- Suspect was carrying a backpack and a bag for the rifle. TMAS, LLC Comment: This is a typical profile. The backpack is a practical way to carry magazines, rounds, handguns, and other small weapons. Pants with cargo pockets also fit the profile.
- Walking purposefully—not running. He was able to walk directly to the school building without being stopped. TMAS, LLC: People who are “operational” carry themselves differently—it is called being “switched on”. How was he able to walk directly into the school without being asked for an identification?
- A staffer saw him but didn’t stop him. Instead, radioed another co-worker. TMAS, LLC: This denotes poor training and poor discipline by the staffer. A faster reaction (any reaction) may have stopped this from happening.
- Armed police officer on campus. TMAS, LLC: There was no mention of the police officer ever confronting the suspect. Why? Where was this officer? Once the shooting started, why didn’t he run toward the shooting?
- School had practiced active shooter drills. TMAS, LLC: They practiced but really didn’t seem to know the procedures. More training is obviously necessary.
- Suspect reached out to a friend via social media while en-route to (nothing nefarious though) TMAS, LLC: Most suspects that conduct these kinds of attacks reach out to friends or family prior to the event. But, in this case, I have to wonder if this was a heads-up pre-arranged warning to his friend. Has the friend been investigated to see if there was a connection?
- Suspect had posted Instagram posts about wanting to kill people. TMAS, LLC: We see this all the time. The suspect uses social media to express rage, threats and frustration. In this case, many people were aware of the suspect’s threats.
- Bullets fired through doorways and windows. Rounds went through windows in doors. TMAS, LLC: Regular glass does not stop bullets. Had there been no windows in the doors would there have been fewer casualties? Most likely, there would have been fewer casualties.
- Suspect was able to move from first floor to upper floors. TMAS, LLC: Why wasn’t there some way to keep the suspect from moving floor to floor? Were there no doors that could be locked? The suspect should have been channeled but was not.
- During the event, an alarm went off causing confusion—they followed the protocol for the wrong kind of emergency. The teacher and students actually left the safety of classroom during the attack. The teacher locked the door behind him, so it took longer to get back into the classroom. TMAS, LLC: This teacher gave his life to protect the students and for that he is a hero. But, at the same time, there was confusion that lead to the loss of life. If there were active shooter drills, it appears that the training was not up to par. Training has to be taken very seriously and has to take place so often that it becomes second nature.
- During the event, students huddled behind desks and inside closets. There did not appear to be a real place of safety or a real plan. TMAS, LLC: There are a few problems here. Again, the students didn’t really seem to know what they should do. More importantly, there should have been more real counter-measures in the classrooms. For example, some sort of bullet-proof shielding should have been in place in the classrooms.
- After the suspect stopped shooting, he simply walked out of the facilities with no one actively watching him. TMAS, LLC: Again, where was the armed police officer? Why didn’t any of the staff monitor the suspect. Why didn’t anyone take positive action against the shooter?
- In November 2017, a tipster called the Broward County’s Sheriff’s Office to say Cruz “could be a school shooter in the making” but deputies did not write up a report on that warning. This came just weeks after a relative called urging the sheriff’s office to seize his weapons. Two years ago, a deputy investigated a report that Cruz “planned to shoot up the school.” The information was forwarded to the school’s resource officer, with no apparent result. When Cruz was 18, the school initiated a threat assessment. In 2017, Cruz posted on YouTube that he wanted to become a a professional school shooter. In 2018, the FBI received a tip that Cruz had a desire to kill people. So, everyone knew about this suspect. They knew he had weapons and that he posed a risk. TMAS, LLC: If so many people, to include various law enforcement agencies, knew about this suspect, why was he allowed to enter the school grounds? And, the school wrote a threat assessment concerning Cruz months prior to the attack—what was in it and who had the assessment?
The following are some points I picked out from various articles about the recent shooting in Florida. It is not political and is not meant to be harsh, but facts are facts. There were many things that were done incorrectly, and there was a lack of real effective counter-measures.
