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Posted by on Apr 26, 2007 in At TMV | 4 comments

Fred Thompson: Sometimes Making Choices is Easy

Fred Thompson, who is expected to announce his candidacy pretty soon, has a radio show at ABC Radio Networks called The Thompson Report “which contains [his] commentaries and opinons.” In the latest show, he dealt with the shooting at Virginia Tech, the response of the University, the (lack of) use of (the latest) technology, the war on terrorism, etc. The commentary also got published at the website of the show. Excerpt:

The response by Virginia Tech authorities to the shootings last week makes the point even more clearly. The proof is that, minutes after the shootings began, blogs started posting information sent by eyewitnesses who used “text messaging” cell phones and other mobile devices. Many students, however, didn’t learn about what was happening until hours later, and then through a less modern technology — the bullhorn. This was, sadly, a crisis response from the era of black and white movies, not the age of the Internet and IM.

It’s not just about technology though. When the first two shootings took place earlier in the day, the university decided to go on with business as usual. After the fact, critics are saying there should have been a campus-wide lockdown. But that reasoning frames the administration’s decision in “top-down” terms — the authorities making decisions for the people instead of letting the people make decisions for themselves.

At the very least, everyone should have known that a double homicide had taken place and that the killer’s whereabouts were unknown, so that every individual could have decided what was the appropriate response to that kind of danger. There are various technologies that could have been used to get that information out, from mass e-mails and automated phone calls to instant messaging.

This lesson should be applied to homeland security, and now more than ever. Al Qaeda, intelligence sources are reporting, is intensifying efforts to strike Western targets. The West is going to be facing this problem for a long time to come.

He concludes: “it’s not just security technologies that need to change, but also the old black and white era attitudes of those who administer them.”

He has a good point, and it would certainly, so it seems to me, be worth looking into. In how far can these technologies be used in these cases? How much will it cost? What are the pros, what are the cons, etc.?

It seems to me, although I am far from a technology expert, that ‘we’ (meaning those who live in Western countries since those technologies are readily available in the West) could do this quite easily, no?

Cross posted at my own blog.

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