Today, Lowell Elementary School was thrown into lockdown mode as police cars descended on the area — all while a helicopter hovered overhead.
Because a very bad man was spotted on school grounds.
Read all about it on the Capitol Hill Blog:
As a parent, and as a member of the community, this entire episode has really upset me.
Am I angry because a “wanted” man went onto elementary school grounds?
Yes, of course. But, I am even more angry with the teacher that initiated a manhunt on school grounds.
Was it truly necessary?
Did it really need to be done?
Did Donald Vasser really pose a threat to the school and the community?
Was Vasser a child molester?
Let’s find out … here is Vasser’s information from the Washington’s Most Wanted Website:
Donald Vasser is a high-violent offender and dangerous gang member wanted in King County — boasting over 20 arrests and convictions, including obstructing law enforcement, assaulting an officer, burglary and harassment.
Obstructing law enforcement leads off his rap sheet? That’s not even a real charge. “Obstructing an officer” is what people are charged with when they fail to address an officer as “sir”, or when they choose to exercise their right to remain silent. Anything that inconveniences an officer in any way is obstruction, and because of this, the charge is routinely thrown out.
Next on the list, is assaulting an officer … yet another often specious charge used against people who don’t show an officer proper respect, or used against people who touch an officer in any way. In October, an Occupy Seattle protestor was charged with “assaulting an officer” for squirting a police officer with a water pistol. Here again, we aren’t told whether or not Vasser was actually convicted of a crime. There is a very big difference between charged and convicted.
Third is burglary. As the most serious charge, I cannot imagine why it is listed third, but it is certainly concerning. I agree that we don’t want burglars near our schools, but I would be more concerned with violent offenders.
Last, but not least, Vasser has also been charged with harassment. Did he stalk someone? Did he make a prank phone call? We don’t know.
So, if Vasser was such a bad, bad man … an “armed and dangerous” man … why was he not already in jail? Why were the police looking for him now?
According to the Seattle Times:
The DOC issued an arrest warrant for Vasser on Nov. 28 when his community corrections officer found alcohol in his home — a violation of his community supervision.
Kids were locked away in a classroom for two hours and a manhunt was initiated on school grounds because the man HAD ALCOHOL IN HIS HOME??!!!
This is what made him “armed and dangerous”?
This was the “very bad man”?
The police had to get their man then and there because he had a Budweiser in his refrigerator???
Oh for Christ’s sake.
See, this … this is why I am the skeptic I am today. Until I verify it, I don’t believe anything I read or hear. This is why, once again, I no longer watch television.
From the information on the Washington’s Most Wanted website, Donald Vasser was not convicted of, or even charged with a violent crime. He has no record whatsoever of violence toward children. From all accounts, had this teacher just ignored the guy, he would have left the school of his own volition.
The teacher could have written down Vasser’s license plate, or waited until he left to alert the police. Instead, they just had to lockdown the school at that very moment. They had to initiate a manhunt on the spot. After all, this man had beer in the fridge!!!!!
Good god, it was all so overly-dramatic and unnecessary.
Kids were frightened and crying, streets were shut down, people were panicked, and an otherwise calm “potentially violent” man was riled up and turned into a desperate fugitive on the spot. Who really created the threat?
I understand that it’s better to be safe than sorry, but there has to be some common sense used. You don’t dispatch a helicopter and half the police force for a technical parole violation. The risk/reward just doesn’t favor a reasonable outcome, and in a case like today’s, I feel that the police department’s ego far overshadowed any concern for the public they may have had.
All of this nonsense about Vasser being “armed and dangerous” was simply cover for the overreaction.
Frankly, the fact that Vasser is one of Washington’s Most Wanted is very reassuring. He’s wanted for a parole violation, and he gets featured on a crime show?
We’re in far better shape than I thought we were.
So, what happens next time?
What happens if a truly dangerous man is ever spotted on Capitol Hill?
Will we have confidence that our lives really are in danger, or will we shrug it off as just another overreaction by a department which seems to be completely unable to mount a measured response to anything?
I know I’ll take it with a healthy grain of salt.
Oh, and by the way, Donald Vasser got away.
If any of you out there think you see him in the future, please do us all a favor.
Keep it to yourself.