Comparing what we know about the Santa Clarita shooting and the 2019 National Threat Assessment Center Study

  • by

We need to begin by reviewing some of the facts of both, so we’ll begin with what we know about the Santa Clarita school shooting.
– The shooter was a non-white male
– He was active in sports
– He was liked and appreciated by teammates and classmates
– He had a current girlfriend
– He committed the act on his birthday
– His parents had separated
– His father died 2 years ago
– His father had problems with alcohol
– He had “been different” since his father’s death
– He was familiar with weapons
– He shot randomly, not targeting specific individuals
– Friends and neighbors interviewed say there were no indications
Let’s compare that list with some key points from the NTAC study:

Girl Arrested for Threatening

Earlier this fall, an 18-year-old Oklahoma girl was arrested for threatening to shoot up her former high school. She had purchased a semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun, and showed a video of her shooting to coworkers in addition to the threat.  Both are incidents that show the danger of focusing on the statistics of shooter race, gender and orientation, rather than the individual and the behavior traits. These behaviors are the best (yet still not perfect or clear cut) indicators; more important, they are indicators of people struggling, not a checklist where a simple tally points out who is a shooter. The best part of the study released by NTAC is the training they provide to help people look at and understand the indicators.
What’s truly missing from the recent study is a national, low-cost, solution to identification of these traits. Yet it is most certainly needed. That’s why ATAP has launched the HALL MONITOR, an app that simplifies understanding and reporting of indicative behaviors. You can find out more about the app at
Take, as a warning, the shooting at Saugus High School. Twenty-one months after Parkland, twenty-one years after Columbine, our schools – the frequent and well-known location our most precious resource – are still not ready for the world we live in. The fact that statement may not  be comfortable makes it no less true. Metal detectors and door locks are not the primary solution. Prevention is; it’s time we start.

“Students Questions”

The simple answer is: because our children will look to them. The people who our students know and are asked to follow and obey will be the ones the turn to for guidance. Just as kids follow staff in fire drills (when was the last time a school caught fire, much less had a death from a fire?) they will follow in an attack. So those teachers must know what to do. This is the reality of our day. It doesn’t matter that our schools and teacher are over tasked with government mandates. Regardless whether school systems have the money to function in the way they want or not, or of the government mandates on the way they have to spend what they have. It is a fact of the 21 st century that any school that does not train staff on attack survival and prepare its population for eventual attack (not lock-down drills) is both civilly and criminally liable at all levels.Our examination of hundreds of attacks in schools and campuses (we believe that there are no studies done or being done that are appropriate, which includes the NTAC and Secret Service studies – see our blog on them) shows that schools aren’t prepared or responding to attacks appropriately.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.