Thursday, September 2, 2010

On the Discovery gunman

The media reports he was an extremist, which quite frankly doesn't impress me that much. Plenty of people are extremists without resorting to violence, and this guy at first glance doesn't have the history to suggest that he would wind up in a building full of people with a bomb strapped to his chest. Thankfully he didn't blow any one up.

Also, kudos to the cops for taking him out and saving all the hostages; with the police presence there yesterday, and all the rifles, armor, armored vehicles in all, it was about time that a crazy hostage taker lost his life via the good guys on national TV.

Now, while I can see how watching back-to-back episodes of Kate Plus 8 would drive anyone to madness, I just can't get over this:
Video taken by a Youtube user that day reveals an individual throwing money to gleeful crowds in Silver Spring. That individual in the video may be Lee -- who was arrested that day in Silver Spring for littering and disorderly conduct after he threw thousands of dollars to people. ABC 7 News released video of Lee's arrest after police determined that he was creating an unsafe environment. He served a 10-day sentence.
Who would have thought that throwing cash to a consensual crowd would constitute creating an unsafe environment? I can see the littering charge if you consider that cash is really just worthless paper, but only in America would it be a crime to throw money at people.

In another article, we find that the gunman had some unregistered destructive devices. Maybe we should make people register them or something, and make public buildings bomb free. We have such wonderful and successful security measures in place already at airports; it seems like common sense to me to extend it to other places like where you work, Wal-Mart, and Kroeger's and stuff. What's the harm?

Looking at some photos of this mess gives me some concern. The guys in green are presumably police officers of some sort, most likely FBI HRT, who look to be more geared towards fighting in Afghanistan than Silver Spring; indeed, the guy in the first photo is wearing many of the things that US Special Warfare troops wear, like the Crye Precision combat uniform and MSA Advanced Combat Helmet. I'm all about SWAT having all the toys that make their job safe and all, but what's with all the green and camouflage, and the armored vehicles? When did the boys in blue become Soldiers in combat outfits? I believe these guys are Maryland State Police -- do they look like it to you?

When I think of police, I think of blue uniforms and eight point covers; when I think of county Sheriff's deputies, I think of the brown uniform with a neck-tie and Smokey; and when I think of SWAT teams for the exact type of incident that happened yesterday, I envision black and/or blue clad cops in armor with kick ass weapons and battering rams. Sadly, today it's more likely to be cops in multicam riding in on an APC complete with M2 BHMG, and it seems that every small town has them, but is strikingly absent of hostage or terrorist situations.

When there is trouble, you are supposed to know exactly who is the police officer charged and sworn with addressing the miscreant - we have that with the eight point cover and Smokey. There is no mistake in a crowd. Why is it then that we can't accurately determine who is a police officer, who is a federal agent, and who is a Soldier in our country anymore? When did we let that change? Something's not right with that.

I still commend the cops for taking that scumbag out without loss of decent life.
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