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Michael E. Bemis – Author

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Excerpts from Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP).

—“There is no universal definition for mass shooting. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) doesn’t use the term “mass shooting,” and “The FBI does not define Mass Shooting in any form.” In fact, the government has never defined mass shooting as a separate category.”

—“... it took police 77 minutes to stop the San Ysidro, San Diego, California, McDonald's mass shooting perpetrator. The [mean] response time for law enforcement to an active shooter situation is now generally just 3 minutes, meaning that if they stop a perpetrator immediately after arrival—and the chances of that are fairly good—it’s generally approximately 70 minutes faster than that fateful afternoon.”

—“We as a society need to get much more concerned with what is in the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans than what’s in their hands.”

—“The state laws that prevent a skier or rider from suing a ski/ride resort when an accident arises out of the inherent risks of skiing or riding won’t protect them in the event of an incident [mass shooting], ... .”

—“For decades in the middle of the twentieth century parents sought to give their children what they didn’t have—things like a college education and home ownership, and today many parents seek to give their children what they did have—things like decency, stability, and wholesomeness.”

—In the United States "... ski/ride resorts are the softest of the Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP)... ."

—"It’s beyond time that we hardened our school buses and one way to do it, at least from domestic threats, is to federally protect them. ... Some naysayers will say that such a federal law is too much. Nonsense. We’ve enacted lots of federal laws over the past decades with high mandatory minimum prison sentences for offenses involving drugs, firearms, and explosives. Heck, it’s a federal offense to steal postal mail—some of which is probably nothing but junk mail. Don’t our children deserve the same level of federal protection as junk mail?"

—"It used to be important to have a doctor in the house—today that’s not as important as it used to be unless it’s an emergency room physician. Many doctors today are specialists and generally don’t have expertise in emergency medical care. So, while a doctor in the house is always a good thing, it’s more important today to have a gun—or guns—in the house. For you younger people house in this case doesn’t mean where you live, it refers to venues of all types."

Description of Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP).

Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP)—hotels, movie theaters, nightclubs, school buses, shopping malls, ski/ride resorts, and summer camps—is a comprehensive insightful analysis of where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we need to go, as it pertains to incidents, described as all those horrible ruthless acts of violence that have happened in America lately, including mass shootings, that have ripped our country apart with no foreseeable end in sight. From “Columbine” to “Sandy Hook” to “Parkland;” from “Pulse” to “Route 91 Harvest” to “Thousand Oaks;” and all those before, in between, and after; the bloodshed has been nothing short of horrendous. Before delving into the core content of the book it takes a close look at several perpetrators of previous high-profile incidents so readers can better understand what makes them tick and the results are nothing short of fascinating. While these mental autopsies are both factual and useful, they read like juicy crime dramas, probing the minds of perpetrators of incidents past for solutions to prevent future incidents. Even those with considerable insightfulness about the perpetrators of incidents will be in awe of their mindsets from long before they pulled the trigger to just minutes before they opened fire. The book definitively pinpoints the significant progress we’ve made responding to incidents and provides readers with solid hope that the perpetrators of incidents, our somewhat newfound domestic enemies, responsible for spilling far too much blood on American soil can be defeated—because surprisingly we’ve very recently been there and done just that. The book takes a long hard look at the solutions we’ve already applied to prevent incidents, some of them nothing more than band aids and others nothing short of all-inclusive. The book analyzes some traditional solutions, both those that have been implemented and those which need to have been completed yesterday, and it suggests a variety of exceedingly novel solutions that will astound you. The book doesn’t dwell in the past but takes lessons from it, while looking closely at our future, at those last bastions of freedom and openness—the so called Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP)—hotels, movie theaters, nightclubs, school buses, shopping malls, ski/ride resorts, and summer camps. The book conducts a microscopic examination of the vulnerabilities of seven categories of Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP) in America—hotels, movie theaters, nightclubs, school buses, shopping malls, ski/ride resorts, and summer camps—and what we can and so desperately need to do to harden them. The author gives the softest of the Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP), the virgin and highly vulnerable ski/ride resorts, the closest scrutiny, and the best solutions. For the naysayers that contend all is well with these seven categories of venues, a careful examination of many like venues, using New England as a well-justified microcosm, prove them unfailingly wrong. The book is a blueprint, a primer, a way forward for those at the helm of all the Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP)—hotels, movie theaters, nightclubs, school buses, shopping malls, ski/ride resorts, and summer camps—and a fascinating account for any reader into these high risk venues. Will these soft target venues that are the stomping grounds—past and present—for most of us, be places we’ll steer clear of in the future? It’s quickly becoming apparent that will be the case. The deciding factors of where we go won’t be the traditional things like proximity and offerings of destinations—it’s going be are they safe—and the consequence of venues deemed unsafe will thwart business profitability. Finally, the book includes a fascinating case study with the centerpiece being the mass shooting at a “San Ysidro McDonald’s” which, among other startling facts, makes it abundantly clear that the often leveled charge that “Trump” incites violence is nothing but pure hogwash.

