Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tripod causes panic, lockdown, arrest

Toronto Star, Feb 13 2008

An innocuous Sheridan College student who hunkered down with peers during a lockdown and full-scale search for a potential gunman had no idea he had triggered the campus-wide panic.

Last week’s Oakville campus lockdown, which saw heavily armed tactical officers and police dogs scouring the school for a man seen carrying what they believed was a long-barrelled gun, only ended after police determined it was more likely a tripod.

After a description of the man scraped from surveillance video was publicized, a student told school officials he might be the person police were looking for.

“Realizing there was no intent on his part to excite or mislead people, he came forward,” said Sgt. Brian Carr.

Halton region police now confirm the “long tubular object” seen by a professor and eight other students was a black metal tripod stand used to hold a microphone. It was property of Sheridan College and had been signed out from the Media arts program.

At no time did the student act “in a foolish manner in order to lead others to believe he was carrying a firearm,” police said. He also didn’t speak inappropriately in any way to suggest he had a weapon.

Students were confined to their school and a nearby residence for three hours Feb. 8 while police conducted a thorough search. One person, who seemed to match the man’s description, was arrested and subsequently released during that time.

I've been on hiatus over the holidays, but I'm still posting when I find stupidity of such magnitude. How ironic that this piece of equipment was signed out of the school's own media center. As long as we live in fear like this everyone will be as terrorized as they would be by actual attacks.

Strangely enough, the nations that DO live in actual fear of real threats are quite at peace with themselves. Speaking to people who have lived in 90s Israel, 80s Northern Ireland or even WWII London you find they are on the whole accepting of these things as part of daily life, and don't allow it to interfere with normality. To us, here in North America, there is such a culture of fear being exploited by so many sources that such behaviour seems abnormal.