Thursday, February 11, 2010

Testicularly Challenged Seattle Security Guards

This is what I call an on the job welfare program. In Seattle, Washington, a 15 year old girl was set upon by a wolf pack of teenagers who took offense to what she was wearing. (!) A video in the downtown bus terminal shows the girl trying to stand near security guards who were hired as decoration for the bus terminal. What she did not know was that the security guards were hired as "observers", kind of like the United Nations, but not as well paid.

The video of the incident shows one of the security guards calling on his radio for help. Not one of the security guards even attempts defensive moves on behalf of the 15 year old girl. Despite the fact that she was unconscious after the attack, not one guard checks on the girl. During the beating, one "guard" actually turns his back on the unconscious teen. King5 News Reports as follows.

"The video clearly shows that all of this is taking place right in front of three security guards. They are well marked with bright yellow jackets that have SECURITY written on the back. While the victim is on the ground getting punched, the guards immediately reach for their radios and call for help, but they do little else.

After the victim is punched, the attack gets worse. The suspect then kicks the girl’s face and stomps on her head six times. The guards make no attempt to get in the middle of the girls or to pull the attacker away. One guard is seen in the distance looking on. He never approaches the scene. Another guard turns his back on the assault. The third stands just inches from the girls, looking on."

Nothing in the job contracts of the guards required them to intervene. They were simply hired to "observe". Simple laws of human decency would dictate at least some sort of action on the girl's behalf, but apparently common decency had called in sick on the day of the attack.

Fortunately, the girl did not suffer permanent damage, despite numerous kicks to her head. Four perps have been arrested, after an admirable job by the Seattle Police Department of hunting down the assailants.

Many are asking what earthly good a squad of "observers" is. It would be better for such useless individuals to be collecting welfare and being trained at a real job than to spend their entire work day creating an illusion of safety. Anyone who is a security guard should have some training in dealing with such situations. Even circling the girl and maintaining a defensive posture on her behalf would have been preferable.

I remember the Crown Heights riots of 1991, when police were ordered not to attack or arrest rioters. The sight of police actually emboldened lawbreakers. I remember clearly when cops changed their approach after about three days of violence. The disorder quickly subsided. The lesson from this is that a small show of resolution and willingness to use force can often stop an attack. Security guards should be trained in on the spot intervention as they call for police backup. Their pay should reflect their added responsibilities.

The Seattle Fiasco should be studied. There are probably many malls decorated with men who look like police but are really out for a stroll for low wages. Such a law enforcement strategy is worse than useless. We should stop it now.
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