How to Protect Your Employees From Mass Shooter Events

How to Protect Your Employees From Mass Shooter Events

mass shooting

There are many aspects of life that Americans miss from the pre-pandemic times. Activities we took for granted, like eating in a restaurant, watching a live sports event, or even our typical working lives. However, one of the most pervasive aspects of pre-pandemic life that was not missed is mass shooting events, like the tragic events that took place in Virginia Beach in 2019. Gun violence was so high in the United States in 2019, it might be difficult to remember just how high after a year in quarantine.

Recently, America was reminded of the tragic problem of gun violence in America with two active shooter events occuring within six days of each other. First, on March 16th, an active shooter went on a violent spree, shooting and killing eight people across three massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia. Six of the eight victims were Asian, and the shooter reportedly blamed his actions on a sex addiction. Then, not even a week later, an active shooter event took place at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado in which ten people were shot and killed, including a Boulder police officer.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were more mass shootings than days in 2019. That’s 417 mass shootings in one calendar year. The GVA defines mass shooting as an active shooter event in which “four people are shot, excluding the shooter.” Sites of these mass shootings ranged from the workplace to community festivals. It was a record-breaking year, surpassing the staggering 382 mass shootings that took place in 2016. As attempts to curb gun violence in the U.S. remain ineffective due to congressional stalls and public outcry, employers and employees alike cannot help but wonder if their workplace will be the next target of a mass shooter event.

According to the FBI, the vast majority of active shooter events take place in areas of commerce, meaning buildings that are home to businesses, typically open to pedestrian traffic. The second and third most common areas are education (as in schools), and open space areas such as parks or concert venues. This means that employers and business owners of all kinds may be anxious to find ways to prevent and protect their livelihoods and the lives of their employees from this type of workplace violence.

The approach to preventing active shooter events in the workplace has two prongs. The first step in protecting the workplace or worksite from potential active shooters is risk assessment. Leadership should opt into a full evaluation of their worksite. Security is the first step in preventing active shooters. What are the credentials needed to enter the worksite? How many points of access are there? What are the security measures in place to protect the employees? How many security cameras are there? Not every worksite needs to have a metal detector in order to enter, but part of the evaluation would include an assessment of how likely it is for an active shooter event to take place. At least in the case where an active shooter event is carried out by an employee of the business in question, there are at least one or two warning signs preceding the event. Maybe the shooter in question has had multiple disagreements with coworkers, or has recently been disciplined for some form of misconduct. While it’s difficult to anticipate who may or may not incite violence based on recent events, it may be possible to predict future behavior based on an employee’s past behavior.

The second prong of active shooter prevention is operational oversight, meaning there is due-diligence on the part of leadership to ensure they are hiring the best employees with no history of violence or menacing in any way. Often in cases of mass shooter events in the workplace, there are problems within the corporation with hiring protocol. Perhaps the company doesn’t perform exhaustive background checks on their potential hires, or maybe they have not defined enough disqualifying criteria for a candidate’s hire. While there are many companies that run background checks for corporations, not all have the diverse experience of a private investigator. Through their licensure by the state, private investigators have access to verified, comprehensive databases on par with that of law enforcement. This allows them to look at a candidate’s full criminal history, address history, litigation history, and other important factors to determine what a candidate’s propensity for violence or unpredictable behavior. Long-time private investigators have the professional experience needed to view a subject’s record and perform their own risk assessment on their history. Private investigators can also use their knowledge of the criminal element and their patterns to identify employees who pose a potential risk who are already embedded in the organization.

If you have concern that your workplace may be at risk for an active shooter event, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our risk assessment services, or our active shooter programs in which we help your organization develop an action plan should an active shooter event take place. Call 317-951-1100 or visit us online at

Corporate Crisis: Contextual Crises within Major Retailers

Corporate Crisis: Contextual Crises within Major Retailers

With retailers like Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon at the forefront of consumer watchdogs, the conversation around corporate culture and how it affects business continues to become inwardly focused. The nature of capitalism and supply-and-demand business models sometimes stand in the way of true reform when it comes to some of the nation’s most profitable corporations. Despite major retailers like Walmart and Kroger vowing to improve culture in several arenas of their business, the actual enforcement of these new “policies” has employees feeling lukewarm. 

Walmart has recently been at the forefront of several different types of corporate crisis. Most notably, the tragic active shooter event at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas that killed 20 people and left dozens more injured. This horrible event is an example of a contextual corporate crisis, in which external events directly affect the public’s perception of the company. While contextual corporate crises typically have little to do with internal operations, the ever-growing epidemic of gun violence in the United States has CEOs and leadership of large retailers like Walmart rethinking their strategies. Since the shootings, Walmart CEO and President, Doug McMillon has announced the retailer will now discontinue sales of ammunition in their stores for handguns and military-style firearms like AR-15s. More notably, McMillion also said the company would “respectfully request that customers no longer openly carry firearms into their stores” with the exception of law enforcement. For many in the nation, “respectfully requesting” customers not openly carry in their stores is not enough, but it is symptomatic of changes in a capitalist society. 

Following the tragedy at El Paso, eight more stores received threats of varying specificity. In the wake of the statement by McMillion, gun rights activists are already reporting individual stores are not enforcing their “respectful request” to not openly carry in their stores. David Amad, the vice president of Open Carry Texas, has reported members of the organization had openly carried in their local Walmart and not a single member was asked to leave, despite their visible firearm. When asked about it, Amad was quoted as saying, “They’re ducking the issue. They are trying to get the gun haters to leave them alone, while at the same time leave us alone when we carry in their stores.” 

When it comes to improving the culture and perception of a company in the public eye, there can be no room for soft enforcement of policy. Revised, enforced policies are how companies improve their culture, and no one knows that better than the employees who are seeing internal operations every day. According to the New York Times, “Walmart employees are instructed not to obstruct peaceful shoppers from openly carrying guns in the stores…But if an employee or customer feels unsafe, the store workers should call law enforcement.” 

What we know about the cycle of good corporate culture indicates that when employees feel valued, they remain engaged in operations and contribute to the overall improved health of the company. It is not a leap at all to assume employees who do not feel safe in the workplace do not maintain high engagement in daily operations. This is a corporation that is already the subject of gratuitous coverage involving internal issues, such as compensation, work conditions, and how toxic corporate culture continues to pervade within the organization.  Now the soft enforcement of no open-carrying in Walmart stores may cause employees to further lose hope that the retail giant will ever make meaningful changes within the organization. Research has shown, as the workforce continues to age, corporations will have no choice but to improve their corporate culture, or risk a consistent pattern of turnover and decline in profits. Glassdoor reported millennials are the largest generation within the workforce currently, and they are the prospective employees who will make unprecedented choices in their employment, favoring healthy corporate culture over high rates of compensation. If corporations wish to retain otherwise dedicated employees for the continued growth of their organization, they’re level of integrity in changing their corporation’s culture must have a stronger resolve.