Risk Insider: Marilyn Rivers

How Can We Control the ‘Trigger’?

By: | October 6, 2015

Marilyn Rivers, CPCU, ARM, AIC, currently serves as the director of risk and safety — city safety and compliance officer for a municipality in Upstate New York and is a director at large and delegate for the government and public sector division of the National Safety Council. She can be reached at [email protected]

Topics: ERM | Risk Insider

My son is a survivor of that fateful day at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. The day changed my family forever as he waited with a SWAT officer protecting him and others from the unknowns of that cold, infamous day when 32 people were killed and 17 wounded.

As I think back to that morning watching it unfold live on the national news and taking the phone call that everyone dreads, hearing my son say “Goodbye … just in case, Mom,” it makes my heart forever wrench and my blood boil every time I hear of another campus shooting and innocent people dying.

The right to bear arms is one of the foundations of this country. You will find no argument here, no dialogue and no excuses as to that inalienable right. What you will find is an argument for responsibility.

What risk management tools can we put into place that controls the “trigger”? Have we decided as a society to address that “trigger”?

I was once asked if arming municipal clerks in remote locations was a good idea. The argument given was that remoteness begged danger and required an individual’s right of protection. I’m not sure how incredulous I looked as I responded, asking about the checks and balances and responsibility of ownership.

Checks and balances for gun control? I think in my world they call that risk management.

Risk management for establishing protocols for gun ownership seems invasive to many, but those with any sense of reality understand the need to establish who may purchase and retain ownership responsibly and civically.

The general population looks incredulously at the television each time a shooting event happens. They ask how and why this happened. They ask what measures each of the facilities had in place that could or did prevent it from occurring. Yet with each new incident, questions arise as to what possibly can be done from a facility perspective to prevent or minimize the occurrence.

We as a society can harden our facilities to the point of being fortresses before the public questions their civil rights and sensibilities. We can train our law enforcement to watch, listen and respond before they are characterized as being bullies or human right violators.

When does the bough break? When do we all finally admit that as much as we can prepare, train and protect, the proximate cause of the issue will always be the person pulling the trigger?

When was the last time you went to the mall, movie theater, concert or community event when you didn’t check out your surroundings?

What risk management tools can we put into place that controls the “trigger”? Have we decided as a society to address that “trigger”?

Society has so many questions and so few answers to these pressing questions.

It’s time to take a hard look at risk management for the firearm industry and ask not what the industry can do for profit, but what that industry can do for education, awareness and moderation in ownership, use and the freedom to responsibly bear arms.

Let’s talk, America, and reasonably come to terms with balancing freedom with the reality of those firearms.

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