullets tear right through the CONCEALMENT...not'd sought. You've failed yourself and your family. You're dead and so are they.

How the hell do we stop this scenario playing out?

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 01:48 PM
That scenario is entirely fictional. If I've described a real event too closely, it is purely by accident although it won't surprise me if I have done just that. These happen often enough to make it very possible and that's the problem. Here are 3 solutions which apply in different types of public areas under different conditions of people you'd expect to have among and around the spree killers. The trick is do you disable the shooter without harming or killing the innocents? I've thought it out and here is what I came up with.

Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD)

The video is a shot of it being used at Pittsburgh against protesters. They are also in use on ocean going vessels in anti-piracy/terrorist measures.

This device is no joke and no toy. If can alternately give P.A. style messages announced to a narrowly focused area within a larger open or closed space. It can emit warning tones. It can also produce debilitating and even damaging tones over a wide or very tightly controlled area, depending on setting.

A spree killer cannot kill what he cannot focus on and he cannot focus if his mind is a white flash of pain that won't stop. This won't kill a spree killer. It won't even disable them beyond the period the sound is being transmitted. However, at proper power levels it WILL stop intelligence and reasoning to commit willful acts of pretty much any kind, whatsoever.

Unfortunately, this will take every innocent person to the ground along with the killer. They too will suffer and I make no pretense of that fact. It's a HARD solution to an UNTHINKABLE problem. The alternative used now? Well, the above scenario described it as well as anything could. The cops are coming and can even be heard arriving the killing goes on and on for those inside. This, properly deployed and in SOME examples of public spaces would end that in the time it literally takes to flip a switch or close an automated relay.

Active Denial System (ADS-ACTD)

This next system is also a serious one and can be exceptionally effective while carrying risks. If properly tuned and properly deployed, this can be very effective and a show stopper on the spot. Again, to be effective in any automated way (which it would have to be for a Spree Killer event), it WILL target the killers and victims alike. It WILL drop everyone. That is a POSITIVE THING when the alternative is victims falling from fatal gunshots or knife wounds. Again, this isn't a one-size-fits all solution and deployment would fit well in some places while ineffective in others.

Chemical Agent

CS Gas or the weaker and less effective Pepper Spray commonly carried and sold in stores in small canisters is a very effective debilitating agent if used properly. If used in open streets or parks, it's disruptive but not debilitating as needs to be the impact on an active shooter or killer. Whatever is deployed must work within literal seconds against the vast majority of the population as taken together (Some are immune to Pepper, CS Gas or both, believe it or not) and it must be non-lethal. Unlike LRAD or ADS, there is no turning off a Chemical agent.

The downside can be seen by the response and catastrophe at the Moscow Dubrovka Theater Takeover by Chechen Rebels. On October, 23 2002 between 40 and 50 Chechen Rebels stormed and took over a theater in Moscow. They captured 850 hostages in the attack. This led to a 3 days stand off after which the Russian Special Forces stormed the theater under cover of a chemical agent. The agent they used was Morphine like in it's effect and was NOT properly deployed. A total of 50 terrorists were killed. Unfortunately, so were 117 hostages. A majority of them died from the chemical agent and NOT action by hostage takers or the Russian forces. This is the cautionary tale.

If properly researched for effects in the area considered for it's use, proper deployment and quantity is used, this can be effective in closed spaces. It rounds out the 3 solutions as the cheapest and least controversial among those not familiar with the 3 ideas presented here as a whole. In reality, it's likely the riskiest of the 3 and actually would require the most care in developing an effective system which is based on it.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 01:48 PM


It's important to close out this final section as I started this thread by reminding the readers just what these solutions are meant to address. They are hard solutions. They are ugly and perhaps even brutal solutions and if improperly used, they are outright dangerous solutions.

If properly planned and built for deployment in public areas, they are also the most EFFECTIVE solutions, in my view. One by one, lets see how they may best be used?


LRAD would best be deployed and used in an automated way and in conjunction with either human observation by way of existing security and/or police depending on circumstance or by gunshot tracking system. The Gunshot tracking is a system current in use in multiple U.S. cities and simply triangulates with a high degree of accuracy, where a gunshot originated from. If in an automated arrangement, the beam could be directed to focus on the point of fire and surrounding area. Degree of energy applied would vary by the nature of the location, A Schoolyard wouldn't have the same as a secure location, for instance. Within a closed space such as a hall or class room? The effect would require careful testing and measurement but would be devestating in an active killer scenatio.


ADS is designed for large areas and would best cover shopping areas, parking lots, sports facilities or large workplaces.


Chemical Agent is best reserved for the most critical and most essential of areas where failure ABSOLUTELY CANNOT HAPPEN. Schools, Daycare Centers or other locations of extreme sensitivity is where I would imagine this best fitting. The details for activation on this would need to be determined.

Anyway, that is my take and offer of 3 approaches to solve and not simply address the problem once gunshots or explosions have occurred and the event is ongoing. People ARE dying by then. Harm to others is secondary to saving their LIFE. Having some people with nightmares of burning alive is preferable to them actually dying that way or worse by the hands of an active killer.

In a situation where there is NO winning and only a choice between losing small or losing BIG, I hope I've offered at least some good for thought in how to help insure the loss is small and not total ...or worse..determined by the killer at his leisure for personal reasons or running out of functional weapons to kill with.

