I am part of the alumni of Kwnatlen Polytechnic University, having graduated from there way back in 2011 with BA in Criminology. I am very familiar with the campus in Surrey, BC, having roamed those grounds for nearly four years there. So when I turned on my Twitter feed this morning and my #Kwantlen column started filling up with student tweeting about the police yellow tape surrounding a couple of the buildings on campus, I was instantly intrigued.
Social media has certainly made my news gathering a lot different than it was from the past when you had no choice but wait for the large media outlets to report it. Now I see it unfolding in real time–scary when you think about. From inquiring tweets of photos and tweeps asking questions while on campus, to the various news outlets like the Surrey Now New Paper tweeting their stories, I spent the better part of the morning glued to my Twitter Feeds scanning every tweet as they cascaded down my monitor. And those tweets came fast, with Ten or Twenty first hand accounts to hundreds of re-tweets, the hashtag “#Kwantlen” was easily trending in Vancouver and British Columbia. By mid afternoon I knew it was a suspicious object that police thought could be a “pipe bomb.” Later, after police sent in a robot to blow up the alleged pipe bomb, tweets started popping up that stated that it was just a pipe.
“Pipe Bomb detonated by EDU in Surrey BC ”
I have some thoughts on what happened today. I do not want to knock the RCMP for their work and civic duty that they preform for us, but I have to wonder, was this suspicious piece of pipe warranted for the all the effort of sending in the bomb squad. According to some of the tweets that I read, the police looked very passive/calm/unworried about dealing with this potential tragedy. Many tweeps were questioning, asking why was not the whole campus evacuated, but instead only two buildings?
Perhaps this is what is expected in todays new world–over reacting?
Many years ago I used to work for a fencing company that made pipes with end-caps on them that we threw out if the cap was deformed or the pipe was the wrong length. Back then it was profitable to recycle the pipe and caps than it was to cut the caps off and used them again. Those pieces of pipe would look very similar to what a pipe bomb would look like, but closer inspection would reveal that they are not. I could only imagine what police would do today if they visited that factory way back then?
Kwantlen is undergoing lots of renovations to its building and grounds. Being that this piece of pipe was found in the shipping and receiving area does not surprise me. There would be a good probability that this piece of pipe was just a scrap piece of metal that fell of of the garbage dumpster while it was being emptied.
Again, I do not want to overly criticize the RCMP, or discourage the work that they do. I am happy that they went all out to deal with this incident. At their defense, I see that social media has really put a different perspective on how these events unfold, and at how fast they are transmitted throughout the community. Perhaps to act fast and hard is now the only way to keep ahead of the social media monster?
Here is a list of news reports about todays bomb scare.
UPDATE: Students at Kwantlen Surrey campus allowed to return after suspicious package Read it on Global News: Global BC | UPDATE: Students at Kwantlen Surrey campus allowed to return after suspicious package