Is this guy coming to NZ? My thoughts would be, yes he is.
And actually, he doesn’t necessarily need to come here. He could be here already, and born here is just as likely.
I say this with a level of confidence because he (& she) have already been here before and in my opinion, he is likely to make an appearance on our shores, in a CBD, at a school, at a sporting event, in a small rural town or within a busy shopping mall at some point in our future. What is not known, is the when. This week, next month, on a day of national significance, next year all unknown. But it will happen.
This guy doesn’t need a name for the purpose of this article. He is just “this guy”. A person with access to a destruction weapon of choice, a car, bus, plane, gun, bomb, knife or samurai sword, and is motivated and is any combination of mad, bad or sad. Whether their cause is personal, political, religious or something else is somewhat irrelevant to those caught up in the moment.
Nothing in the global or domestic space of national or community security could convince me it won’t happen. If you had asked a bunch of early morning coffee drinkers at the Lindt cafe in downtown Sydney on the 15th of December 2014 they probably would have shrugged their shoulders, uttered that this stuff happens in other countries and isn't really an issue worth interrupting their coffee to discuss. Proximity matters. The next day the fatal Lidnt cafe siege was headline news all over the world. We have café’s in our business districts to.
On previous occasions here in NZ, we have had this guy visit. Dishing out acts of terrorism with foreign agents detonating explosives in the Auckland harbour, claiming the life of an innocent photographer. Walking into a Bay of Plenty school firing off a .32 calibre pistol killing two young lads, injuring others and ready to deliver destruction on a greater scale with explosives. Being angry at a government agency and walking in shooting dead two women, who went to work in Ashburton and should have gone home to their families. And 14 people gunned down in the sleepy settlement of Aramoana in 1990. Sadly, there are many many more examples in the intervening years all with real victims, immediate and beyond.
The topic of terrorism or extremely violent criminal offending extending to active shooter scenarios is not new to me. I have trained in this space during my time on the police special tactics group and I have operated in countries where the occurrences of such attacks are more common. I have put plans and systems in place for rock bands saying that the Bataclan theatre attack in Paris was predictable and that it most certainly would happen again. And it did in Manchester (and it will happen again- maybe the next security layer out from the stadium). I have worked with organisations who sought advice since previously shopping in the Westfield mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
Where I take some comfort in this country is that we have outstanding response agencies. In this space, the men and women of our police tactical squads and defence special forces are among the best in the world in their areas of expertise and they train with great discipline to protect our communities.
So, what does all this mean? Well it is certainly no need to catastrophize or be paranoid or even fearful. Crack on and enjoy life, travel, work, play, do what drives you without fear. But at an individual, family, and organisational level if you have had some “what if conversations” around natural disasters occurring and have a bit of a plan on what to do in that space, then perhaps that conversation should extend to “what if” something goes bang, or boom.
What if we need to lock down, what if we need to evacuate and disperse, what if we get separated at the ball game. Often the plan will be the similar but putting context around what might happens lessens the impact when it does happen. Part of the shock element is diminished.
Critical Incident Readiness
What’s the likelihood of an earthquake bringing a city to its knees, claiming many lives and disrupting thousands versus a terrorist attack occurring at one of our sports stadium. I don’t know the answer to that but I do know that you should have some kind of planning framework to deal with both and everything in between. If you do that, you build resilience and are in a much stronger position, to deal with situations when they occur and recover afterwards.
Sadly, natural disasters and needless violence are part of the national and global space we live in. In terms of critical incident management, they are both the same, but different. Both have happened and both will again. Having a little acknowledgement of that, mixed with a bit of preparedness is the right thing to do.
It’s about having an engaged level of situational awareness at a personal level and at a organisational level having a robust critical incident framework that safeguards your people as best is reasonably practical and prepares you to respond and then recover.
Why, because this guy is coming just as tectonic plates will shake and volcanoes may blow. It’s about individual and organisational critical incident planning. The message – don’t forget about this guy.
In writing this article there is remembrance to those victims from;
· 19th October 1923 – Waikino, school shootings
· 10th July 1985 – Auckland, terrorist bombing of the rainbow warrior
· 13th November 1990 – Aramoana, mass shootings
· 1st September 2014 – Ashburton, WINZ office shootings
About the author;
Paul is a partner at QRisk and QTraining specialising at providing risk management and security consultancy to organisation in NZ, Australia and abroad. Through QTraining they provide situational awareness and self-defence courses for young women, business and private groups.
Anyone connected to a school that wants to understand critical incident readiness in a school environment then QRisk proudly recommends you get in touch with Wade Harrison @ Harrison Tew who is a leader in this space within NZ.