I'd be happy to hear what others have to add or comment. Thanks for the time to read it!

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 02:14 PM
Attack ! As a public service keep hammering into peoples heads that if you're in a public place and hear gunshots close by your best chance of survival might be to charge the sound before you even know what you face .

Look at how it's happened on airline flights , maybe not with guns but the principle is the same ; these people know that if they don't do it it won't get done , at least not in time . ( good luck with that 911 call )

It already happens occasionally , we ought to be reminded that we are CITIZENS and it is our job to maintain the peace . We only hire cops because for various reasons we don't feel like doing it .

I still have time on an edit so I thought I'd come back and apologize , I guess I started an answer before you were done . I take care of of a mother with alzheimers who's mission in life is to stop me from doing anything on a computer , so I'm usually both distracted and in a rush .

I love the soundwave weapon , I always have . But I have A-fib and that makes me very short-winded , so a gas attack could very well kill me , when it comes to crowds keep in mind that there could be many people with similar problems .
edit on 22-1-2013 by thudpuddy because: had to add something

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 02:20 PM
Nicely done, Wrabbit2000! No wonder you're so widely admired.

I've liked the chemical system for some time. It seems as though it could piggy-back on the sprinkler systems which every building already has. It would be far quicker than the LRAD, and just triggering it would set off a building-wide alarm and place an emergency call. If we added automatically locking doors we could restrict movement (if he happens to come in with a gas mask).

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 03:25 PM
Kudos my friend!!! S & F ,very well thought out and presented I know this may only be a starting point, but hell you definitely got the ball rolling. Please forward that presentation to a congressman or senator, maybe they'll use it. I'd take a chance with that rather then give up my 2nd amendment rights.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 03:30 PM
reply to post by charles1952

I agree that if he had a gas mask it may just incapacitate the victims, thats why I like the LRAD best. Even if someone were to pass out and the perp had earplugs he'd still be incapacitated enough to delay the carnage.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 03:31 PM
reply to post by iwontrun
I hadn't considered sending this to anyone beyond just the thread here at ATS. Thanks for the suggestion. I may just add some work and refinement on this and do just that. Maybe the right staffer or assistant would see it and get some ideas to suggest up the line from there? Thanks!

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:59 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

The way I see it, the real answers to most of the problems being discussed lie in reforming the way households and communities function...I think a person is well served by having a wide support system beyond their family. The more good relationships a person has the less likely they are to do something harmful.

I think the community is also served by advanced knowledge of a person who may be on the slide toward psychotic behavior. Time being the most important requirement is a great observation....and it extends to the planning stages as well. How long is the period between a mass shooter conceptualizing the act and carrying it out? Probably a long enough period where if there were a supporting community around the person a change in behavior might be noticed and the crime thwarted.

Creating a society that minimizes these events, in my opinion, comes from better education and health systems that function as locally as possible. Building strong communities...

And there lies the problem. Because truly solving any of the issues that America faces is likely a long term task. Our economic, governance, and social problems are rooted so deep that eradicating them in the short term is probably impossible. So even if we start taking the steps NOW, which is unlikely, to building better communities- we still face threats like mass shootings, terrorism, or market collapse for the short term.

Considering all of saddens me that things such as those you describe in this thread may be needed. Measures like these are effective, sure. But we don't want to normalize atrocities. Reforms in security should only be a short term bandage while we address the root issues of why our society is dysfunctional.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 07:22 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

In the final analysis I have to agree with everything you're saying here. A change in society and starting with the home and family structure likely is the only true solution to this.

After all, what drives a teen or adult to become a spree killer in the first place is as much a lack of moral foundation and deep sense of right and wrong as any availability of weapons or the will to use them. One still must be willing to live with the consequences when a crime is committed this way as opposed to a heat of the moment crime of passion. The other case, of course, is worse. They aren't willing to live with it at all and have simply chosen to end their own lives after taking as much of the world they can reach, with them.

Your second point, unfortunately, is also true though. This solution is the only effective one but is also the longest and most difficult. It lends itself to no easy answers by adding funding to something or creating a new program/law. No action by politicians or police can bring this solution into reality. Each home, parent and family member in a child's life has to participate in bringing this about.

Long term thinking, planning and execution of logical approaches to problems seems out of favor, to say the very least. If it's not fast food quick, it's deemed a failed approach or hardly worthy of the attempt. All the while, ideas as I presented here probably represent the type that will work best for the reality we face.

Finally, in your assessment of the overall situation we do find ourselves in? It's with sadness I must agree with this final sentiment. It is an exceptionally bad time when we have to look to the mechanical and the physically risky solutions to stop what is so much worse otherwise. The fact these problems occur outside the rarest case of true criminal insanity is the saddest thing of all.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 07:26 PM
There is a psychologist/psychiatrist who specializes in this sort of thing and he has stated that he advised every major media outlet on how to handle the coverage of such so as not to encourage more copycats....and they did the opposite.

I'll see if I can find a link.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 09:48 PM
My solution is heavily armed Blackwater thugs who will shoot dead anyone suspicious who comes through the door. No questions, no ID, just a bullet.

ME comes and hauls the carcass away and everyone goes on with their day.

top topics


log in