Tampa Bay area security experts hope to learn from the tragedy inside a Colorado movie theater

LARGO, Fla. - Thursday night's shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater stands as just one example on a growing list of terror striking a place of presumed and expected safety.

"Have we seen an increased frequency of these attacks in the last 15 years? Absolutely we have," said Craig Grundy, VP of Special Projects for Critical Intervention Services.

The reason, however, is anyone's best guess. Security experts in the Tampa Bay area are less concerned with why, and focused more on how.

"From each tragedy, we learn something," explained Adam Clarke, CIS Director of Threat Management.

Unlike another notorious rampage, the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, where links to Al-Qaida earned Nidal Hasan a terrorist title, experts believe its unlikely Aurora theater suspect James Holmes acted for political ideology.

"Terrorism, or what we'd classically term 'terrorism', there's an ideological motive," Grundy said.

But as carnage in crowded places continues, the line between terrorist and madman blurs, just like in Tuscon, Arizona, where Jared Loughner is accused of opening fire at a Democrat political event last year.

"We can't plan for all of that," Clarke said. "We can't put all those people in a box. Everyone is different."

Still, security experts in Tampa Bay are paying close attention to Colorado right now, wondering how they may better protect exits and entrances, train staff adequately for threats, and determine whether certain facilities are more vulnerable to attack.

"But as far as being able to eliminate these things, it's just not possible in a society like ours," Grundy said.

Ultimately, can they better protect their clients, or at least help their clients better protect themselves, by paying attention to warning signs like the ones others may have missed in the days before Thursday night's tragedy.

"Thought something wasn't right, but for whatever reason, chose not to say something," Clarke said.

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