There was a big hullabaloo yesterday at CCSU. A student came to campus still dressed in his Halloween costume (snakes eyes from GI Joe) and it caused a big security scare and the campus was on lock down for 4 hours or so. Read the article here:
So what? So, I think everyone way overreacted and I’ve been trying to figure out why. I think I’ve boiled it down to a couple of points.
Since security became a top level priority (pick a historic event to attribute this to), we have been told to call the authorities at the first sign of anything. Don’t interact with the suspicious person or thing, just call security. See something, say something. That is what happened yesterday. Someone saw someone else walking through campus dressed all in black and with weapons and said something. I’m going to argue that ‘see something, say something’ is the wrong way to go.
I think that the suspicious person should be confronted. In this particular I see that going two ways. Let’s say the black-clad armed suspect is confronted by a passer-by with a “Hey dude, what’s the deal?”, or something similar. If the suspect had no bad intentions they would explain that they have a costume on, they don’t have other clothes, and are headed to their dorm to change. This could happen a few times as the suspect walk to his dorm, but more importantly the lockdown-search-danger scenario is avoided and people go about their merry business.
If the suspect has nefarious intentions he can do two things, attack the person confronting him or ignore him and go act out his evil plot. If he attacks the person confronting him, now everyone in sight or earshot is notified and the attackers plan is more or less ruined. There’s a good chance someone gets killed, possibly multiple. If he ignores the confront-er and carries out his plan, there is still a good chance that someone gets killed, but no one is aware until it’s right on top of them.
In either case, if the suspect has bad intentions, something bad is going to happen. If the suspect doesn’t have bad intentions a big scene is avoided. The biggest factor seems to be the security of the questioning passer-by. In the bad situation, their life is unnecessarily put in danger.
I want to step back to the suspicious person being confronted. I believe, this makes it harder for a person with bad intentions to carry them out. A percentage of people are going to do bad things regardless of outside factors. But a larger percentage of people with bad intentions aren’t convinced that they’re going to complete what they think they’ve set out to do. If they are stopped by a stranger, I think they will be scared out of completing their plan.
I’m not saying that we should always stop and interrogate each other, rather that we should be encouraged to talk to every/anyone instead of calling authorities and following them. A general attitude of ‘be nicer and talk to one another’ is a better deterrent against extreme behavior than a show of force.
On a different and less debated point, the media blew this way out of proportion. They are trying to be the first to report news so they report any trash that’s thrown at them. I happened to watch a live stream of a local news channel and it was disgraceful. They literally kept repeating information that they got from a student who was in Dunkin Donuts near by who overheard someone else in said D&D. How does a reporter feel good about themselves reporting like that?
They also asked anyone who would stand in front of a camera about their feelings on the CCSU situation and Sandy Hook almost a year ago. Seriously. The news had zero proof that anything had happened and they were asking someone who “woke up at noon” how this compared to the tragedy last December. Utterly disgusting.