Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Manila Hostage Event

Seems like something out of Hollywood. By now, everyone in HK knows about the hostage situation that took place last night in Manila, Philippines. It ended in bloodshed with 8 hostages and the gunman perishing.

Surely, there's going to be some backlash against the Filipinos for this. It's not fair, but it's inevitable. I have no problems with the Filipinos. I've been to the country twice. I find them exceptionally friendly. It's the government and the law enforcement that should be the target of anger over this.

Anyone watching this on TV has to agree that the entire situation was poorly handled. A couple of thoughts kept going through my head:
"Is there any planning or coordination?"
"Oh my god, did these idiots even receive proper training?"

The reason I have these thoughts? Here we go...

1. There's a hostage situation. Do we even know what the gunman wants? The news kept saying he wants his job reinstated. Why don't they just agree to whatever he wants? It's not like words are legally binding in a hostage situation. If he wanted to become President of the United States, just say yes! Secure the hostages and then arrest the guy!

2. Look at this picture on the right. Even the cameraman had a direct line to the gunman. Surely, a sniper could have taken him down right there! Why was the shot not taken? Sure, the gunman didn't kill anybody yet. But he was heavily armed and he was holding hostages. That means the hostages must be secured by any means necessary, even if it means taking down the gunman. Oh my god, this just frustrates me! Just take the damn shot!

3. There was about an hour where the police surrounded the bus and tried to break in. This is where my frustration just boiled over and the Filipinos should all be embarrassed to know that they're protected by these buffoons.

They used hammers to try to break the rear window and side windows. It was not effective because the windows were very high up and the hammer wielder just couldn't muster enough force because he was too short by about 2 feet. Why don't they get a stool or something? Drive a car there and stand on the hood! Instead, he just looked like a helpless child trying to get to a cookie jar on the top shelf.
They used the same hammer to try to break the front door down. They succeeded in breaking the door windows but the flimsy looking door was still intact. At that point, I stood up and screamed "Crowbar! Use a crowbar to pry the damn door open!" Amazingly, they decided tie a rope to the door and use a car to yank the door off. The rope promptly snapped.
At one point, they threw a gas grenade into the rear of the bus, only to have it thrown back at their faces.
After a while, they were finally able to open the emergency exit hatch and started to enter the bus. The speed at which they were doing so was ridiculously slow. They fired at the gunman who instinctively fired back. As a result, the 2 officers inside the bus retreated. The speed of the retreat was 50 times faster than their entrance! In other words, they hauled ass! Then, guess what the other officers outside the vehicles were doing! Nothing other than laughing. Yes, seriously.

4. A bus is not a very secure spot for a hostage-taker. There are windows everywhere. So everything is in clear sight. Knowing this, the gunman drew down all the shades. What about the front windshield? Why can't a sniper just shoot through the front windshield at the gunman?

5. Surely it would be advantageous to be able to see what's going on inside the bus. The shades were drawn but are you telling me that a cheap piece of fabric is going to stop you? Just line up 3 or 4 cars on one side of the bus with their high beams on. You'll be able to clearly see any movement inside the bus from the other side.

6. They brought lunch to the bus at the request of the gunman. Why not drug the food with a mild sedative to knock everyone out. Sure, there's a risk of allergic reactions but isn't that a risk you would be willing to take to ensure everybody's safety?

7. No media-blackout? Apparently, the gunman can watch every single move the police made on the tv inside the bus!

8. Check out the picture here. I don't care who this guy is, but he needs to be fired. He approached the dead gunman, confirmed that he's indeed dead, and then he started smiling and waving his hands to give the all-clear signal and to tell everyone to come over. And I mean everyone! That is, cops, ambulance, media, bystanders, everyone! Of course, he needed everyone to come over because that will only help in getting the injured survivors off the bus. Hoards of useless people will never impede progress...

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