How landscape architects fight the last war while designing against mass shootings

Originally published at:

1 Like

Statistically speaking, the risk of these mass events is still absolutely trivial. Turning schools into reverse prisons is not an effective use of resources in reducing death rates. The money would be better spent on better food and health education.

Having said that, one of the reactions to the weaponisation of private motor vehicles might (should) be to restrict their access to places where there are many people. Turning large parts of downtown areas into pedestrian malls with walking, cycling & public transit access only would be a net positive in my view. Reducing the number of driver “oopsies” that kill a large number of pedestrians and cyclists every year would be an added bonus.


Reminds you about what’s really being protected.

The hardware of a system, not the people it ‘serves’, is being protected.


I’m not sure that’s really right. I don’t think airport security is really about saving planes. Airport security might be inefficient, fairly ineffective and very annoying, but I’m going to explain that by assuming incompetence, rather than malevolence for the most part (self-interest at worst). Employees, managers and administrators responsible for it are for the most part trying to do some good in my view. Exceptions may be small but significant.


And when the terrorists/white crazy guys have the same tools to predict where people will be bunched for the follow-up attack?


Well we can protect planes to keep people safe, or protect planes to save confidence in a system. I’m saying it’s the latter. It’s not done for the passengers.


I’d be inclined to agree that preserving confidence in the system is important to those who profit from it (and the rest of us). It’s perhaps semantics as to whether the planes or the people are the primary protectees. But on the other hand, it is interesting to contemplate whether confidence in the “system” would be impacted by attacks on security lines. I don’t think by as much as attacks on planes. A security line is a relatively familiar environment where we are less likely to be irrationally fearful.

This is the weakness of CPTED, as useful as it is in normal circumstances. An adversary that understands the concepts can turn it on its head and work the principles to their advantage. There are numerous cases of professional bank robbers using CPTED to surveil their target and defend against police response.

all of this is fighting the last war, creating defenses against tactics that have already been invented

Are you suggesting that planners not try to defend against “already invented” tactics that repeatedly prove effective?

In the wake of Las Vegas, gun rights proponents are quick use the 2016 Nice attack to illustrate their position that guns aren’t the problem, so there’s no point in limiting them: See? Trucks are more deadly than guns!

I think it’s reasonable to respond to that sort of claim by defending against vehicle attacks by provisioning bollards around densely packed outdoor gathering areas. …and then starting the gun control discussion back up.*

What next, dismissing fire codes as “fighting last century’s Triangle Shirtwaist fire” ?

* Frankly, I don’t think modern gun control efforts are going to do a damned bit of good. Bans against named models, inventories of features, inventories of foreign-produced parts, etc… do little to make us safer, particularly when these efforts are led by people who are so willfully ignorant about guns (see: “shoulder thing that goes up”).

If democrats got serious, decided to ban anything with the capability of being fed by a box of cartridges (for example), leaving only muzzle-loaders, revolvers and tube-fed shotguns, then I’d be onboard. It’s the “single payer” of gun control.

The current efforts, combined with the rapid pace of maker capability is hopeless to stop someone with murderous intent.


How much of this endless “security” can we afford? Many of these methods are horribly expensive. Price out that special glass, that bullet proof wall board, those ultra fancy gates and go look at some inner city/poor suburban classroom where they don’t even have enough textbooks for the entire class.

More people die in one day from traffic accidents, day after day after day, year in and year out than Las Vegas took.

I’ve had some connection to designing serious physical security…the bills are staggering for the real thing…


Next up: Representative Soandso demands these measures be outlawed.


That’s why I like the ornamental trees as bollards idea. It prevents a lot of oopsies, provides shade, and is aesthetically pleasing. The rest is just throwing money at comforting scared buyers.


In my view its an exercise in “Cover Your Ass”. They have a need to show they’ve done something about the last attack, but there’s no need to prevent the next method, since they can plausibly say “who could have thought of THAT?” It reminds me of credit card security. Signatures are not at all about preventing fraud, no one ever looks at them, the 16 year old Qwik-Mart clerk is not trained to detect forged signatures. It’s all forensic CYA, “look we required a signature and we got one, what more could we do?” Same with this.

Have you visited Washington D.C. since 9/11? Every agency, however minor vies for the massive dollars for “anti-terror” upgrades and many formerly lovely historical government buildings now look like part of “Fortress Europe” in WW2 and new builds tend to look like ultra-modern prisons only less accessible to the public.

Even agencies that are as likely to receive a terror attack as the public library in West Bunwhacker Montana are armored and bollarded and blocked off to a fare thee well.

1 Like

Right, because it’s so much easier to create these absurd security theater stages, then it is to enact some sort of sensible gun control.


A mentally deranged individual with access to multiple semiautomatic long guns invades a school… and the response is to build a new school that’s a fortress. I already know what the next gunman will do: he’ll shoot up a school bus. And I already know what the response will be: to harden schoolbuses with bulletproof glass and armor.

What it wont be is anything regarding hindering mentally deranged individuals’ access to multiple semiautomatic weapons.

With respect to the recent event, the GOP politicians are currently at the ready with their “It’s too soon” argument when there’s any mention of gun policy.

But I think all questions to politicians regarding gun control should be directed towards their reflections on the previous massacre (or the one before that), and not the current massacre.

“Senator, do you mean to tell us it is still ‘too soon’ to be talking about remedial action regarding Sandy Hook and Orlando?”

Of course, they’ll respond that “that is not a serious question!” That it’s a stunt, that it’s a joke. They’ll be demonstrating that, now, it’s “too late” to be talking about those massacres.


As usual on this, see Oz for an example.

We’ve got semi-auto firearms here, and no mass shootings. Total bans are not required if you regulate sensibly.


Nope-nope-nope, nothing, NOTHING exists beyond the borders of good ole USA. It’s all just too different to apply, we’re a special place, exceptional even (saith Snagglepuss).

Seriously, you can’t even point to how the next city, never mind state or country does things here, it’s that closed minded. Ex: Why does my city require off duty cops at any street construction when most of the country does not? We’re special, end of discussion. So why would how furriners do it matter to us?

Category D, for semiautomatic guns and rifles, is only for professional shooters: you have to have a registered business and prove that you are earning an income through shooting.

How can you get good enough to earn a living using an item you can’t possess until you are good enough to earn a living from it 0_o What sport are you competing in when not enough people can own said item used in the sport?

Looking into it more the best way to get said license is to be part of some vertebrate pest removal entity. I really wish I could find the number of Category D owners as I suspect it is an incredibly small percentage of the 800K+ licensed owners.

My point being that claiming you have something but lack the deaths associated with it because “you regulate sensibly”, when in reality they are effectively banned except for the privileged few who can jump through the hoops to claim a need, is very disingenuous.

While not agreeing with it, I’d still respect the position and honestly of “We effectively banned these and haven’t had a repeat of the problem.”

Yet another tragic side effect of too much wealth concentrated in the hands of too few people.