Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Tag: mass shootings


Low casualties in LAX shooting highlight new police response

When a disturbed man pulled an assault rifle out of a bag in a crowded Los Angeles airport terminal and shot four people last Friday, it marked the 17th mass shooting just this year in the U.S. The phenomenon only seems to have increased in number since Newtown.

The recipe is the same. A suicidal man arms himself and takes out his rage on a surrogate, in this case the Transportation Security Administration. The violent spree left three people wounded and one man – Gerardo Hernandez, a TSA employee – dead.

But it could have been

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Is America even interested in breaking the cycle of gun violence?

As Apple rolled out its new iPhone and Tacoma employees learned that flip-flops were not proper work attire (who knew?), gunshots and explosions took scores of lives in some of the world’s most violent places.

Africa: Alleged al-Shabab terrorists used explosives and gunfire to kill as many as 62 people in a Kenyan shopping mall on Saturday, an incident that has yet to conclude (TNT 9/23).

Iraq: News reports indicate 120 people were killed in several explosions in Baghdad last week (TNT 9/22) in the latest round of sectarian violence.

Pakistan: Two suicide

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Murky lessons from Tacoma, Santa Monica shootings

Last Thursday in Tacoma an argument allegedly prompted Michael Dillon to fatally shoot his next door neighbor. On Friday a man now identified as John Zawahri shot his father and brother and torched their Santa Monica home before going on to kill others at a nearby college.

Two armed killers, fueled by rage, writing their grievances in innocent blood – just another 24 hours in America.

There are, however, several differences between these two tragic incidents which may shed a dim light on the phenomenon known as the mass shooting.

It starts with a relative unknown: the killers’ mindset. Neighbors

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The mental health system – where “broken” never goes out of style

If Google were truly the revealing search engine we think it is, I should be able to download the entirety of our state’s mental health system simply by entering a single keyword: Broken.

Sean Robinson’s exhaustive article (Trib 3/10) reveals a system plagued by slipshod accountability and error-prone service. This comes as no surprise for the people who operate within this cyclical business, a list which includes firefighters and cops, ER docs and nurses, along with the mental health professionals who hold the keys to long term treatment.

Robinson delved into the minutiae of his topic in

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Five ideas for public safety in 2013

Now that most people have wandered back home after the holidays, it’s time to crank up the new year.

We mark this transition with appropriate hopes, resolutions and predictions. In keeping with tradition, I’ve put together a list of what I consider the top five public safety priorities this year. These are issues that contribute to the violence, theft and a rate of incarceration that has failed to diminish crime while it drains our wallets.

5 Public Safety Ideas for 2013 (in no particular order)

Gun buy-back: For all of the talking points tossed

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A safer nation? Make compromises and pay the costs

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -Franklin Delano Roosevelt

What may have been true in 1933, at least in the context of FDR’s speech, seems pathetically out of place today. Our current state of fear is no mere metaphor. Mass shootings are a phenomena as real and violent as they are random and impersonal.

We have become so numb to these events that the least informed among us could write the script: disaffected, deranged loner shoots at people in a public place; the news media hone in on the perp, pasting his photo, his gun collection,

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Are we merely sheep for a mass shooter’s slaughter?

NOTE: The following column was written and titled two days prior to the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. While I believe the content is that much more relevant, the events in Newtown are so horrific that I apologize if the following piece appears blithe by comparison.

Quick question- is the following a news headline or a statement so ubiquitous it might well be classified as cliche?

“Masked gunman opens fire in crowded public place, killing several before taking his own life”

The answer, of course, is that this line not only describes the latest mass shooting

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A dangerous equation: Killer + Media hype = Celebrity

When I came across the U.S. map on the back of the Saturday News Tribune I assumed the dark and light shading of the states represented recent presidential polling. No so. It depicted the scenes of domestic mass killings from the Columbine killings in 1999 to the present day – in all 230 were gunned down in 22 separate incidents.

Though each shocking incident represented a significant loss of life, the total number was not enough to skew our nation’s homicide statistics. Public awareness of these traumatic events, on the other hand, has led to a disproportionate amount of fear.

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