It’s important to note that the Pulse nightclub killer exchanged gunfire with a police officer working security at the venue. The officer was unable to stop the murderer, who proceeded to kill 50 and wound dozens more. This backs-up our conclusions drawn from our school shooting simulation. When a killer attacks, the first person he targets is armed security. Given that action beats reaction, the chances are high that the perpetrator will neutralize the security first and proceed with impunity. Unless, of course, he or she encounters further armed resistance.
Specifically, armed civilians. But that wasn’t an option here. An Orlando police officer interviewed this morning by Fox News stated that all customers at The Pulse nightclub are patted down as they enter.
Here’s Nick’s write-up:
Results: Scenario 1
Scenario 1 consisted of a single armed guard seated behind a desk, facing the entryway. This position is consistent with many current configurations for schools, enabling the security guard to watch the front door and challenge visitors to the school during the day.
Unarmed participants were then walked out an opening in the wall and past the guard until the shooter emerged from the opening and engaged the guard. The guard was not aware of exactly when the shooter would emerge and therefore had no specific advanced warning.
[This type of scenario attempts to replicate situations where the shooter is carrying the firearm concealed into the school, or the security guard does not have sufficient warning through cameras or other means to alert them that an armed intruder is about to enter the school.]
According to the results from our testing, in this scenario the armed security guard appears to be ineffective at interdicting the active shooter. While the “shooter” can choose their moment to attack and prepare themselves to fire the moment they are seen by the security guard, the guard has insufficient time to respond.
In future experiments we would like to investigate the effectiveness of an armed guard when there is advanced warning, such as would be provided if the shooter was visible through a door.