Ron Borsch, who monitors active killing incidents worldwide, has released his latest statistical summary, indicating that the frequency of these bloody events is continuing to escalate and that the interruption of a suspect’s murderous rampage is most likely to be initiated by a single citizen or LEO.
Borsch, manager of the Southeast Area Law Enforcement Regional Training Academy in Bedford, OH, tracks what he terms Rapid Mass Murder (RMM): four or more persons slain within 20 minutes in a public place.
He also tallies attempted RMMs: incidents that would likely have reached the four-victim level had they not been aborted. Attempts, he concedes, are a case-by-case judgment call, determined by the number of persons wounded, the weapons and ammunition the offender had, suicide notes, and/or other evidence suggesting apparent intent.
Among Borsch’s findings:
- RMMs are at a record high. From 1975 through the Columbine massacre, “successful” and attempted RMMs in the US and abroad averaged one per year. Post-Columbine through 2010, the yearly average was four. Last year there were eight, and the total for 2012 through Thanksgiving was 9.
- Statistically, the most dangerous months are March (23%) and April (16%), with September and December tied at 11%.
- Schools (pre-school through 12th grade) are target 38% of the time; colleges/universities 17%; and churches/religious facilities 10%.
Intervention occurs to stop the killing in just over half the incidents, Borsch estimates. Of known aborts, two-thirds are accomplished by civilians and one-third by law enforcement.
Citizens for the most part act unarmed, and eight out of 10 times their intervention is initiated by a single actor. “When law enforcement successfully stops RMM,” Borsch reports, “the abort is initiated by a solo officer seven out of 10 times.”
Borsch has found examples of successful two-officer and three-officer intervention on occasion, but he says he has “never been able to objectively document a case where four or more officers acting together in a formation have been able to stop RMM.”
The single most important training take-away, in Borsch’s opinion: “Agencies need to emphasize single-officer tactics for responding to active-killer threats and de-emphasize or abandon multiple-officer ‘posse’ exercises, which still persist as a sacred cow in some jurisdictions.”