The Killer Next Door
There are many lessons to be learned from the tragedy of the mass shooting at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. First, there are a number of questions we should be asking ourselves. Number one, how does the shooter get so many firearms into his room completely unnoticed? Number two, what measures should hotels take in order to prevent similar tragedies?
You often hear law enforcement officials and business owners tell people “if you see something say something.” On the surface that makes sense as long as you know what it is you’re looking for and you feel at ease with communicating what you have seen. The truth is many people feel as though if they do say something they will face retribution, media attention or maybe they fear being labeled or even worse, not being believed. Other people simply do not understand or know what they are seeing.
The hospitality industry in general should have educational training on active shooter/threat for all employees. The reality is unless something is just obviously suspicious, the average person doesn’t know what it is they’re looking for or for that matter how they should respond if they do hear or see something suspicious. We prepare for hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes as well as fires. So why shouldn’t we prepare for active shooters?
In order to get on an airplane, into a theme park or on a cruise ship there is a screening process that everyone has to go through. There has to be some level of screening for people staying at hotels. Of course, this is a tremendous departure from the current standards and expectations hotel guests deal with today. Furthermore, any screening process would increase the cost of staying at a hotel in addition to the expense to the business. Is there a balance or at least a first step? What about the institution of random bag checks, limiting the number or weight of suitcases or bags that guests can have? Guns and explosives have a tendency to weigh more than clothing and toiletries. Long guns such as rifles take up considerably more space in a suitcase than let’s say a laptop, tablet or even a handgun. Firearms can be broken down and taken apart but that would take additional knowledge that someone like Stephen Paddock may not have had. Security is about layers and I would certainly hope that with the shooting at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the hospitality industry in this country and around the world will take the steps necessary to protect those who are staying at their hotels. Stay safe everyone.