Saturday, September 04, 2004

Hundreds Dead in Russian School

An unholy cross between a Columbine-like school shooting and separatist terrorism has left, at latest count, more than 200 dead in a Russian School.

Not quite two years ago, a similar crisis occurred in a Moscow theatre. Here, Russian special forces used fentanyl to anesthetize everyone in the theatre before attacking. A great plan, but nearly 130 hostages died because of overdoses. Some, perhaps many of these deaths were preventable with naloxone (a drug which reverses the effects of fentanyl), but, because medics hadn't been warned, not enough was available. BBC Coverage of the theatre incident.

One would think that this hostage fiasco would have convinced Russia to shape up their counter-terrorism operations. It seems not. The story of the current crisis goes like this: a bunch of kids are being held as hostages, but one of the hostage-takers had rigged a bomb wrong. It fell, and detonated. Panic ensued, and the children (hostages) tried to flee, at which point gunmen opened fire. Russian Special forces returned fire, and tried to storm the building with a number of armed civilians (!). Unfortunately, no one had a clue - the special forces were not yet ready to assault the building; the BBC notes that some were in such a hurry to do something that they forgot to wear armbands that would let them be identified as friendly.

How many wake up calls does a country need before it realizes that competent counter-terrorism is important?

No comments: