The Cost of an Attack - Ft. Lauderdale

Disclaimer: I am pro-gun but believe better background checks and other restrictions need to be implemented.


I got home on Friday afternoon, turned on the TV and behold we have the first mass shooting of 2017. At the time of writing this post, at least five people were killed and nine were wounded in the attack at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood international airport. That number will most likely rise. The airport was still being evacuated while writing this.

Esteban Santiago, 26, of New Jersey was identified as the suspected shooter. He has a military identification card. He is currently in custody but it is unclear if he was acting alone. The shooting took place in the baggage claim of Terminal Two, shortly before 1:00 PM and led to a multi-agency response including Broward County Sherriff, numerous local law enforcement agencies, FBI, ATF, Postal Police (I saw the uniform on TV), and Fire-EMS.

This post is not about the actual events currently taking place. Those are unfolding and are conflicting at best. At Overwatch 1776 we strive to not base what we write on breaking news but we will use it as a starting point.

So, let’s break down the types of costs associated with the attack. I cannot speculate numbers; this is more to get us to think critically about the issue.  

Flights: the airport is closed, not flights are going in or out. I am assuming any arriving flights were diverted to nearby airports. Delayed and cancelled flights affect air travel nation-wide. Grounded airplanes cost money.  The airport had 26,941,511 flights in 2015 which comes out to 73,812 daily flights.

Airport: I do not know what else to call this section but after evacuating and shutting down an airport there are extensive cost. Firstly, is the lack of operations in the airport, not sales, no productivity, nothing besides police activity is occurring. Secondly, evacuations cost money. More equipment is used and chaos erupts. Lastly, the aftermath will also cost money. He airport will have to assist passengers in locating luggage, finding loved ones, and reschedule flights. Any damage from the gun shots must be repaired.

Response: Hundreds of law enforcement officers at federal and state level responded to the attack. Paramedics and EMS are also needed in large numbers. Airports are huge complexes that need to be cleared inch by inch until it is determined that there is no other threat such as additional shooters or explosive devises. On a local level, dedicating a large contingency of the department means that there is less coverage in the rest of their jurisdiction.  The Sherriff stated that the airport will not be opened until SWAT teams have cleared the entire airport. Airports across the country including JFK, Newark Liberty International Airport, and LAX have increased their security as well.  

Cost of an attack: The cost of bullets is extremely low. Bullets on Freedom Munitions cost as little as $0.26 per bullet and a 30-round magazine cost as little as $10.00 for an AR15, M4, or M16 rifles. Freedom Munitions charges $560.00 for a Bushmaster Rifle. Bullets for the Bushmaster cost as little as $0.31 each.  I am sure one can find rifles, bullets, and magazines for cheaper. If you buy everything from Freedom Munitions you can conduct a mass shooing using 100 bullets and three magazines would cost you about $610.00 before taxes ($560.00 for the gun $20.00 for two additional magazines and $31.00 for 100 bullets).  

The cost of an attack (or terrorism if this is deemed to be that) is minimal, 9/11 was the exception costing between $400,000 and $500,000. The cost of a response is existential, that’s just the way it is. I want you, the readers to think about it. The cost of security is high and security is inconvenient but when implemented correctly it can mitigate the cost of a response and prevents attacks. The public only notices security “failures” and rarely notice that a quiet day or a day that nothing occurred is a success. Think about this when your child’s school, your school, the government, etc. wants to improve its security. The inconvenience and cost to you in the short term will outweigh the cost of an attack if it were to occur.