"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Burlington Township School Attack Scenario

A public safety drill was conducted at Burlington Township High School to test the reactions of police, faculty and school administrators to a school shooting, hostage taking crisis.

The mock terror attack involved two irate men armed with handguns who invaded the high school through the front door. They pretended to shoot several students in the hallway and then barricaded themselves in the media center with 10 student hostages.

Two Burlington Township police detectives portrayed the gunmen.

To make the drill more realistic, about 10 students volunteered to act as hostages or wounded victims. Several faculty members helped simulate a complete school lockdown, followed by an evacuation.
The scenario for the drill could have ended right there, but it didn’t.

Two Burlington Township police detectives portrayed the gunmen. Investigators described them as members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the “New Crusaders” who don't believe in separation of church and state. The mock gunmen went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class.
It’s this last part of the script that has people upset. It was totally unnecessary for the purpose of conducting the drill, but it does beg the question - why was it added to the scenario?

Blue Jersey’s Steve Hart believes it was a nod to the “reality-based community”:

And yet the public, working on the evidence of its eyes rather than the blinkered ideology of the Bush cultists, constantly has to be reminded to be afraid only of certain kinds of terrorists. It has the temerity to notice that while Islamist violence abroad is certainly dangerous, we have plenty of homegrown terrorists with light complexions and flag decals on their vehicles to worry about as well. This annoying tendency of the reality-based community keeps conservative pundits and bloggers in a near-continuous state of sputtering Yosemite Sam outrage.

This fear-crazed brand of wingnut political correctness is in full noxious flower this week as Michelle Malkin - whose eruptions of nonsensical outrage occur as regularly as blasts of steam from Old Faithful.
As someone who regularly refers to conservatives as knuckle-draggers and Jesus whoopers, we’ll discount Hart’s calm analysis just a tad. It is clear though why Hart thinks the additional information in the scenario was necessary - some may have been reminded of the Beslan school hostage crisis and massacre or of the recent bulletin by Homeland Security to law enforcement warning that Muslims with "ties to extremist groups" are signing up to be school bus drivers. To Hart that’s a big no-no.

Burlington Township officials probably were afraid of being attacked by the “reality- based P.C. crowd” for stirring up fear about Islamic theorists. So, the right-wing praying,” New Crusaders” who don't believe in the separation of church and state, bit was added. The additions to the scenario certainly made Hart happy. But you can’t please everyone, Blue Jersey’s “huntsu” says the “the scenario is stupid” and based on “a right-wing lie”.

Burlington Township should have stuck with the basic scenario and let people fill in their own blanks as to who the gunmen were and what their motivations might have been.

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At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mock terrorist drills?

When we are done playing war games can we address the real issues?

The FBI and the Department of Internal Affairs should investigate the Burlington City Police, Prosecutor Lou Gallagher, Public Defender Kurts, Judge Montalto, Attorney George Samponaro, and their association to Burlington Twp. Detective Britzinhoffer before another human being becomes the target of malicious prosecution.

New Jersey needs a productive oversight/ethics committee to sanction police, prosecutors, and judges that blatantly abuse their power.

There are police, prosecutors, and judges in this state that have integrity and we need to restore our faith in the system by removing individuals who have lost site of what the justice system is.

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous The Nightfly said...

They had a similar drill at Ridge High 2 months ago. It highlighted several problems with our police response procedures (which have since been modified).

No "scenario" was provided, other than the fact that the intruders were armed, dangerous and had hostages.

At 8:22 PM, Anonymous The " Hard Right " said...

Burlington Township Police as terrorists ? Well, isn't that a stretch ?

At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Not Convinced said...



Could these detectives distinguish a real criminal from an innocent person?

Are their misguided perceptions applied in the real world?

Could their faulty logic render them incapable of making sound judgements in a real investigation?

Are they biased by personal opinion and subjective attitudes?

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the "hard right"

Burlington City "Special Prosecutor" Squad

Scenario #1

Mission: Selective Prosecution

Protect special interests at all times and at all costs.

Deny "Conflict of Interest"

Falsify probable cause.

Mobilize special forces in an attempt to execute enforcement of law upon innocent person.

Seek opportunity to retaliate if innocent person successfully defends rights and consults with higher authority.

Exhaust all resources in an attempt to criminalize innocent person.

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous commonsense said...

Failing to understand the residents living in your community and lack of subject knowledge is irresponsible.

The creators of this illogical scenario lack sound judgement and if it were based on reality there would be no misinterpretation that would require explanation.

Burlington City and a select few in Burlington Twp. raise doubts about their
ability to conduct unbiased investigions.

At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No respect for quality of life and religion.

At 8:22 PM, Anonymous EMANCIPATED said...

No respect for quality of life or religion.

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Burlington City and Burlington Township have ignored criminals that belong in jail and they are unqualified to manage Homeland Security/Terrorist Negotiations.
This inadequately prepared procedure supports the idea that they have experience with imaginary scenarios and manufactured stories because they intended to make the Mock Terror Drill as real as possible.

Obviously a sign of deeper issues.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger nightfly said...

And on another note... who is this "THE nightfly"? =)

My co-blogger talked about this at my blog. The thing of it is, the Islamic terrorists are the ones who don't believe in separation of church and state, and who are far more likely to be the ones to take umbrage when people object to public prayer - as we've seen when that prayer takes place on airplanes, for example.


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