Soultions from Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP).

Proposed Solutions:

General Solutions:
—Federal Civilian Ground Marshal Program – Establish One.
—Gun-Free Zones – Abolish Them.
—Red Flag Laws – Enact a Federal One.
—Security Officers – Arm More of Them.
—Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 – Do It Again.

Venue Solutions:

Hotels:
• Most Hotels Don’t Have Security Screening.
• Bags Are Part and Parcel to the Operation of Hotels.
• Many Hotels Don’t Have Security Officers.
• Hotel Security Officers Are Generally Not Armed.
• Hotels Have a Deep Philosophical Commitment to Unparalleled Guest Services.

Movie Theaters:
• Movie Theaters Generally Lack Metal Detectors for Security Screening.
• Unscreened Bags of All Kinds Are Still Permitted in Some Movie Theaters.
• Movie Theater Auditoriums Are Sequestered, Unstaffed, Dark, and Loud Places Which Are Sometimes Very Crowded and Occupied Predominantly by Fixated Strangers Sitting Passively Facing the Same Direction.
• Movie Themes Can Attract People to and Incite People at Movie Theaters.
• Generally, the Movie Theater Industry Seems Averse to Security as Evidenced by Their Silence on the Issue.

Nightclubs:
• Existing Nightclub Security Staff Are Generally Not Armed.
• Nightclub Patrons Are Predominantly Young.
• Nightclubs Are Frequented by Individuals Consuming Alcohol and/or Using Illicit Drugs Including the Common Practice of Preloading.
• Nightclubs Are Often Very Crowded Places.
• Nightclubs Operate Late at Night.

School Buses:
• Bags Are Permitted on School Buses.
• School Buses Often Have Just One Staff (the School Bus Driver) on Board.
• School Buses Often Have a High Concentration of Students in a Confined Space With Limited “Run. Hide. Fight.” Opportunities.
• School Bus Routes and Times Are Highly Predictable.
• School Bus Routes Can Be Easily Scouted for the Best Location for an Incident to Occur.
• It’s Easy to Force a School Bus to Stop.

Shopping Malls:
• Shopping Malls Don’t Have Security Screening.
• Many People Are Carrying Bags In and Out of Shopping Malls.
• Shopping Malls Are Large Places With Multiple Entrances and Exits.
• Shopping Malls Have A Lot of Common Areas and Their Transient Occupancy Ranges From Largely Uninhabited to Very Crowded.
• Shopping Malls Have Heavy Diverse Vehicle Traffic and Parking.
• Aesthetics and Convenience Prevail at Shopping Malls.
• Shopping Malls Are Skeptical of Additional Security—Particularly Visible Security—for Fear of Losing Even More Shoppers to Online Sales and Forsaking Their Leisurely Appeal.
• Many Shopping Malls Are In a Death Spiral.

Ski/Ride Resorts:
• Ski/Ride Resort Expansions Are Unfailingly Controversial.
• Ski/Ride Resorts Have No or Extremely Limited Prohibited Items.
• Ski/Ride Resorts Apparently Have Zero Security Screening.
• Bags Are Part and Parcel to the Operation of Ski/Ride Resorts.
• Ski/Ride Resorts Garner Greater Media Attention and Scrutiny.
• Some Ski/Ride Resorts Are Fabled.
• The Ski/Ride Industry Seems Generally Averse to Security.
• Ski/Ride Resort Security Officers Are Generally Not Armed.
• Many Ski/Ride Resorts Operate in Remote Areas Where Law Enforcement Resources Are Extremely Limited.
• Ski/Ride Resorts Have a Substantial Guest Connection to Major Metropolitan Areas.
• Ski/Ride Resorts Generally Have No Secure Perimeters for Base Areas and Have Multiple Points of Entry and Exit for Buildings.
• Ski/Ride Resorts Permit Widespread Roaming at Large.
• Ski/Ride Resort Staffing Is Problematic.

Summer Camps:
• Bags Are Part and Parcel to the Operation of Summer Camps.
• Summer Camps Are Very Diverse.
• A Lot of Bullying Takes Place at Summer Camps.
• Summer Camps Usually Have Unsecured Perimeters.
• Many Summer Camps Operate in Remote Areas Where Law Enforcement Resources Are Extremely Limited.

Also Listed: Other security measures worthy of adoption.