Monday, April 16, 2007

Virgina Tech, A Study In Failure

In 1966 a Marine Veteran rode the elevator to the top of the clock tower at the University of Texas and started blowing people away. Within minutes there were all kinds of ordinary folks blasting back at him with deer rifles and the whole Austin PD heading towards him.

Today nobody shoots back and the local LEOs fart around , excuse me, establish a perimeter, form a chain of command, no, they fart around while people die. Somehow in the forty-odd years between UT and VT we lost something. In 1966 police had commanders, today we have administrators. Supposedly this instant communication with the first officers on the scene makes for better officer safety, which would be fine if people pinned on the badge to be safe.

I blame instant communications and the new breed of administrators. That Austin bluesuit of 1966 did not have a radio on his gunbelt with a microphone/speaker on his left epaulet. Once he was out of his squadcar he was on his own, he grabbed up an armed civilian and they climbed the stairs until they found and killed Whitman.

Remember those pictures from Columbine? They looked just like the pictures from today, dozens of LEOs "forming a perimeter" while unarmed kids are slaughtered inside. By the time the "proper chain of command" is set up and they finally move in the bad guy shoots himself, just like at Columbine.

This happens because there is no downside for these administrators. They don't lose a dime for arguing whether the Campus Police, City Police or County Sheriff is in charge. No funds are lost for the people killed while the administrators are waiting for the SWAT teams to get organized.

These shootings will keep happening, I'll leave it for those with great big brains to figure out why they do now but didn't before. Instead here is a new plan for when they do happen. Forget perimeters. Forget SWAT. Forget chain of command. Just move to the sound to the gunfire. When the panicked civilians are running out, keep saying "Let me see your hands". When you see a gun, give the person holding it one chance to put it down, chances are that there is an off duty LEO or armed citizen. We'll know if it's the bad guy if the shooting stops, right?

Those folks in that mall in Utah were very lucky that off duty LEO didn't have a radio. Instead of making the bad guy duck until the cavalry got there he'd have been forming a perimeter.

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