Mass disaster response is increasing at a very high rate in the world. Many individuals and communities fall victims of the disaster. Mass disaster has been influenced partly by nature, and partly by man’s actions either deliberately like in the case of terrorists, war, and civil unrest, or through people’s neglects or mishap such as accidents at work or in house fires. The mass disaster usually causes trauma, and traumatic losses. Survivors lose their routine way of working, living and relation with others among other daily activities.
Some of the mass disaster for example terrorism persist for long period, causing insecurity and exposing individuals to danger or threat of danger, limiting the functioning of individuals in their lives. The man made disasters have been increasing greatly with the increase in religions, faiths, and beliefs. The differences in these beliefs, faiths and religion have led to ostracizing and out casting of some individuals from the society. This has resulted to use of violence as a way of imposing justice (Ashmead-Bartlett 1999). The violence has been used to attack other people in revenge and as a way of imposing justice. In many cases of such attacks, innocent people are attacked for political reasons or against peer groups as a result of antisocial behaviors.
The law enforcement should be implemented to respond against the mass disaster in order to identify victims, recover the survivors and the remains of the dead. The survivors of mass disaster need to be rescued from the disaster, and need to be provided with necessary care and support, to enhance their recovery in terms of health, finance, security and the general continuity of the practices and activities that are carried out to enhance good living. It is the responsibility of the law enforcement group to investigate, and identify the individuals behind the disasters, investigate the reason of the attack, and place appropriate punishment to offenders.
Research was carried out in regard to the Port Arthur attack, the September 11th attack and the Virginia Technical Institute attack to investigate the cause of attack, what happened during and after the attack, and to determine the measures which the law enforcement group took to help the survivors and to identify and deal with the terrorists.
The Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania took place in 1996 and it involved Martin Bryant who was a loner, shooter and a lair. This massacre is one of the worst massacres of mass disaster conducted by a single gunman. The offender had inherited a close friend’s estate, making him to have large amounts of money which he consumed through making several and frequent tours, around the world, and in purchasing of several automatic weapons, which varied in power from high to semi powered.
On the day of crime, Bryant started by killing two people, early during the day, and later while at the Board arrow cafe he made some shooting. Bryant had taken his lunch outside the café. When he entered in the cafe, he secured a position in the North-Western corner of the cafe from where he used Colt AR-15 to shoot the people who were seated in the cafe taking lunch. The shooting captured around twenty people, and after this event Bryant left the café and went out of the cafe, to his car.
While at the car at the car park, he changed the weapon, and used a FN-FAL to injure some more four people. At the same scene, he murdered a mother and her two young children who seemed to approach his car, and he then left the scene.
As Bryant was driving away from the scene, he stopped at a toll booth, where he met four people in a BMW, shot them dead, and then transferred some of his weapons to the BMW. He left behind his car with an unfired shot gun and drove to a gas station, where he killed a female passenger and forced a man to enter in the boot at gun point.
Bryant drove to Seascape hotel and on his way, he fired passing cars severally. On arrival at the Seascape hotel he handcuffed a male hostage inside the guest house, and he burnt the stolen BMW. The special operations group and the police were informed and arrived at the scene to capture him. (Greener 1996). The siege between Bryant, and the police together with the special operations group surrounded the hotel.
The police and the SOP tried very much to get Bryant or rather to make him surrender, to no success. Many negotiations intervened the situation and tried to convince Bryant through telephones in vain. Bryant remained inside the hotel, where he kept firing randomly in various directions. It was discovered that within the course of the siege, Bryant made many firing approximately two hundred and fifty, and in each case he used a different firearm.
He set the hotel to fire, burning the arms and he came out of the hotel with burn wounds so when the police arrested him, they had to send him to the hospital first, to ensure treatment of the burn wounds. After treatment, he was taken to Risdon Prison and he was detained to await trial. He made many suicide attempts during this period.
The Tasmania police force arrived at the scene of crime, where by some dealt with police forensic services, other crime scene examiners were at the scene which were different from the five scene examiners. The ballistics had an expert and two trainees. All this law enforcement team as well as the eye witnessed aimed at getting helpful information concerning the crime, receiving the services of the disaster in all the six separate crime scene for the dead bodies, they needed identification, through forensic services more crime scene examiners were received from New South Wales to help in investigation. All scenes as well as the remains at the scene were photographed.
Many individuals teamed up and in responded to the crimes. The teams consisted fire arm examiners, crime scene examiners, photographers and fire scene examiners. The teams were assigned the scene areas. Every detail was recorded and the bodies were not maintained until later in the evening. Each crime scene was considered and examined separately, but in many of the scenes there was contamination caused by public observers, and some of evidence materials were lost on the process. The media had access to various crime scenes but were restricted from the scenes where bodies had not been recovered or removed.
