‘Ac­tive shooter’ sends se­cu­rity in a tizzy


An ini­tial re­port about a sus­pi­cious gun­man at Davis-Mon­than US Air Force Base in 2011 led to a se­ries of com­mu­ni­ca­tion break­downs dur­ing a chaotic se­cu­rity in­ci­dent. The Af­ter Ac­tion Re­port re­leased by the 355th Fighter Wing said that, in Air Force jar­gon, an unau­tho­rised sus­pect car­ry­ing a gun on a mil­i­tary base is re­ferred to as an “ac­tive shooter,” even if no weapon has been fired.

So, when a civil­ian at the Tuc­son fa­cil­ity mis­tak­enly re­ported see­ing a man with an as­sault ri­fle, mil­i­tary re­spon­ders be­gan talk­ing about an “ac­tive shooter,” and civil­ian emer­gency dis­patch­ers off the base spread word that a man with a gun had opened fire. Fi­nally af­ter nearly nine hours, Davis-Mon­than of­fi­cials de­clared the emer­gency over and an­nounced there was no gun­man. They de­clined to ex­plain the false alarm.

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