Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Next Time, Scream 'LIBRESCU!'

That they were brainwashed into passivity in the face of evil is why so many died at Virginia Tech

Ever since hearing of the tragic deaths at Virginia Tech last April, I have been deeply troubled by the number of people killed by a lone gunman wielding two hand guns in the midst of dozens of people. Why was Seing-Hui Cho able to methodically move from classroom to classroom - four in total - killing 29 people and wounding at least 26 more, with so little effort to stop or to disarm him?

Why was the kill rate so high? Why was there no offensive response by the overwhelming numbers being attacked? Why was 76-year-old Professor Liviu Librescu one of the very few willing to take an offensive posture, and sacrificing his own life, to save students in his class? And most important of all: What can I do for my family and friends to give them a better chance of survival when something like this happens again?

I believe the answers lie in mental preparation for such an event. More precisely, I believe we can substantially reduce the kill rate when a Virginia Tech event such as this one occurs again by choreographing, with professional military/police advice, group response to such an attack. I believe the memory of Professor Librescu and his name, screamed at the top of our lungs, can ignite a life-saving group response.

What if, when Seing-Hui Cho entered Classroom 206 on April 16 - as the first drop of blood fell - the 13 graduate students present, along with Professor Loganathan, at the top of their lungs had screamed "LIBRESCU!" And if instantly each student and the professor - because the situation had been visualized dozens of times before in their minds - had started throwing every loose item in the classroom including computers, cell phones, PDAs, purses, backpacks, shoes, books, and water bottles at Cho. And what if, almost simultaneously, each of them had started running toward Cho and attacking with the clear intent to subdue and immobilize.

And what if every other student and professor within earshot of room 206, upon hearing the screams of "LIBRESCU!" had grabbed everything they could find to bar their own classroom doors. What if they had immediately prepared to tackle and subdue anyone who successfully broke through their barriers.

Visualize this instant - aggressive "LIBRESCU!" group response to Cho's actions - the morning of April 16 instead of the confusion and paralysis that in fact happened as Cho methodically went from classroom to classroom, killing and maiming all in his presence. Now visualize a "LIBRESCU!" response where your children go to school, where you worship, on your train coming from work, in an airplane cabin, in a restaurant. Can we train for such a response? Of course we can. And we must. I propose that leaders of all groups of people - including governments, universities, companies, churches, schools, unions and associations - get to work immediately to prevent, or at least contain, another mass slaughter. Here's how:

* Engage professionals to design the best possible group response to maximize the survival rate. (And why shouldn't the Department of Homeland Security lead the way, with its own expertise and with funding?)

* Develop videos depicting attacks by one or a few gunmen on a group, along with the appropriate response by the group to maximize survival upon hearing the scream "LIBRESCU!" (Once again, why shouldn't DHS help out by at least paying for widespread distribution of such videos?)

* Play these videos for your team every few months.

* As we do with fire drills, practice group response whenever large groups of people gather. And above all, practice the scream "LIBRESCU!"

If this makes sense to you, and especially to those of you who lead groups of people, you can unilaterally respond right now. Share these thoughts with others. Get the dialogue and debate started. You can arm your people, not with guns but with the knowledge and training that will provide the best possible chance for survival. Why not?

One final question to ponder: Did Professor Librescu, a Holocaust survivor, respond as he did because of the thousands of times he had run his exact response to Cho through his mind? Were the last thoughts of this brave man, the butchers at the door will not slay my people again.


Tennessee Home Invasion: Man Fights Back: "Family members say 31 year-old Kevin Hill was approached by a guy with a gun while getting out of his SUV after running some morning errands. That's when two other guys came up and forced Hill inside his home and up into the attic to rob him. Police say Hill struggled with his attackers and managed to take away one of their guns and fire. Police say no one was hit but several shots were fired inside of the home. The robbers ran from the home, jumped in Hill's SUV and sped off. Police later found the SUV after the trio crashed it on Syndey Street in North Memphis. Officers were able to take all three robbers into custody. The Robbery Division is investigating. So far no charges have been filed."

Ohio: Homeowner shot after door kicked in: "Police were searching for three armed men who broke into a house on the city's east side Monday morning. Cynthia Davis said she had just gone into the basement of her home on Picard Road when she heard the back door being kicked in, 10TV News reported. "I guess God sent me to the basement right at that moment, because I would have been sitting there when they kicked the door in," Davis said. "I had just been sitting on the couch there moments before." Davis' husband, Frank Watson, yelled to her to stay downstairs and call 911, 10TV News reported. Watson, 60, picked up his gun and started towards the men. When he saw the burglars, one of the men opened fire, police said. "Nothing was taken," Davis said. "When they saw Frank with a pistol, he scared them off and they started to run." Davis said she could not tell Watson had been shot at first. "He said, 'They shot me,' and that's when I could see his T-shirt was soaked with blood," Davis said. Watson was taken to Grant Medical Center in serious condition."


Marc Librescu said...

An interesting choice of something to scream, but what the hey.

Marc Librescu said...

Maybe yelling something else would be better.