ON UNDERSTANDING THREATS AND RELATED SECURITY CONCERNS (in relation to New Year’s explosion)
There will always be misunderstanding, trouble and conflicts. It may be political, personal, financial, factional whatever. More so, in a highly competitive environment, pushing and shoving, pulling and stretching are almost the order of the day. One must move forward, one must be ahead or else, one fails or rendered paralyzed as a result of the struggle. That is the situation obtaining in the free community. But it is different in a prison setting.
In prison, competition is subdued, almost restrained. If at all there is struggle, it is mainly a rivalry for attention. Everything is institutional, everything borders on the personal. There is little social significance in every interaction; there is no sense of community at all. The community will just be static, awaiting for developments from outside. Time, while being wasted and served within the four walls, remains frozen. Days are not measured by the clock but only through prayers. Peace is wished for but not expected. Violence is constant and merely subdued by structures. Creativity is the only component that defines a man in prison and a beast in the cage.
Let us analyze further using a recent case. Sometime in January 1, 2014, New Year’s Day, at around 12:30 AM, while the world was having its revelry welcoming the year 2014, a freak explosion happened inside the maximum security prison of New Bilibid Prison. Authorities were alarmed. It could be another gang provoked violence that would usher trouble. Accordingly, a grenade has been thrown hitting the thin metal sheets that served as roofing of a Muslim Mosque and killing 10 inmates. That was the first information relayed. No less than the Secretary of Justice and the Prison Director got wind of the initial report.
I was prison superintendent in charge and I was the first officer to have learned about the incident although reports which were submitted initially to me were not that grave. True, there was explosion but at that time, there was revelry and high end firecrackers were flying almost at will everywhere on nearby subdivisions. Fireworks were made of different quality and its power awesome to ogle at. Not that my prison officers were indentured at trouble but they presumed that the explosion was caused by a wayward firecracker. There was no death, only minor bruises suffered by three inmates who happen to be at the Mosque. I sent my report accordingly.
The next day, as if by design, a report was submitted indicating that the explosion was caused by a grenade. Investigators and explosive experts were invited to scour the area and presto! A grenade lever was lying next to the metal shards beneath the spot where the bang was noted. From there, a conclusion was made: there was grenade throwing and all prisoners in the area were instant suspect. The drawback of the findings was even sinister. It threw out the integrity of my earlier submitted report and I was lumped with the community as suspect for toning down a possible headliner.
But what is that explosion about? Was there trouble at that time? If indeed a grenade exploded, the rooftop of the Mosque, made of gauge 26 metal, soft to be dinted by slight pressure, and would have been blown away into smithereens. Inmates milling in the area would have been hit and instant fatalities would have been noted. I never studied investigation in school unlike the investigators tapped to analyze. Logic was my only perspective.
Now the glaring facts. The spot on the roof which was damaged by the explosion consisted of a small gaping hole, around 7 inches in diameter. The metal splinters from the roof which injured three inmates merited a treatment at the hospital for bruises that never required an hour of dressing before they were escorted back to their respective dormitories. There was even an inmate who volunteered to have witnessed the explosion that several star like and colorful twinkling lights came adorning.
In my mind, that was no grenade at all. But the trained investigators with explosive experts insisted that a grenade lever was found in the vicinity and because of that, their conclusion was final. I would have volunteered to them that had they seen a paperclip accidentally dropped on top of my meal, they would have concluded that what I was eating were a pile of documents!
I would have submitted a situation, a theoretical one for purposes to testing logic on a related incident. For instance, a person was shot and the surgeon took out a slug indicating that it came from a caliber 22 gun. The investigators conducted their scene-of-the-crime-operation and plucked an empty shell of a caliber 45 within the area. Now, from what caliber of firearm was used? For the investigators, notwithstanding the slug of a 22 caliber, they would maintain that it was from a caliber 45 firearm.
But of course I was never trained in investigation and I would never be qualified as explosive expert. What I resolved and it was very instructive was never to send my kids to the school where these experts completed their studies.