Authorities in Binghamton have gone to great lengths to refute the criticism, expressed here and elsewhere, that police officers waited too long before entering the building where Jiverly Wong shot and killed 13 people before committing suicide last Friday. “Nobody could have been saved, even if the police had walked in the door that first minute,” said Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen. He based his statement on reports from medical examiners that described the victims’ injuries as so severe that none could have been saved even if they had received prompt medical care.
We can only hope this is so and that no one endured prolonged suffering. But even if Mr. Mollen’s assertion is true, it in no way justifies the 45-minute delay (earlier reports had it at an hour) in sending officers into the building. Most gunshot wounds are survivable if the victim receives medical attention quickly, but almost any gunshot wound will be fatal if nothing is done to stop the resultant bleeding. As they waited outside, police had no way of knowing all the victims were dead, and they had a moral duty to undertake a rescue effort as quickly as possible, even if the SWAT team had not yet assembled. Sometimes you just have to go with what you have. It’s what cops do.
— Jack Dunphy is an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department. “Jack Dunphy” is the author’s nom de cyber. The opinions expressed are his own and almost certainly do not reflect those of the LAPD management.