Put aside the politics for a moment, the pointing fingers, the thoughts and prayers and hopeless shrugs. What can people do right now to protect their communities from mass shootings?
Researchers at RAND have spent two years working to answer that question. They didn’t just look at the deadliest shootings and ask what went wrong. They looked at would-be shootings that never made the news and asked what went right. The result is a step-by-step guide to prevent shootings and other mass attacks before they happen, and to save lives when they do. It’s written for police, paramedics, local government officials—and for church leaders, concert promoters, grocery store owners, and school superintendents.
“I don’t like having to live in a world in which I know my daughter has a lot of fear over this,” said John Hollywood, who led the effort as a senior operations researcher at RAND. “We have the findings, we have the tools, we have the processes that we need to really do a better job of getting a handle on this. It’s a matter of going out and using them.”
In 2018, a woman in Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle, picked up a spiral notebook that had been lying on her grandson’s bed. She flipped it open and found the detailed outline of a school shooting. Zip ties for the doors. Bombs beneath the bleachers. A date in April that would coincide with the Columbine shooting.