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I Don't Like Mondays [Apr. 16th, 2007|11:54 am]
Wizard of Changes -- ©cdozo 2004 to 2015
[The river is |sadsad]

Oh no.

There has been terrible shooting at Virginia Tech22 33 people have been killed.

*sad*
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: curculio
2007-04-17 01:01 pm (UTC)

Re: delay

I believe this issue is one that can be debated. For instance, the fact that the police haven't said whether there was one or two killers suggests there were two. I don't think the shootings were connected if there were two locos; this was a reverse miracle with two of the worst events happening at once. It is therefore not likely to happen again.

Yes, there is the follow the fire truck syndrome. One should not be able to collect death benefits if one does this. Yes, college kids are in the experimental, inquisitive and challenging part (hopefully to be continued) part of their lives and are not easily corralled to follow even the sanest of emergency procedures. Yes, there are consequences to huge decisions like lockdowns, such as the boy who cried wolf syndrome. And yes, if they had locked the school down and waited until today to reopen, perhaps the killer would have had time to buy more bullets and go to any assembly where the reasons for the lockdown were being declared.

But yes, there are now 32 dead people and shock, horrible shock. I prefer to play things safe. That is why I am not against some of the craziness behind all the security measures at airports and elsewhere. After all, I travel to Israel once a year and the screenings there are more intrusive, though as a consequence, they seem better designed to prevent problems than to spin safety out of air and water bottles.

What is the plan in the case of a real terrorist threat? What is the threshhold for action? When do we start to act? These are the flip side questions to yours? Perhaps there is no reasonable compromise to balance rational anticipation with madness and evil.
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[User Picture]From: ndozo
2007-04-17 04:32 pm (UTC)

Re: delay

It's cold, but on some level you have to play the odds. Virginia Tech is the size of a moderately large town. WOuld you lock down a town because of a domestic shooting? How likely is this kind of thing on any given day on any given campus? How many hours of instruction would be sacrificed to "lockdowns." How many kids have been injured or killed in all the school shootings in US history? Things are going to happen. Crazy people will do crazy things. This shooting has really upset me, but I'm more disturbed about the kids who were recently killed when a tornado hit their school. That was predictable. That could have been anticipated and prepared for. It might make sense to make sure that schools can lock their classroom doors easily, maybe even bulletproof glass in windows and doors. But random violence is tough to respond to properly. I guess I'm also feeling sorry for the officials at the school. They must be devastated and yet they are having to defend themselves immediately. I hate the way the media covers this kind of thing and I think it pushes institutions to create stupid policies so that if something a happens they'll have a defense. I'd be more inclined to wonder how such a disturbed person could go so long without help and could get so many bullets. In so many of these cases, a little concern and compassion might have redirected a troubled person. Official policies often have the opposite effect. People should be nicer to each other and psychiatric help should be much easier to get. That would be my policy.

I agree that Israeli airport security has a level of reality and pragmatism that US security tries to imitate with tail-chasing and smoke and mirrors.
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[User Picture]From: ndozo
2007-04-17 04:51 pm (UTC)

Re: delay

I just read that he had been on depression meds. I truly believe that SSRI type meds cause explosive impulsive violent behavior, either homicidal or suicidal. I think that bipolar people given these meds are much more likely to do things like this. I've heard that they de-inhibit before they control depression or mania thus making it much more likely that the patient will act on violent irrational thoughts.
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[User Picture]From: curculio
2007-04-17 05:00 pm (UTC)

Re: delay

I agree you have to play the odds. When I play the lottery, it is when the cash prize is so high that tossing a few dollars (cost) seems trivial relative to the benefit of winning, even if the odds of winning haven't changed. I think this is the reverse of that scenario.

I'm in Argentina and am completely out of the loop with respect to the bliztkreig of news reports and face to face accusations and calls for heads. I'm not at all concerned with whether mistakes were made. My only concern is whether it is possible to come up with contingency plans that will circumvent worst case, less than worst case scenarios.

There is nothing like having a woman who is observant and has her mind clear to prevent a disaster in her realm (the woman who saw the gunman and instead of turning into a Hollywood actress, turned the table against the door). Most problems can be prevented with on-site vigilance, and proaction. The President of the University of Texas just sent out a letter describing everything they have in place to counter problems like this shooting. Then he points out that the solution is everyone's:

"The greater challenge in emergencies is with individuals not knowing personally what to do if they find themselves in a threatening situation or if they have noticed a significant, strange change in someone's behavior."

He then gives a webpage that offers protocols for action.
(http://www.utexas.edu/emergency/procedures.php).

I believe this type of education is the first step. Having everyone aware of the fact that each of us is our best friend and each of us may be the last defense against horrors like this is a necessary assumption. There is plenty of blame to go around but personally, I like to look at myself first and ask, whether I could reasonably have anticipated the problem, reasonably done something, or even reasonably not put myself and others in further danger.

Some problems come without warning. These are best dealt with by those directly facing them. Problems that can be anticipated or predicted, especially with fairly good timing, are first dealt with by the group. In Central Texas, we have lots of tornado warning systems. We don't expect tornadoes during clear sky but we increase our vigilance during storms. When there are weak points in communication, it is up to the group, that is all of us, to determine whether that weakness can be reasonably addressed. If it can't, we might as well attribute those deaths to fate. If the weakness can be addressed, we have to assume that if we let that weakness stand in the future, we have failed and the deaths are on us.
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