After the shooting of the congressman on the baseball field, there will be plenty of sideline quarterbacking. Questions about how could this happen, what caused this to happen and all the other critiquing by security and non-security personal will fill our social media feeds for the next few days.
Although those topics are important I would like to address 2 points that I believe are being overlooked. Being a security professional myself and having worked long hours, of boring yet necessary, dignitary protection I have also fallen victim to the topics I’m about to discuss.
First topic is “See something, Say something” Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) in an interview stated the gunman asked him and his colleague if those where Democrats or Republicans that where on the field, which he responded Republicans. He continued to state that this was an odd question, that after all the times playing on that field no one had asked that before. In this day and age this could, and in this case, was, an indicator of things to come. We are told by DHS, FBI and all other government agencies how important it is that if you see something, say something. The question will remain, what if he would have gone over to the Capitol Police security detail and told them about his encounter with the would-be shooter?
The second topic is Complacency. Many indications and eye witness’s statements indicate that the security detail where sitting in their SUV. As I don’t want to cast stones, I myself have been in the same position where its easier to sit in a SUV, for many reasons such as being complacent, and to include sitting in the SUV being the client’s recommendations. Although their reaction greatly minimized the amount of harm that was able to be inflicted, the question will remain, could they have been able to stop it all together if one or more had been out of the SUV being alert to the entire surroundings.
If one or both of these examples would have been performed differently maybe the attack could have been stopped before it even started. As security professionals, we have the responsibility to take reports seriously. If the Congressman would have told the security detail about his run in with the would-be shooter, that security detail would and should be obligated to exit the SUV and investigate. Could this have changed the shooters decision to go to his car pull out weapons and then use them?
This isn’t to claim, “Things would be different if I was there” Nor am I sharp shooting the security detail which by all accounts performed outstanding. There is no perfect situational awareness or flawless protection. My point is that we need to change how we conduct ourselves and take a look at how we perform. This goes for the individuals to acknowledge the importance of, at any time, if you “See something to Say something” For security professionals we need to take a honest look and see if complacency is creeping into your day to day duties and activities. This serves as a reminder that our job is to continuously “What if” scenarios.