Two unconnected multiple-victim shootings last weekend vividly illustrate how violence can break out in very different settings. The first occurred at a New York hospital; the other in a Little Rock, Arkansas nightclub.
At the Bronx-Lebanon hospital, a recently fired doctor entered the facility, carrying a box which later turned out to have contained a rifle. According to The New York Times, Dr. Henry Bello proceeded to gun down various employees, saying to one doctor, “Why didn’t you help me out when I was getting in trouble?”
A total of seven people ended up being shot, one fatally. Again according to The Times, two of the wounded were transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital and remained in critical but stable condition.
OK, this is an all-too-familiar story. A disgruntled former employee returns to his or her place of work and indiscriminately starts shooting people. In most cases, he or she ends up wounding or killing people, even those who had nothing to do with his or her termination.
Given my profession, I always try to learn something useful from incidents like these. In this case, I was disturbed to discover that the security guards at Bronx-Lebanon hospital were unarmed. Now, if ever there was an oxymoron, it’s “unarmed security guard.” What exactly is an unarmed guard supposed to do when confronting an armed assailant?
A perfect example occurred in 2005 at a high school located on the Red Lake Indian reservation in my former home state of Minnesota. The first person that the shotgun-wielding teenage shooter confronted was an unarmed security guard, who heroically tried to stop the assailant, but paid with his life. Senseless.
Seriously, with concerns about “workplace violence” as well as terrorism, why is it that we still have organizations that refuse to employ armed personnel? After all, such “gun-free” policies merely make “soft targets” of the most vulnerable among us, such as school children, hospital patients and others.
Recent events, such as the shooting at a D.C. baseball field in which Congressman Steve Scalise was critically wounded, showed that having armed personnel on site can make all the difference. Because of the immediate response of Scalise’s armed security personnel, what could have been a massacre was prevented, with only the shooter becoming a fatality.
The Arkansas shooting was an entirely different situation. It occurred at around 2 a.m. last Sunday at the Power Ultra Lounge, where a dispute among patrons quickly erupted into gunfire. An astonishing 25 people were shot, and several others injured in the mob race for the exits. No surprise, local police note that this particular establishment has a long history of trouble.
Arrested subsequently was rapper Ricky Hampton (a.k.a. “Finese2Tymes”), who performed at the Power Ultra Lounge the night of the shooting, and at least one associate. The plot thickens.
Now, I’ll be honest; other than having metal detectors at every door, I don’t really have an answer to this kind of situation. I know that “clubs” are mostly patronized by a younger crowd, and my question to them is usually, “Why would you even go where they have a metal detector anyway?” Ask local cops and they’ll tell you which “clubs” are the “trouble spots” in your area — they’ve been to them. Then consider avoiding such places.
Hey, it’s your life. Just try to choose wisely.