I will admit that I spend an inordinate amount of time reading the published opinions and articles of others. For me it can be both educational and frustrating. I thought I would share a few of the fallacies that are actually quite common here in this country – perhaps around the world. I call this post “Know Your Role” because I fear many of us do not. So, let’s do this.
1) Anti-terrorism and Counter-terrorism are two different things. Being an expert in one discipline does not mean you are an expert in the other. Anti-terrorism is defensive in nature. It is designed to prevent, defend against, or mitigate a terrorist attack. Counter-terrorism is offensive in nature and is designed to pre-empt, respond to, or retaliate against the actors involved in an act of terrorism. Two completely different disciplines, although they should go hand-in-hand in any proper defensive or security protocols. Bottom line – know the difference. In most cases, nobody you know has been actually trained or experienced in either discipline. Take what they have to say as their opinion only.
2) “I’m a cop so I know a thing or two about security.” No you don’t. Unless you have been trained in the disciplines of security, you know just as much as a school teacher. Over and over again- and bear in mind I used to be a cop and I know a lot of cops and I love our law enforcement- I see schools hiring police officers to design the security procedures and responses to things such as active shooter scenarios. This is not a law enforcement discipline. In most cases, the average cop believes that if they stand somewhere, their mere presence will prevent crime. Although that may be true in some cases, it doesn’t mean being a cop makes you an expert in security matters. It means your expertise only extends to your ability to stand in one place and look menacing. That isn’t security.
3) There is no substitute for experience. As a coworker of mine likes to say, “Fifteen years of experience is vastly different from fifteen experiences in a year.” If the person speaking is doing so only from academic study and not real world experience, their opinion means exactly zero to me. Education is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, it also tends to convince people that they know what they are talking about and it is rarely true.
4) “I’m a lawyer. I know the constitution.” Another falsehood. Very, VERY few lawyers are experts on the constitution. For the most part, lawyers learn case law, not the founding documents. Just because an attorney possesses a law degree does not make them experts on all things legal. Lawyers typically spend most of their time in one legal discipline – criminal, civil, family law, tax law, business law, etc. Don’t believe me? Ask the nearest lawyer what the constitution says about jury trials. Go ahead. Report back when done. Every lawyer I have ever asked has gotten it wrong. Shocking? Not really.
5) You are not an operator. Neither is anyone you know. Today in one article I posted to my facebook page, there were several errors in descriptions of “special” units all within the same two paragraphs. It makes my head hurt. Not everyone with the word “special” in their description is an operator. Seals and Rangers are not Special Forces and Special Forces aren’t operators either. The term has now extended to Coast Guard units and Police Officers and the stupidity factor is just out of control. Stop it. If you haven’t attended an Operator’s Course, you are not an operator. But, of course, there is a Tactical Operator’s Course FOUND HERE that pertains to … apparently… the Coast Guard and Maritime Security operation. Sigh…
I’m glad I got that off my chest this morning.
If you are trying to arrange security for your school or business, hire an expert in security. Save yourself a lot of grief and money. If that person has no formal training or experience in security disciplines, they are not the expert you are seeking. Don’t fall victim to titles and impressive labels. I see this virtually every day in my field and I am left with no option but to shake my head and walk away.