By Robert L. Calhoun
October 8, 2016
To defeat terrorism and insurgencies, we have to understand not only how terrorists and extremists operate, but also the cultural features that make up their thought process. Just like people are not predictable and take on the features of their culture, terrorist groups also take on the traits of the various cultures that are represented within them. And, like most people are not rigid and inflexible, neither are the groups. Meaning that while they may have an over-all leadership (to include at the cell level), actors within these nodes are fluid. This means that a member could be involved with a mortar cell on one day and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) team the very next day. To further complicate matters, if a member is caught, he is quickly replaced by someone else who has a skill to offer (as long as that person is trusted a trusted quantity). And worst of all, these bad actors are typically only caught after they have conducted some sort of activity. Of course, there is then the issue of whether or not there is enough evidence to keep the person in detention. Fortunately, there are certain aspects of their cell or group’s operational cycle that offers us a chance to exploit their activities. These are windows of exposure that can be used to either neutralize or exploit their activities. In fact, every operation has a cycle of events that must take place in order for the operation to occur. There is also the human factor that plagues each member of the group. That human factor is often clouded by cultural aspects.
Culture is learned behavior that is present in a given society or group. Examples of cultural characteristics are: religion, language, beliefs, behavior, perceptions, traditions, customs and values. Of these, language is usually the most significant with family and religion closely following. These aspects influence how they act, not just in their everyday activities, but also their involvement with terrorist activities. Unfortunately, while cultural characteristics can be observed, they cannot be gauged or measured. But, they can be used as indicators of activities. Thus, if we know possible culture associated with the potential bad actors, we can then be prepared to look for those cultural indicators in addition to the other likely operational indicators. For example, the cultural indicators associated with a Ku Klux Klan operation would differ greatly from the cultural indicators associated with the Islamic State.
In past conflicts, the US Military had the playbook by which the enemy would operate. So while the USSR has a formidable military, it was fairly predictable. And based upon the intelligence preparation of the battlefield, we could out think the enemy and make our battle plans accordingly. In contrast, the war against the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Al Shabab and other like groups, there are no real front lines. Typically, we are fighting these groups on their home turf, where they know the terrain and can blend as needed. Their goal is to win the war not only on the battlefield but also politically—often using information operations.
Finally, we have often heard that to defeat terrorists and insurgents, we have to be able to think like they do. But frankly, that is impossible. Even with the use of cultural experts we will never be able to get very deep into their minds. That said, with very aggressive analysis, collection efforts and counterintelligence measures we can beat them to the punch. One thing is certain, as we have seen so far, defeating terrorism is not easy, but it can be done!
My town has a drug problem.
I think that it would be hypocritical for me to write about the short comings of my fellow man. I mean, we have all done things that are considered “wrong” or perhaps even illegal. Usually, those acts are one-timed lapses of judgment or simple mistakes. Basically, most of us are “good people” but I can assure you that none of us are perfect. In some cases, we become victims of something bad that started out as something good. For example, have you ever broken an arm or leg and was given some sort of pain killer that took the pain away? For some of us, those pain relievers work miracles for a short time and then we move on with our lives. Others become addicted to the euphoria of being pain free and simply have to have that euphoric feeling—no matter the cost. Yet, in other cases, some people just want to be high. And yet others feel as though they have no way to escape their hellish lives and decide to seek street cures. For some its booze, and for others its drugs such as heroin, cocaine, meth, or whatever else they can get. Regardless of the reasons for the addictions, my goal is not to judge anyone. My goal is to simply discuss the issue of supply and demand.
