3 Feb 2014

Is Beslan haunting?

Hostage drama in a Moscow school: short remarks

image: kommersant.ru

On Februry 3, a gunman entered a Moscow school, where he has taken more than 20 pupils hostage.
At first, the armed man was thought to be the father of one of the pupils, but as later turned out, he is a pupil of the same school. When police arrived, he opened fire at them. One policeman died, another was injured and a teacher was killed during the incident. (However, it is not known, in exactly which circumstances did the policeman and teacher die.) As Russian interior ministry formulates, police has „neutralised” the gunman and the children and teachers have been freed.  

After the Beslan school hostage drama, all Russian schools are required to have at least on armed security guard. As reported, a new entrance system was introduced recently at the school, but it did not operate, as pupils were not given new cards for the gates yet, so it made the perpetrator easier to get into the building. (It is an interesting detail, that the mobile phones of schoolchildren were confiscated, in order to prevent them sharing their experiences about the hostage taking and the subsequent police hearing in social media.)

This case undoubtedly made Russians remember the Beslan school hostage crisis back in 2004, during which more than 1100 people were taken as hostage (including 770 children), and finally, at least 334 hostages were killed (among them 186 children). The fact that the interior minister himself went to the the venue of the hostage drama when the operation was still going on shows how Russian were concerned about this hostage taking. And not only Russia remembered now Beslan, but also some foreign mediums, such as Financial Times . However, except fot he fact that it has taken place at a school, there is nothing in common in the two cases. In Beslan, Islamic (Chechen and Ingush) separatist terrorists have taken Ossetian (Christian) children hostage in pursuit of their political goals.

The perpetrator of the present case, Sergey Gordeev (supposedly of Russian origin) was an excellent student, who allegedly had a conflicth with the teacher of geography (who was killed during the incident) as, according to Gordiev, he was preventing him becoming a gold medal at school. (Gordeev's father participated in the negotiations and persuaded his son to surrender.) The profile of Gordeev resembles the perpetrators of school shootings in the United States (and other western countries), where students under the influence of private conflicts and emotional instability, attack their classmates and teachers. As far as it seems now, this attack has nothing to do with politics.

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