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Home  >  Topics  >  Active Shooter

January 21, 2011
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Lt. Dan Marcou Blue Knights
with Lt. Dan Marcou

The active shooter assassin

Jared Lee Loughner is truly a never-been-seen-before aberration — something that has never been done before in history

Has anyone noticed there is a new breed of evil that just reared its ugly head? It has gone nearly unnoticed in the fog of off-point discussion about our nation’s seeming inability to handle freedom of speech. The discussion about our national political discourse was carried aloft like a kite in the hot arid breeze of the Arizona Desert when Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik made his ill-advised remarks in the immediate aftermath of the attempted assassination of U.S. Congress Woman Gabrielle Giffords.

What has been overlooked is the fact that Jared Lee Loughner is truly a never-been-seen-before aberration — something that has never been done before in history. The armed assassin stalking the politician has conjoined with the Active Shooter to create a hybrid killer, which presents an entirely new security problem for federal, state, and local law enforcement.

The Assassin
History has given us too many assassins. There is the anarchist Leon Czolgosz, who killed President McKinley. There was Charles Guiteau, a disappointed attorney who sought a political appointment and when rejected, he stalked and killed President Garfield. There was Sirhan-Sirhan who gunned downed Robert F. Kennedy in a hotel kitchen when it appeared that he was knocking on the door of the White House (recall too, that this was our nation’s first act of radical Islamist terrorism — Sirhan-Sirhan was enraged by Kennedy’s stated support of Israel).

There was John Wilkes Booth — the first of the three-named assassins — who robbed this country of one of our greatest presidents. There was Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot John F. Kennedy. There was James Earl Ray, who gunned down Martin Luther King. These vile examples of humanity have secured their place in history with their specifically-targeted gunfire.

Anyone who has worked the security detail of any high ranking public official has seen how much care, preparation, and attention to detail goes in to preventing such incidents from occurring. It was not always like this. In the case of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, there was only one local police officer assigned to security at Ford’s Theatre. The historical record gives no defensible explanation as to why he left his post just prior to the arrival of John Wilkes Booth, and that assassination prompted the development of the modern day secret service.

There have been occasions in the past where there was “collateral damage” from an assassin’s weapon. Consider the tragic case of Major Henry Rathbone, who had been invited with his fiancée to watch the play with President Lincoln and the First Lady. After the President was shot, the unarmed Rathbone attempted to subdue Booth and during the struggle he was seriously wounded with the knife Booth carried with him.

During the assassination of President Kennedy, Texas Governor John Connally and James Tague were hit, but it did not appear they were was specifically targeted. In the melee that occurred at the scene of the assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan, John Hinkley not only hit the President with his volley, but his aide James Brady, Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy, and Officer Thomas Delhanty were also seriously wounded by rounds Hinkley had intended for the President.

A New Template For 2012
The advent of Jared Loughner signals the arrival of a new breed of killer. This is a person who not only attacks the political target, but opens fire on the old and young innocents in an attempt to achieve the “high score” of the active shooter. It is quite possible that others will follow the new template developed by the smiling, active-shooting assassin.

Starting soon this year and carrying on through 2012 will be another election cycle and you may be called upon to work one of these events. While working the event, ignore the political celebrities and the soaring rhetoric. This is a time for your undivided attention. Pay attention at the point of entry for the dangerous and the troubled.

In the 90s there was once a Wisconsin Officer working a presidential visit who was partnered up with a Secret Service Agent. Throughout the event the intensity of the agent was impressive and a model to follow. As the president spoke, the agent’s constant scrutiny toward individuals in the crowd never diminished.

The motorcade left and the crowd wandered away, but the agent continued in his attention to duty. After a time he put his hand to his ear and he said, “Wheels up! We’re done here.” He turned to the local officer and said with a relaxed smile, “Is there a place in town where I can get a cheese head hat? I promised my kids I would bring them each one. They were pretty insistent when they heard I was coming to Wisconsin.”

The point here is he did not relax one moment in the presence of the person he was sworn to protect. In fact, he was vigilant until word came that his charge was airborne.

Prepare Your Law Enforcement Template
Every community has its Jared Loughners and they are drawn to these events like the tide to the shore. Jared Loughner has given the unreasonably dangerous, the temp-plate of the Active Shooting-Assassin to follow, making them more dangerous than ever before.

As you prepare to work one of these events remember this. You may be put in a position of preventing a hater from not only taking control of the destiny of this great nation, but also killing innocents, who have come to witness a moment in history.

Maintain 100 percent attention to your duties from post time to wheels up. By following the template of the alert secret service agent you will not only be better prepared to spot danger and react in a timely manner, but you will also be sending this message to the deadly and the dangerous: “Not on my watch!”


About the author

Lt. Dan Marcou retired as a highly decorated police lieutenant and SWAT Commander with 33 years of full time law enforcement experience. He is a nationally recognized police trainer in many police disciplines and is a Master Trainer in the State of Wisconsin. He has authored three novels The Calling: The Making of a Veteran Cop , S.W.A.T. Blue Knights in Black Armor, and Nobody's Heroes are all available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Visit his website and contact Dan Marcou





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