Club of
  Highland Park / Highwood
Dick Stone introduced our speaker Phil Andrew. Phil spent 21 years as a Special Agent with the FBI. Most of that time as a crisis negotiator. He pointed out that people often barricade themselves when they are in crisis - whether it be perpetrators, victims, witnesses, even first responders. It happens to people of all levels.  Phil speaks from experience. 
On May 20, 1988, Phil had returned from U of I for the summer and was looking forward to a busy summer interning with the State's Attorney's office while also working in Congressman John Porter's office. While talking to his mother in the kitchen, they were unaware of what was happening a couple blocks away. Laurie Dann said her good-byes to a family she was a nanny for at one time, then doused gasoline on their basement door stoop and lit a match with the mother and children inside. The mother was able to escape and call 911. Next, Laurie Dann parked near Hubbard Woods School where a spring carnival was going on.
She walked into the school and slipped inside the boy's bathroom to light the fuse of a homemade cyanide gas device. The fuse failed, thus saving about 200 lives that day. A boy walked into the washroom and was shot by Dann. He was able to make it to the school office where police were notified. Laurie Dann shot three other children, one child died,  and then she ran to a nearby home - the Andrew home. Phil and his mother tried to calm Laurie down, keep her talking, but she was beyond listening. At one point Phil tried to disarm her and was shot in the chest. Both lungs and several other organs were struck. Phil laid in the driveway of his home while the police tried negotiating with her. After some time, Laurie went upstairs in the Andrew home and killed herself. It was a first responder who ordered Phil to stay awake and keep breathing. 
Phil learned that day about human connection. He learned that rapport can build over time or happen in a second. It requires listening. Listening is the first step.  Stretching that first step and engaging is the next. Having the resources to help those in a crisis is key as well. 

Today Phil is Principal of PAX Group. PAX works with organizations on Risk Preparation & Mitigation and Crisis & Conflict Resolution. Among their clients are the Archdiocese of Chicago, Institute for Non-Violence Chicago, Chicago CRED, and Peaceful Pathways.
He shared with the club statistics about guns and gun violence. He feels we need to reform policies and gun laws  Over half of all gun related deaths are suicides. Of that number, one in five are veterans. Less than two percent of shootings are attributed to mass shootings. 86% percent of mass shooters were either a perpetrator or victim of domestic violence. Half of all mass shooters exhibit warning signs (even Laurie Dann). Since that first mass school shooting much has been discovered about how we address these crimes. Educating stakeholders like first responders, counselors, and teachers of the warning signs as well as not naming the perpetrator and thereby removing the "celebrity status" in more vulnerable circles.
Both New York City and Los Angeles were sued by the Federal Government resulting in consent decrees. The cities invested in programs that addressed the issues, at great expense ($150 - $200 million a year). The outcome was the lowest number of homicides in BOTH cities since the prior decade and the enactment of the consent decree. In 2016, much of the Chicago's gun violence was street level and often in response to social media taunts. In 2017, when you compared the data of Chicago, Los Angeles and New York,  each of them had roughly the same number of non-gun related homicides - less than 2%. However, for gun related homicides, New York had an equal number of their non-gun stats; LA's stat was 5% that and Chicago's was 22% more than New York's. Forty percent of crimes committed with a gun in Chicago were with guns purchased in Indiana. Thirty-four thousand Illinoisans who own guns have been deemed unsafe to own a firearm, yet they still have them. 
Hate speech is also an aspect of this - how we respond - some shooters act to seek that approval. If violence is learned and degrading speech is introduced, it dehumanizes you. That is why intervention at an early age is so important.
After his encounter with Laurie Dann, Phil said his resilience came from the support of family, coaches and the community. It comes down to making that human connection - asking "Are you okay?" and then "Can I help?"