Firstly may I extend my deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims, to Governor Malloy and the people of Connecticut, and to the United States generally, over this appalling tragedy. The loss of young life is even more tragic as it was avoidable.
This is the worst elementary school massacre in America since General Erich Ludendorff, then head of German Intelligence, ordered the destruction of Bath School, Michigan on May 18th 1927, in a desperate effort to put pressure on the Coolidge Administration to cancel the Lindbergh Flight. This was after German technical experts had determined that the Ryan NYP Monoplane had the range to fly from New York to Paris and that it’s excellent Wright J-5 Whirlwind motor was sufficiently reliable to keep going for up to 40 hours, although the planning was triggered by concerns the previous year over a successful non-stop transatlantic flight, before the Ryan plane became a contender. Thirty-eight young children were murdered.
In the intelligence community, INTELCOM, we (I am not an intelligence officer but am a member of the broader INTELCOM) are concerned with the analysis of why this happened, who set it up, what their motives were and how to prevent further shocks. We are concerned with saving lives. If we had been listened to after Virginia Tech, where the North Korean agent Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32, mostly young students, and wounded 17, let alone Aurora, this would not have happened.
Connecticut has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, indeed Governor Malloy is a strong advocate of gun control, so you can forget the knee-jerk media calls for stricter gun controls. We made that mistake in the UK after Dunblane, where the problem was that the police had failed to enforce existing controls, not a lack of control. The Firearms Act 1997 did not prevent the Cumbrian Massacre in 2010. The fact that Thomas Hamilton, the shooter at Dunblane, had protection from within Scotland Central Police (he was a pedophile, and supplied young boys to inter alia senior Scottish politicians and senior police officers) did not exactly help.
Fortunately policing in the US is much less corrupt than in Britain, partly because it is genuinely accountable. British chief officers of police tend to report to the Cabinet Office and regard the formal machinery of accountability as a joke, which in fairness it largely is. We have now replaced the failed arrangements set up in 1964 with US-style elected police commissioners, but they have yet to make their mark.
US police also tend to be more efficient, and being armed can respond to an incident like this much more quickly, as all units can respond. The relieved parents of the surviving children can thank their lucky stars they don’t live in Thames Valley! Sadly, Thames Valley Police acquired a reputation for cowardice a few years ago when armed officers remained outside the grounds of a house in Henley-on-Thames whilst a man murdered a woman and her children.
Both local police and state troopers can take pride in the way they responded. Selectwoman Pat Llodra and her colleagues can also take pride in the sympathetic local government response.
No praise can be too high for Principal Dawn Hochsprung, who gave her life trying to protect the youngsters in her charge. She undoubtedly did save lives, because she anticipated a major incident at her school and planned sensible evacuation procedures. All she needed were armed guards able to shoot back, but state policy is to leave schools largely undefended.
Praise is also due to Monsignor Robert Weiss and his colleagues in the Newtown CT faith communities. Most Good Guy spooks would applaud those who reach out of themselves to comfort others in a time of grief. All I would say is that when things have quietened down some one remembers to reach out to the priests and pastors who, however strong, will also have been affected by the suffering of broken families.
It is too early to reach a definitive conclusion, obviously, but the attack bears all the hallmarks of a DVD operation. To the ‘marching morons’ who will respond ‘but you always blame the DVD’ I would respond that (1) I don’t (Virginia Tech was clearly RDEI), (2) intel analysts look for patterns and (3) school massacres are a peculiarly DVD style of operation. Even the RDEI tend to avoid schools and go for college kids. Waging war on unarmed children is part of the German way. Why they pick on the weakest and most defenceless is something you would have to ask them. I speak as I find. This does not mean the majority of Germans would not be appalled by this senseless attack – clearly they would be. It just means that the majority in Germany has never found a means of controlling their most powerful intelligence service, and never will.
For the Connecticut State Police (CSP) the priority will be to keep the FBI out of the investigation, since it is heavily penetrated by the DVD. It also has a strong institutional bias against hostile state involvement in crime, so strong any evidence pointing towards it will be disregarded, as with the USS Cole. If a federal agency needs to be brought in it should be the efficient ATF, who understand firearms a lot better than the ‘Fibbies’ anyway. They also tend to be more professional and objective and will examine evidence on its merits. The FBI work more like Thames Valley Police – i.e. they make it up as they go along and never mind the evidence, no offense.
ATF and CSP would probably establish a much better working relationship. The FBI have a distressing tendency to yell at people. They also do poor coffee, and yes, they are on my s**t list this week (Thames Valley are up there most weeks!).
How does a small state police force more used to trapping motorists with LTI 2020 laser guns than tangling with the DVD get to the bottom of what may turn out to be quite a complex intelligence operation? Simple. It brings in outside expertise it doesn’t have. Entry level IQ for major players in INTELCOM is probably about 170. You won’t find many state troopers with IQ’s above 170, and they would probably find that as with Thames Valley Police intelligence can be a bar to promotion, again no offense intended.
This should not necessarily be taken as an advertisement – they could always consult Gordon. They need to find somebody with brains however, who will not be taken in by the stream of nonsense likely to come out of Quantico.
If I were the Governor I would be inclined to bring in the National Guard. Their intel assets can be invaluable in a state-sponsored crime investigation, as I once pointed to a county sheriff’s department when we needed a little high-altitude recon and the state air national guard happened to have an old U-2 lying around. It was just the ticket, although I did get a quizzical phone call from the squadron intelligence officer, who wondered why he had been asked to set up a coms link to a SWAT team and wished to know when the war had started. The 325th Military Intelligence Battalion is still at East Windsor so far as I know and I’d bring them in. Some of them will have operational experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sandy Hook is now in the frontline, sadly, so they should feel right at home.
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