Updated: Oct 15
Every time we hear of an active shooter incident, we think how could a Vapor wake dog have prevented that happening. To be honest there are so many of these wretched and unnecessary events it is a subject which is constantly on our radar. The challenge is to get more people aware of the capability of these animals, and then to figure out how to deploy them.
This week we have seen 2 shootings in shopping areas – one in El Paso, TX and one in Dayton, OH. In relation to both, if a VWK9 had been on patrol there is a strong likelihood the shooter would have been identified as carrying explosive material being the bullets in the guns - much sooner. This is because a VWK9 is trained to sniff out explosive residue in the human plume of the person who has been handling explosives – and bullets have that explosive residue.
So, if we put this fact into a risk assessment framework in simple terms how does that work? The trouble with active shooters in many situations is that their appearance is totally random. Intel from law enforcement cannot predict a person in mental anguish who one day decides to pick up a gun and go on a killing rampage.
Instead we have to look at the sorts of venues where active shootings have occurred. A report in Time Magazine this week refers to 37 years of mass shootings in the US, with an infographic depicting the numbers of people killed and wounded by active shooters. In this graphic, the worst incident is by far the shooting in Las Vegas from the Mandalay Bay hotel in which 51 people were killed and over 400 people were wounded (see http://bit.ly/2ZS3xnC ). As the article mentions a mass shooting is defined as any incident with over 3 fatalities. And quite rightly, the statistics do not include the thousands of gun killings involving 2 or less people.
So, it made us think about if we were Walmart what could it do as an American icon in the retail sector, to take a stand against copycat active shooters. Our recommendation would be to put a VWK9 on patrol during store opening hours at Supercenters and develop some data around just how many people are entering its retail estate with live ammunition. We don’t know if Walmart have ever done a study of this type of risk, but the brand seems to have a higher risk of active shooter involvement than other retailers. There are over 3,000 of these types of Walmart store in the US according to statistics on the size of the Walmart estate (see http://bit.ly/2YWvgCI ) but what a great community project for Walmart to take the lead on. It’s a household name, and it must want to protect its brand from future incidents.
Walmart could lean on the experiences of a couple of huge brands in the US to justify such an approach. Walt Disney World have a fully-fledged Vapor Wake program as do the NFL. In an article written in Sports Business Daily (see http://bit.ly/2KoiubX ) explains how Vapor Wake has been introduced to national stadiums and now the NFL to sweep before, and provide security at entrances, for major league games.
The bottom line is if the Government feels unable to react to prevent active shootings then those brands with the clout and budget to respond should do so - to protect their brand and their stakeholders from harm. Obviously, there is a cost to this and ultimately this filters down to the consumer buying the product or service.
Vapor Wake dogs are not a panacea to prevent mass shootings, but they are a useful and smart way to start to tackle the problem of identifying where guns crop up, the sort of guns people are carrying, and whether those guns will be allowed on to different sorts of property. Think hotels, schools, hospitals, shopping malls, retail stores, banks and then think do we want a person carrying a gun on our property. Only a proper risk assessment will bring an organization to the policy it wants to impose on its visitors and employees but at least it’s the start of a conversation about do you really need to be carrying that sort of gun in Walmart?