In the quaint area of Queen Anne’s County, just east of the Bay Bridge (east of Annapolis, MD), life is good—except for when it’s not. We have the best Maryland Blue Crabs and the coldest beer anywhere on the Eastern Shore! We have the most conservative politicians and leaders. We have a very nice range of incomes—from pretty low to extremely wealthy. We have an entire bay between us and Baltimore (note: According to an ABC News report on 14 Mar 2016, “Baltimore is the heroin capital of the United States.”). We have restaurants and bars in and around Kent Island where you can sit beside the water, have a drink, smoke a cigar (yes, we can still smoke cigars!) and watch the boats literally bring in your dinner. We have numerous law enforcement agencies that keep us safe (you can’t help but see them when driving through our county; there is a law enforcement officer parked every few feet along Highway 50 and even the side Main Street) (Note: These law enforcement officers do their jobs really well—trust me, I know). Santa Clause still visits the local neighborhoods while riding on the top of a shiny fire truck! Queen Anne’s County is nearly perfect in every way! Queen Anne’s County is also facing an epidemic of heroin use.
So, what is it about Maryland that causes such a strong attraction to the drug? According to Hartford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler: "It's the perfect trifecta. Heroin has never been more plentiful, it has never been more cheap and it has never been more pure…"
According to the Annapolis Patch, 4 Jul 2016:
The use of heroin and other opioids…is killing more Marylanders in 2016 than ever before…(the) surge is caused by over-prescribing pain medications, which are replaced by cheap, and easy-to-find heroin…the user who most over doses in Anne Arundel County is a middle-aged white male.”
As for the idealic Queen Anne’s County, on 30 Oct 2013, County Sheriff Gary Hofmann told the Bay Times that Queen Anne’s County is facing an epidemic of heroin use. He went on to say that for the most part the heroin is coming from outside of the county. Separately, State Attorney Lance Richardson stated that there are a lot of heroin addicts on Kent Island.
I began this blog discussing supply and demand. It is the supply and demand ratio that leads to the kinds of crimes that occur in the microcosm that is my neighborhood. Frankly, most of us in my neighborhood would not give much thought to the heroin issues that surround us. In fact, it is likely that many in this area have no idea that we even have a heroin issue. The chain of life goes on nicely until a wrench is thrown into the gears. For example, many in our neighborhood used to leave their doors unlocked until a spate of car break-ins occurred. Mostly, it was just small items taken. Then later the problem escalated when people began reporting that their homes had been robbed. In some cases, these robberies occurred at night when the home-owners were asleep in their beds. Money was stolen. And, in some cases guns were stolen. So, how could this happen in a nice neighborhood like ours? More importantly, why? I think the answer comes back to supply and demand.
There are two kinds of heroin users. There are those who can afford the drug, and there are those who cannot. So, what happens when you have these two groups living next to each other? Those who cannot afford the drug want the drug just as badly as those who can afford it. So, those who do not have the money often find a way to take the money from those who do have it. And, those who do have the money make it easy for those who do not have the money to take it from them. Little things like posting their activities on Facebook, leaving their garages unlocked or even open, leaving their cars unlocked, leaving their doors and windows unlocked, and not bothering to report unfamiliar people in the neighborhood. I would like to say that people are not bothering to report strangers due to “political correctness” but frankly it is more likely that it is due to the fact that they simply do not understand the nature of the threat. Most of us like to see the good in others and believe that as long as we mind our business, others will mind their own business. In essence I took a lot of time simply to say that people will steal to feed their addictions and many of us make it really easy for them.
I want to make one thing clear, it is not just the poor people who would steal or do anything to feed their heroin addictions. And again, it is not my job or intent to judge people and their reasons for addictions. My issue is with the suppliers—those who profit from others’ demons.
My intent is to diagram and discuss the drug pipe-line and examine the reasons why this has become such a problem. So, I hope that you will join me in the future as we exploit these topics. In the meantime, please feel free to let me know your thoughts on the heroin epidemic. So, until next time, please stay alert and report any suspicious activities to your local law enforcement personnel.
Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com
Improvised Explosive Devices
Written by: Robert L. Calhoun
Unfortunately, I feel compelled to write about a subject that I hoped would never be a major issue in the United States—Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Typically, when we think about IEDs, we think of places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, and many African countries. But, of course there have been many uses of IEDs in the US by various groups and individuals such as Al Qaeda (AQ), the Weather Underground and Timothy McVeigh (to name just a few). IEDs are not used just by insurgents and terrorists, criminal elements such as Mexican drug cartels have been known to use IEDs. Many people do not understand that or realize that AQ used IEDs to attack the US on 9/11. Yes, they used planes as flying bombs to attack our infrastructure.
More recently though, we saw an example of an Islamic terrorist using pipe bombs and pressure cooker devices. So, it is important to understand that IEDs can look like virtually anything. So, just what is the accepted definition of an IED?
According to DoD Directive 2000.19E, the definition of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) is: “A device placed or fabricated in an improvised manner incorporating destructive, lethal, noxious, pyrotechnic, or incendiary chemicals and designed to destroy, incapacitate, harass, or district. It may incorporate military stores, but is normally devised from nonmilitary components.”
Simply put, IEDs are called improvised because they may be constructed with either military or commercial grade explosives and components (or a mixture of all of these). As for the device itself, an IED typically has five components: simple power source, the actual explosive material, a switch, a fuse/initiator, and a container to house the components. Even more alarming is that pretty much anyone with access to the Internet can learn how to build these kinds of devices. Thus, easy access to off-the-shelf commercial materials and training via the Internet provides potential and known enemies with extremely effective and inexpensive weapon platforms. And, unlike guns and knives, IEDs allow distance between the attacker(s) and the target(s).
Sadly, IEDs are the weapons of choice for insurgents and terrorists. The proliferation of IED technologies and tactics from countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan are becoming a major concern for other countries (the US, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom for example) with much higher levels of security. IEDs will be an enduring threat to not only people but also infrastructure.
So, why do terrorists and insurgents use IEDs? The answer is simple, IEDs tend to level the battlefield (perceived and actual) by allowing adaptive enemies to achieve strategic results. The goal of terrorism is to instill fear in a population. IEDs allow an enemy to attack pretty much anywhere at anytime, and can be coordinated to happen at the same time. IEDs can also be used as an assassin’s tool or as a shot gun blast. That is, an IED can be emplaced in a way that it would kill only an intended target, or it could be emplaced in a way that it would kill indiscriminately. Considering how cheaply and easy they are to build, IEDs offer a group or individual with little or no wealth to achieve strategic results. For example, just think of the simple devices used by Taliban that has so frustrated the mightiest militaries the world has ever seen. Groups that use IEDs tend to be adaptive to changing conditions. For example, The Taliban used devices with metal and Coalition Forces found a way to exploit that fact (it cost billions of dollars). Shortly after that, the Taliban began using more simplistic devices that used very little metal, thus reducing their signature.
So, what does this mean for the US and other Western countries? It means that we are facing an enemy that has learned many valuable lessons in warzones that they are now bringing to non-combat areas. It means that without actionable intelligence that leads to the capture of these terrorists prior to their attacks, we, as a country, will continue to be subject to potential IED attacks.
Good Morning. I would like to let everyone know that we are adding a new blog feature to our site. These blogs will discuss topics that are of interest to not only business women and men but also individuals such as crime in Chicago, Baltimore, and D.C. We will also be discussing drug cartels and the threats they pose. In other words, we will be discussing threats of all sorts and we hope to hear back from those who have first knowledge. We will try to avoid politics, unless there is a direct connection--such as the crime issues in Chicago. We know that the crime rate can be lowered but it will take serious conversations followed by serious actions. But, presently, it appears that leaders are more concerned about political rhetoric than crime fighting. My company has a proposal that can help, but to date we have not been able to get anyone to listen. We will keep trying.
In the meantime, I would like to hear back from you. Tell me your thoughts about potential and known threats and how they affect you. If you prefer to speak in private, please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org