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Warnings of massacre

  • June 3rd, 2010

I wonder how quickly Police here could get an effective warning to people to get out of the reach of a mad gunman (or knife wielder or other highly mobile threat).  Presumably we will learn more, but in the three hours Derrick Bird was active it seems most of the people he shot were entirely unaware there was a madman on the loose.

We have been trying various ways to warn of tsunami, but sadly we are probably more likely to have deaths from a madman's spree, than a tsunami. Is radio and text enough? Do the Police know how to activate warnings quickly? Perhaps there should be a campaign to encourage us to go next door to make sure our neighbours have heard warnings when we hear them.

In country areas people are used to checking their neighbours, but perhaps we've got out of the practice in urban areas.

I like to think that in country areas in New Zealand a Derrick Bird would not have been quite so devastating as he was in Cumbria. Here most rural houses still have fire-arms. He might have been stopped a bit earlier or not felt quite so free to prey on a population made defenceless (by the dopey legislative reaction to Dunblane).


  • Jim Maclean
  • June 5th, 2010
  • 12:46 am

I am less concerned with the difficult task of warning members of the public in an area of potential danger, than I am of the failure of the NZ Police to learn the lessons from overseas tragedies and plan accordingly. The British IPCC supervised Inquiry into the Highmoor Cross incident is stunningly similar to our IPCA report into the Navjit Singh, available through their website that has this press release on the matter.
Until we have a Police Executive prepared to learn from the mistakes of others we are doomed to repeat them, and Rob Pope seemed more interested in contesting the IPCA's report than learning from it.
This latest outrage in the UK fits the "active Shooter" catagory and although I have not heard any suggestion that the British Police could have done more to protect the public in this case, I have no confidence that our own Police have updated their tactics from the "cordon and contain" which failed so tragically in the Manukau liquor store.
This link gives an outline. It continuse to depress me that our own Police have almost certainly decided to ignore it until we get a "Columbine" right here in NZ, if they have even had the time or inclination to study the lessons so bitterly learned in North America. Read it and weep!

  • Jim Maclean
  • June 5th, 2010
  • 12:47 am

 An armed citizenry is a deterrant against this kind of slaughter. Remember Hungerford (16 people shot dead, including an unarmed copper), Dunblane (16 children shot dead, including a teacher), and now Cumbria? I would argue that if any of the victims in these horrors had access to a gun and were trained to use it, the nutters that committed these atrocities would have been stopped in their tracks a? lot sooner.
Secondly, NOT ONE person could stop Derrick Bird. not the police, not the public. Why? Because they were unarmed. Nobody had a gun or access to one that could be used to stop this slaughter. He went on a killing spree for THIRTY FIVE MILES before he parked his car, casually walked into a secluded area and topped himself. In one instance, Bird was in plain sight of two police officers who were scooting people out of the way and shouting at others to “take cover.” They could not stop him. Their aluminium telescopic batons and tins of OC spray weren’t quite a match for Bird’s .22 rifle and 12 bore shotgun.
The UK handgun ban is absolutely insane. Just how many of the tens of thousands of UK citizens who owned handguns went on shooting sprees before they were stripped of their weapons in 1996? Ten years later in 2006, there were an estimated four million illegal guns circulating in the UK. Criminals between the ages of 15-24 can get access to Mac-10 sub-machine guns, Beretta pistols. Also on the rise is the number of victims shot: Again, going back seven years, 440 people were seriously wounded by firearms in 2003-04, up five per cent from 2002. In the first six months of 2009, the number of shootings in London had almost doubled from 123 to 236 compared with the same period in 2008, a rise of 91.8%. Serious firearms offences have risen by 47% across London.
Since 1996, gun crime has increased overall in the UK by 92%. Now we have huge areas of London, Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool controlled by gangs armed with machine guns, fighting it out over turf and the drugs trade. Teenagers packing illegal handguns battle each other in “respect” shootings. In the meantime, coppers walk around unarmed while the rest of the country is left to cower in homes behind locked doors, burglar alarms and barred windows.
As an ex-British soldier now living in Canada, the situation here is a lot saner. All police officers here are armed and Canada has considerably less violent crime than the UK. There are over 3.8 million gun owners here who didn’t kill anyone yesterday. The answer in the UK is to have every police station or district manned by a select number of armed officers who can react quickly and independently when another mass shooting happens. And it will given time.
For those who continue to believe that disarming law abiding citizens will somehow keep us all safe, just listen to the number of 911 recording on YouTube by terrified women who were calling for help when stalkers, rapists and burglars were in the act of breaking into their homes. The police were too far away to get to the scene in time. All the women in question are all alive today because they had access to a gun in the house and were able to put a bullet in their attackers. So what would you rather have? A woman raped, beaten, then strangled with her own? panties, or a dead criminal? As far as Derrick Bird is concerned, I would rather have armed police officers or even a citizen with access to a gun who could have stopped Bird a lot sooner.
When a citizenry is unarmed and therefore stripped of its ability to protect itself, then that citizenry is no longer free. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrid crime.
Bill Gibbons

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