Friday, June 15, 2012

UofA shootings: some initial thoughts

For those that haven't seen the news, three G4S armoured car employees were tragically shot to death last night at my alma mater, the University of Alberta. A fourth remains in critical condition.

Footage shows they were at the north end of HUB mall with doors to a pedway that lead to the Tory/business faculty atrium. There's a cluster of ATMs in nearby (you can see the TD machine in the footage) and a truly bizarre mural to capitalism above the doors. This time of year the building would be fairly quiet, and at night especially so. The bulk of the students are gone but for the handful who remain for the slower summer term. Contrary to the Edmonton Journal report I read, the building was most definitely not "abuzz" with students, especially at that hour.

Although it is not possible at this point to say whether it has anything to do with what happened last night, HUB mall is appalling from a security standpoint.

It a long rectangular structure seveal stories high. On the second (or is it third?) level there is a mall of 50 odd shops and restaurants. Above that are student residences, which are never empty. The problem is that there are also a large number of exterior doors and other entrances, more than 50 I am told, that allow direct access to the mall and student residences, meaning the building can be readily accessed without notice from multiple points by anyone off the street at any time of the day or night. The multiple hidden stairwells and such mean there are many places to hide-out. There have been very serious incidents in the past, not all of which have been publicised. I'm not sure these have resulted in any changes.

Keep an eye on this: I would hate to think little rock gardens with pretty puddles and administration salaries took priority in the university budget over security concerns. The security problem with HUB must have been acknowledged at some point.

I also would not want to be an armoured car guard in this day and age. There are thousands of ATMs that need to be filled and they're located in banks, bars, and random street corners, located for convenience, not security.  Guards are often in the open and quite vulnerable. It's amazing this sort of incident doesn't happen more often.


The Mound of Sound said...

What I'm hearing, Boris, is that the cops figure this might have been an inside job which could explain why the gunman/men needed to kill all the guards.

BTW, what happened to Dave?

Boris said...

MoS, if you read between the lines in the emerging police reporting, yes that so far seems to be the hint. As I said, I have no idea of building security has anything to do with this case, but there are problems with HUB and I'll pretty pissed if unsurprised to find they could have been contributing issues. All spec at this point though. In terms of the need to kill guards, all the guards were likely armed.

Way Way Up said...

My brother-in-law used to be in this line of work. Glad he got out of it. These people pay a terrible price for guarding someone else's money.

Steve said...

It has nothing and everything to do with this story. How could a 21 year old decide to blow away these people in the chase for a good life. Why did he not realize it was not a good trade off. It is scary, maybe he had a bad father.

Who is our father, does he ignore our bumps and bruises cause he know you got to be tough to make it in the world. When you run out of bullets what do you really have left. Well excuse me I was not really aiming to hurt, just making a statement.

My father was all Canadian, third generation Scottish English. My Grandfather fought at Vimy ridge for some reason we now can not decide. My Dad was literally and figurativeness perfect. He never understood but he always supported. I was gone six months a year during those times children found dear. And I would not change a thing. When I was home it was Disneyland on display. My kids are tough people who are not swayed by the fish of the day.

Yeah I am dreaming of grandchildren. But as a history major I really wonder will they thrive. Its survival of the species time here folks, and we have a fish farming government.