A fatal shooting at a bar in California proves that just one security guard at the entrance is not enough

Article author: Miky Weinberg – Owner of the Tarantula Technologies Ltd and Octagon Security Ltd Companies.

On November 8, 2018, a former Marine arrived at a dance bar in California and shot 12 innocent civilians after shooting and killed the security guard stationed at the entrance to the bar. This is a skilled Marine with post-trauma from his military service who seems to have managed to surprise the security guard at the entrance and shoot him without difficulty and without resistance. After neutralizing the security guard, there was nothing and who would stand in his way and prevent him from carrying out the shocking killing spree in which people who just wanted to enjoy themselves were killed.

While this is not the first incident where an armed civilian or terrorist enters a scene with a crowd and shoots people but I think the fact that the first shooting was carried out to neutralize the security guard is one that requires analysis and professional thinking on what can and should be done differently.

The event reiterates some familiar principles in security:

  1. There is a good chance that a security guard at the entrance will deter some of the adversaries from trying and carrying out their plot in the secure facility.
  2. There is a very high probability that the security guard in the first defensive security ring will meet the adversary first.
  3. There is a very high probability that the adversary will succeed in surprising the security guard.

In most cases, the security level of one security guard will not suffice as an effective response to reports.

Most citizens will choose to flee rather than resist.

It is most difficult for the various security forces to deal with one adversary who decides to leave his home in order to murder innocent people in a leisurely place.

One adversary who acts alone and on his own will usually not float in the intelligence ring and if he does not make mistakes on the way to the target, will be discovered for the first time at the entrance to the facility or immediately after starting the assault.

This is a confrontation against the potential adversary at the highest level of difficulty and still, there is an obligation to take all known and possible actions in order to try to identify him as early as possible and prevent him from carrying out his malicious plan.

I believe the former Marine came as far as the entrance or entrance area to the bar without revealing the weapons in his possession so it was difficult for the security guard to identify that he was a threat. A threat with combat skill and determination like a Marine has combined with post-trauma issues, will not leave much chance for a security guard who is supposed to prevent him from entering and doing his thing in a bar.

The above event and similar ones send a clear message that securing a place that accommodates a large number of people who are a preferred target for an adversary looking for crowd concentration can’t start and end their security preparations only by placing a security guard at the entrance. In order to elevate the level of security a security array that integrates physical security, tactical obstacles, utilizing employees, instructing the crowd, and preparing the installation for emergencies. Beyond the routine activities of the place, it is obligatory to constantly think about the possibility of an emergency event and therefore the owner of the place must invest resources to create maximum readiness to deal with the potential adversary.

Preparation of the facility:

  1. Use of ambient lighting with an emphasis on the entrance and exit areas.
  2. Public direction signs for emergency exits and security rooms.
  3. An explanatory sign that explains what to do in an emergency.
  4. Keeping escape routes free of interference.
  5. The integrity of emergency doors.
  6. PA system.
  7. Ability to call emergency forces with a quick push of a button.
  8. Employee training for emergencies.
  9. Aim for at least 2 armed workers to be present, one of whom can be a security guard if one exists in the facility.
  10. Have a first aid kit and at least one employee who has been trained in primary care.

Entrance to the building:

The adversary will search and locate the opening through which it will be easiest for him to enter the facility. The adversary will prefer to enter a key facility that seems to him unsecured so as not to go through a security guard (s). In search of his preferred entrance, the adversary will observe the facility to understand whether the place is secure and will usually first examine the main entrance and therefore what he sees at the main entrance will influence his decision whether to look for another opening or another place.

A business like a club must create a situation where the main entrance to it seems secure and such that every person who comes to it understands that he has to go through an identification and inspection process. It follows that entry, including the security guard, must produce outward deterrence in order to succeed and keep a certain percentage away from potential quarrels and remain “only” with the brave adversaries. Only broad security thinking that will create a security system that includes a number of rings and emergency preparedness will increase the chances of success in facing the adversary who decides to try to enter the place in spite of everything. For this purpose, it is required to place more than one security guard at the entrance, similar to nightclub security guards in Israel:

The design of the entrance to the building should be in such a way as to combine placing a security guard at the front and placing physical obstacles on the way inside.

The entrance door to the building can be an obstacle and even one that cannot be passed without the use of burglary, so it is necessary to place strong and massive doors in the entrance and exit openings that will generally be closed and locked. The door will be opened solely by the security guard and will not be allowed without his intervention in order to prevent an outbreak or entry of a hazard after he has managed to overcome the security guard just as happened at a bar in California.

In my opinion, the entrance to crowded businesses and especially large clubs and restaurants should be built like an embassy entrance and include 2 doors that create a security room that produces a gradual and full control entry process or an initial corridor that will direct the entrants inside.

It is recommended to install in the security guard’s position at the entrance a device such as a distress button that will allow a message to be sent in an emergency.

Business owners who have a relatively large audience concentration must understand that they must also think about the dangers that exist from the outside, be sure to implement all relevant violent security procedures, and implement them in a full and professional manner to meet customer responsibilities and to place an effective counterattack.

The period of time from the moment the adversary begins to act until the security forces arrive at the scene of the incident is the responsibility of the owners of the place and it will determine what the consequences of the attack will be.

The amount of forces that are sent to the bar to deal with the attacker indicates how difficult and complex this task is:

Unfortunately, it seems that in most cases, the counter-actions of the business itself will not succeed in preventing the adversary who is determined to act but may also succeed in disrupting the full realization of the adversary’s intentions and thus minimizing damages.

In Israel, the Israel Police guides businesses with crowd concentrations to carry out physical and technological security operations, and even if we do not receive a clear indication that they are effective and they are sure to keep out certain adversaries who are increasingly looking for easier attack targets.

Remember, security must be maintained even in private businesses.

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