Here’s another sad tale of “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” And it’s another case illustrating that restraining orders are tissue paper. Our neighbor to the North had a mass killing of its own last week. Pretty much everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in this case.
First, the murderer was released from jail after attempting to severely injure or kill his wife, who was seeking a divorce. According to this story, Peter Kyun Joon Lee “deliberately drove his Land Rover into a pole on July 31, leaving his wife with a broken arm and other injuries.” As usual, the
Justice legal system ground slowly on:
A judge released Lee on bail, with expectations that he would return to court to enter a plea on Sept. 12. In the interim, the judge ordered Lee not to return to his home, contact his wife or possess knives.
He didn’t, apparently, conform to any of the above.
Instead, sometime in the early-morning hours of September 5, Mr. Lee did, in fact, return home and confronted his wife, his son, and her parents. With a knife. Lee’s wife, Yong Sun Park, called 911 at approximately 3AM that morning, screaming for help. Help didn’t get there in time.
According to this story:
Greater Victoria’s 911 system suffered a failure the day of the murder-suicide in Oak Bay and rerouted a call from a screaming woman inside the home to the wrong dispatch centre.
A 911 call in any of the capital region’s 13 municipalities is supposed to be routed to the nearest emergency dispatch centre based on a database of numbers and addresses held by Telus.
However, a “database failure” hit the service on Monday and Tuesday, Telus spokesman Shawn Hall confirmed.
That meant a 911 call, made Tuesday from inside a house where five bodies were later found, was misdirected to Victoria before being transferred to Saanich, which handles Oak Bay’s calls.
“It may well have caused a delay,” said Hall. “The kind of delay would be in the magnitude of seconds or minutes. I don’t know if there was a delay.”
Honestly, at the point where she called I don’t think it would have mattered if the police had shown up in three minutes or five, but this does illustrate the futility of dialing 911 if someone really wants you dead. But the sad part is the response of the police arriving at the scene. According to this story:
Officers discovered two people dead as they entered the home.
Police then backed out of the house, called the emergency response team and evacuated six surrounding homes as a safety precaution.
It was only hours later that police searched the home and discovered three other bodies.
The first two bodies found were the parents of Yong Sun Park. If Ms. Park or her son were still alive at that time, it’s possible that emergency aid could have saved them. Or, perhaps it was simply too late by the time the police arrived. We’ll never know. The police backed out of the house when they smelled what they believed was propane, thinking that the perpetrator had barricaded himself in the home and booby-trapped it. However, they waited until 8AM to go into the house, after blowing the windows out to ventilate it.
So, who’s at fault here? Is it the
justice legal system? Well, no. As I’ve demonstrated previously, the .gov cannot be responsible for any particular citizen’s safety. Is it the fault of the dispatcher? Well, there was a glitch to be sure, but I don’t think it would have gotten the police there in time. Is it the fault of the police who didn’t go in after finding the first two bodies? No, they did what they were trained to do. Getting blown up by a nut isn’t part of their job description.
No, apparently Canada’s military is at fault. (RTWT) Yes, apparently the Toronto Star, the National Post, the Vancouver Sun and the Seattle Times (not to mention the Associated Press) all jumped to the conclusion that Peter Lee had shot all of his victims because he had military training. (And that, of course, meant he was mentally unbalanced and knew how to use a gun. But I repeat myself.)
But no! Peter Lee used a knife! And not a particularly large knife, either. He used a 10-cm (approximately 4″) double-edged knife.
Apparently it’s still the fault of the military. This story states:
A Victoria knife expert, who asked to remain anonymous, told CanWest News Service that the four-inch, double-bladed knife was likely military in origin.
Lee had been a Canadian Forces navy reserve member since 1985. He held the rank of master seaman and was a certified dive inspector, trained to detect mines and other explosive devices and disarm them.
“All sailors, regular forces and reserves, all have to bring a knife on board for safety reasons,” said Sub-Lieut. Peggy Kulmala, who handles public affairs for Lee’s Victoria naval reserve detachment, HMCS Malahat. Sailors carry knives in case they fall overboard and have to cut something entangling them, she added.
There are no standard-issue military knives, and Kulmala could not say for certain whether the murder weapon described was Lee’s naval knife.
Would it have made any difference if the murder weapon was a Deba Hocho – an Asian cook’s knife? Or a freaking Ginzu? Would the media then have blamed his training as a restaurant owner? What if he’d beaten them all to death with a hockey stick?
What is with the concentration on the weapon? On the killer’s military training? Is it avoidance of the fact that regular people can kill? That the weapon doesn’t make one a killer? That military training – remember, “violent but protective” vs. “violent and predatory” – does not make people raging killbots?
What have we learned here?
People with violent pasts often work themselves up to murder.
Restraining orders, don’t.
Telling people to disarm doesn’t work.
It doesn’t matter if a killer has a gun or not.
It does matter if his victims don’t.
And, finally, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”
Don’t expect to hear that from the media. Or from gun control groups.
But we already knew that.