Bryant pled guilty and was sentenced to life without parole. After further investigation on the cause of the offence, it was discovered that Bryant had intellectual difficulties but this did not stop judge from considering him accountable for his actions. The judge described him as a pathetic social misfit semi automatic and automatic weapons were banned in Tasmania and federal laws were proposed to limit the handling and use of guns.
On this date al-Qaeda organized and co-ordinate a series of suicide attacks upon United States. In the morning of the 11th of September, nineteen terrorists consisting of al-Qaeda, hijacked a number of commercial passenger jet airlines, and later they intentionally crashed two airlines in the world trade centre complex. Each of the team of the hijackers had a trained pilot as a member who controlled the airline.
Each of the towers of world trade centre complex was struck by a plane. The crash made the buildings to collapse, and this caused damages to the nearby buildings. The collapse of the building caused death of many people among which were nationals from various countries, and the civilians and the nineteen hijackers. A number of people went missing and were presumed dead. The dust which was emitted by the collapsing building caused death of a number of people, and also caused lung disease.
The New York fire department provided two hundred units, which consisted half of the department to the scene of crime. The emergency medical technicians and large numbers of fire fighters department. The police department provided police personnel and emergency service unites. The fire department, commanders, police department and port authority police searched for the citizens and with little effort to coordinate the agencies.
The conditions continued to deteriorate as the building continued to collapse and burn. The helicopters of various departments were used to communicate to people the message and orders to evacuate. This helped many of the officials to leave the building before it collapsed fully and those who evacuated were safe.
The fire department officials and the police department officials used radio to communicate, and as the building continued to collapse and burn, the communication became incompatible such that the commander could not get information. After the collapse of the first tower of the radio repeater system in the world trade centre could no longer function, and this hindered the communication of the evacuation orders between the fire department officers and the fire fighters who were inside the towers (Barrett and Collins 2006).
The emergency telephone number which was being used to convey message of evacuation was interfered with by the commotion, and although the dispatchers received information from people who called 9-1-1, the message could not be passed along effectively.
A search and rescue operation was launched immediately after the attack, but the efforts to rescue, recover and identify the victims of the attack took long period to be completed (Fox News Network 2002).
The New York fire officers, emergency medical technicians and police department teamed up to rescue the people who were in the towers. The fire department provided fire fighters to fight the fire, the emergency medical technicians helped the victims of the attack in giving first aid and returning the severely injured individuals to hospital to get further treatment, and the police officers and the forensic researchers continually helped the victims to get out of the scene.
The crime scene examiners and forensic examiners worked hard in determining the security Act of 2002 was signed. The patriot Act was also made to ensure detection and prosecution of terrorists and other criminals. The national security agency operation was implemented to help to eavedrop on telephone and email communication various people across the seas without a warrant.
The Muslim and Arab immigrants were registered and finger prints in accordance to 1940 alien registration act. The military force was later used to prevent and deter the international terrorism against United States.
The Virginia Technical Institute
A gun man first killed a man and woman in Virginia Technical Institute’s West Ambler Johnston co-ed residential dormitory which houses 895 people. About two hours later, the more than two dozens people were attacked and half a mile away from the first shooting. The gunman found dead on the second crime scene, and since he had no identifying material the authority took time to identify him. The dormitory shooting was considered as an isolated case and the campus did not close, instead the dormitory was closed as it was thought that the gunman had fled from the campus.
Rescue and Recovery
Outside McBryde Hall, there were two policemen who ordered people to run when people heard gunshots, they started running to the library where they remained for about two hours. The officials from US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, explosive and firearms engaged in collecting shell casing. The authority put efforts in tracing the history of the weapon used in the rampage. The crime scene examiners arrived at the scene. (Rostron and Siebel, 2007). The policemen, crime scene eye witnesses engaged in getting helpful information relating to crime and criminal.
The police officers institution authority students and the forensic officials teamed and collected all necessary information regarding the crime in the two scenes. The ballistic experts tried to trace the weapon used in the shooting, while the forensic officers together with the police collected evidence materials from the two scenes of crime which were to be used in further investigations.
The media was allowed inside the institution but was restricted from the scene where the bodies were lying. President Bush responded by praying for the involved and he showed deep concern for the victims, their families, students and all the people who were affected by the shocking incident (Christian Science Monitor 2008).
Ashmead-Bartlett, Ellis. The Siege of Port Arthur. New York: Blackwood & Sons, 1999.
Barrett, and Collins, D. Grand Illusion: The Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 untold story. New York: Harper Collins, 2006.
Christian Science Monitor. Virginia technical shooting. 17 April. 2007. Christian Science Monitor.23 April. 2008 http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0417/p25s01-usgn.html
FOX News Network. Timeline of WTC recovery. 29 May. 2002. FOX News Network.23 April. 2008 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,53997,00.html
Greener, William. Port Arthur’s Secrets. Boston, Archibald Constable, 1996.
Rostron, and Siebel, B. No gun left behind – Gun lobby’s campaign to push guns into schools and colleges. Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2007.