Collegedale Overreaction - And Response (3)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The recent lockdown episode at Southern Adventist University was a classic example of overreaction.   Given it involved the Collegedale Police, it is hardly surprising.  

Even without the recent revelations that the former student said at the time of the "threats" that he was just joking, and apologized for the joke, the way the situation was handled was way overblown - Collegedale Police in SWAT-style gear storming the campus, armed with assault rifles and roughing up students.   It would be great if someone could teach a measure of restraint to the Collegedale Police Department.

If one is caught speeding in Collegedale (and it is frequent because the speed limit on all roads that lead into the city suddenly drop 5-10 mph),  he is almost assuredly going to be surrounded by no less than three squad cars, lights flashing, and headbeams aimed directly onto the vehicle.
We all want to be secure, and to live in a safe community.   But there has to be some limit on police powers and tactics.  Shutting down several schools ("lockdown"), needlessly scaring a community, and allowing riot police to run roughshod over law abiding citizens - when the person who made the "threat" stated he was joking and was sorry - should result in some analysis and accountability.   And, as an aside,  if there really had been a threat (and clearly, there wasn't one),  it would seem more dangerous to demand the students stay put like sitting ducks. 

Bob Purcell

* * *

It seems as if Bob has targeted one police department with his negative assumptions when there were several agencies actively involved.

What you described as a “joke” really is not funny at all. I wonder what you would be saying today had that “joke” turned into reality and the police had actually dismissed it as a “joke” like you have implied that it was. What would people be saying today if an actual tragedy had occurred because a perceived threat was taken too lightly?

Oh don’t worry folks the poor guy was joking and apologized for it, therefore no law was broken and no one was ever in danger. Maybe we could have all criminals just apologize for their wrong doings then we could all hold hands and sign campfire songs.

Bob, what do traffic stops and tickets have to do with a possible threat to a college campus?

An ostrich comes to mind when I read postings like that!

Mike Cox

* * *

Mr. Purcell the irony of this opinion is that the only person I see "overreacting" is you. Reading your opinion was as if you were trying to paint a picture of the Kent State Massacre, when in reality the response by law enforcement was properly based on basic guidelines. It amazes me when people neglect to take advantage of knowledge that it readily available to them. I am not police officer, but it took me all of about five minutes to conduct a search of "the web" to find guidelines for bomb threats or even an active shooter. 

The lack of basic research continued with just assuming that only Collegedale Police were involved in this when even I could tell that Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies and Chattanooga Police were involved as well. 

Your rant lost focus when you went off about speeding enforcement. You dramatized this by complaining about lights flashing, lights beaming into your car and other police officers being present. Once again, lack of knowledge plays a part in this empty-headed attack on police. Surely you realize that police lights are required to conduct such a traffic stop and also said lights are there to warn traffic of an officer's presence. I hope you realize that those lights beaming into your car are for the safety of the officer so they may be able to see everything that is going on inside the vehicle (I know what you are thinking, pure Gestapo tactics). You may take issue with this, but unfortunately you get to make these attacks from a comfy chair and not in a position that is potentially dangerous. Police officers don't have the luxury of just taking a persons word as a "joke" and allow a simple apology to suffice for the threat of lives. 

Timothy Bryce

* * *

According to Kisha Caldwell, James Gaines was a threat. The evidence has shown that Mr. Gaines was not a threat. James was just trying to transfer to what he believed was a better school. In his frustration, Mr. Gaines made an off-hand comment followed by an admission of sarcasm. 

The real threat in this situation was Kisha Caldwell, who followed the "see something, say something" mantra propagated by the Department of Homeland Security. It was her action that escalated his dissatisfaction of the inability for the colleges to communicate. Why is it easier to send a SWAT team than a transcript? I find it terribly disturbing an administrative clerk at community college could fabricate such a legal reaction. 

The hasty actions of an individual should not incite fear into the people. Consider Mr. Gaines' episode before transferring to Chatt State.

Tim Giordano

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