The Capitol Police tactical response team was told by a supervisor to leave the scene instead of aiding municipal officers, sources told the BBC. Meanwhile, the department has installed a new leader of the elite unit. No reason has been given for the decision.
... but I doubt it will be pretty. If the timeline on the link is correct, the order to stand down delayed an armed response by 15 minutes. Double what it would have been if the first response team had been allowed to do their jobs.
I can speculate about possible reasons -- such as, what if it's a decoy attack meant to draw attention from a specific target, or a risk of confusion between two SWAT teams responding at the same time? -- but the speculation doesn't matter. What does is the actual reason the order to stand down was given. Once we know the facts, we can discuss whether it was appropriate or not.
What's interesting is when you combine that report with this one:
The shooter walked in with an assault weapon and was able to get off enough rounds to kill twelve people instantly, or nearly instantly, McMahon said. Everybody with the guns stood around and watched or apparently were unable to stop him.
First you stand down the SWAT team, doubling the length of time Alexis had to murder people before meeting armed resistance, then you go on TV claiming that armed personnel "just stood and watched" during the attack. The implications of those statements in combination range from simply taking advantage of a gruesome event to attack your political opponent's policy proposals to actively making a bad situation worse in order to take advantage of it.
Putting the SWAT team aside, the idea that a military facility within the continental US automatically has hundreds of armed soldiers ready to respond to an attack is simply wrong. While there are likely weapons present, they are usually secured in magazines and not carried on a daily basis. Individual soldiers are generally not permitted to carry their personal weapons on base, even if they have appropriate licenses for doing so within the rest of the state. As for the armed guards, the results of this attack indicate that with a little forethought and the advantage of surprise, the strategy of "attacking the visible armed guard first" can be successful.
Between the Ft Hood and Navy Yard attacks, we can be sure that this is a bad policy. The only question is how long it will take for our military to recognize the bad policy and reverse it -- and whether they can do so before our enemies make a considered decision to exploit the vulnerability en mass.
This entry was published Tue Sep 24 00:12:01 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger
and last updated 2013-09-24 00:12:01.0.