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Hey I just wanna throw a shout out to all the awesome hard working folks in the Henrico police department who were out there last night and this morning at RIR. You all did a spectacular job. Let me point out some examples that really stood out in my mind (as I had little to do but observe you all day).

There was the time you turned me and others away from the gate at midnight and said there would be no line forming until morning - then let people start lining up as early as 1:00am so there were thousands when we returned several hours before dawn. Then there was the time you unlocked the gate to RIR and let hundreds and hundreds of people bum rush in who weren't in line (ahead of people who had literally been there all night). Elbows were thrown, people were knocked to the ground and stomped, and you smiled and said "move along!" later picking them up and NOT letting them re-enter the line after an ambulance checkup. I mean that was courage right there.

Finally there was the awesome way you yelled at everyone in line all morning to "back up" when there was no physical space to back up into. The crowning moment though was when you locked the 4th grader and his little sister (who spent about seven hours waiting next to my group) away from their parents at the gate and then told them if they wanted to step outside the gate, they had to go home.

It was pretty impressive though when you let the diabetic old lady's son go to McDonalds to get her some orange juice after he cried and asked to see a superior officer. Keeping him out of line and making him pass it to her through the fence was a classy finish.

Also a note to the school board, next time consider just putting "NO HOLDS BARRED" and "LINE FORMS THE DAY BEFORE" in the press release - it would at least be a lot more straightforward. Punishing those who follow the rules doesn't "teach" very much except "next time play the system".


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2005 04:33 pm (UTC)
nice, i mean i was initially impressed with the fact that henrico county turned the whole thing into a fucking jungle rumble or some shit, fucking baby carriages getting trampled by idiots who fucking want a computer they probably dont even know how to operate/maintnance lol

Aug. 16th, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
what was at rir?
Aug. 16th, 2005 04:52 pm (UTC)
Did you get a computer, at least?

My son wanted to get one so badly. He saved up his money in hopes I'd take him (he's 10), but I knew it would be a circus at best. So glad I didn't go now. That's ridiculous.
Aug. 16th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC)
Oh, they'll be all over eBay by tonight; you might even end up getting them for less than $50.
Aug. 16th, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC)
No, I definately didn't - I showed up around midnight when the police were still telling people the press release information, come back in the morning nobody is allowed to wait here. So I went home for a couple hours as instructed. Upon my return (well before dawn) there were already more people than laptops plus the stampede of several hundred who never waited in line (ran directly from cars, across the street, around the corner, etc) blew most anyone's chances who wasn't either there all night or cut in line.
Aug. 16th, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC)
wow you seem like an expert on crowd control. how would you control that many crazy people trying to get a $50 laptop?
Aug. 16th, 2005 05:25 pm (UTC)
Pretty simple. See big metal gate? See lots of cops? Open big metal gate slightly, and cops (the people with the guns and badges) say "one at a time, move along in an orderly fashion" and deter people who disobey. I cannot make this clear enough, the riot was CAUSED by the cops swinging the gate all the way open and giving no instructions whatsoever nor detaining anyone who got violent.

If you think I'm making this up feel free to check some local news websites, they seem to have some video and first hand reports. It was insane. It was an embarassment. Also, I left out the best part - after we gave up and were walking out, we saw behind the building that there were 20 or so more cop cars lined up and an entire unit of riot cops in gear waiting there. Waiting for what? People screaming about their babies and carrying shattered stollers back to their cars weren't a clear enough signal?
Aug. 16th, 2005 06:31 pm (UTC)
It was totally controlable. They knew initailly it would be insane. Then, as 7am came and lines started to grow and people started to get angry, all they told people was "we can control it" (this is the cops speaking). No pre-formed spaces for lines or parking either. This was so poorly thought out. As I was leaving (w/out an ibook, b/c It's not worth getting trammpled for a broken computer) I saw several people who'd lost relatives, who'd gotten trampled, a lot of major sobbing going on. And as for the "shattered strollers' hellojed mentions above- there were those two. One woman near me was carrying a mangled stroller back to her car. It was like that Who concert with first-come/first-serve seating where people were trampled.

People in the crowd were warning teh cops too, either in worried, friendly way. or in "I'm going to shoot this guy if he butts in line" ways. There's is no way they couldn't have either seen this coming, or helped to prevent it.
Aug. 16th, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
It was totally controlable.

I can't emphasize this point enough. It was totally controllable even with the ratio of cops to people they had. It would have been easy. Someone, somewhere, made a serious and unforgivable error in judgement on how to plan and handle the situation and as a result several were injured and many were unfairly denied an opportunity.

It's really quite amazing nobody was hurt worse though. My hat is off to some of the elderly (there were several) who got stomped and knocked over. Those folks must be damn tough!

I should also say genuine props go to the many who sacrificed their places in line to help get lost kids back to their folks. I saw a lot of that, and no, the cops did not let those people back in line in the instances I saw.
Aug. 17th, 2005 12:18 am (UTC)
I noticed a mistake in my post. The cops ACTUALLY said "We CAN'T control it." Which is far worse. The riot squad would have helped. And you're right to be angry about the people who acted horribly getting the laptops. I could care less that I don't have one, but I tjink it's awful that people who had to leave the line b/c of kids, eldery relatives, and diabetes for God's sake, weren't let back in, but the epople who pushed, shoved, hit people, and butted in line were fine with the cops. A lawsuit and public outcry is needed just to ensure this never happens again.
Aug. 16th, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC)
i was going to go until they made it local. then i saw shots of how wrecked the fucking place looked.

if people want to be so uncivilized over some damn ibooks, the school should have just kept them for recreation.

Aug. 16th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
I'm damn glad I didn't go now. That whole incident is pretty appalling. I can't believe they just swung open the gates and let everyone rush forth rather than letting them through in a controlled manner of 10-20 at a time. And I'm sure a lot of people who waited for hours and hours got screwed out of a computer because they either got trampled or couldn't run fast enough.
Aug. 16th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC)
I'm damn glad I didn't go now. That whole incident is pretty appalling. I can't believe they just swung open the gates and let everyone rush forth rather than letting them through in a controlled manner of 10-20 at a time.

That's exactly how it went down, I was totally confused and shocked - I mean these cops routinely handle NASCAR events with orders of magnitude more people. I can only presume there was a severe underestimation and a great deal of miscommunication among the police force, because it's just totally unbelievable that this happened.

Here's an account of some of the events slightly in front of where I was when the riot started, including the lady with the baby...

"An old man in a walker was trampled to the ground. Trampled to the ground... walked all over," he said.

Dozens more were pushed to the ground as the crowd races through the gates.

A one-year-old baby almost became a victim. Her father pulled her out of her stroller.

"Look at her stroller. Her stroller's demolished. Look at my stroller,” said Wilson.

Alice Jemerson was one victim who got trampled.

"Look at my knees. They ran on top of me. I just starting kicking the people," she said.

A man who had been standing in line since 2 a.m. came to Jemerson’s rescue. Bair Hossai was almost guaranteed to get one of the coveted computers.

"I'm not going to leave somebody who's hurt. It's not worth it. I could have been in the line, but I'm not going to do it, because it's not worth it," Hossai said.
Aug. 16th, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC)
that is repulsive
Aug. 16th, 2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
I just don't get the hysteria over fucking Apple laptops that have been used and abused by high school students for the past 4 years, and were already out-of-date pieces of shit when they started using them 4 years ago. Fifty bucks actually seems like kind of a ripoff.

What's next? A riot over $50 rotary phones?
Aug. 16th, 2005 05:53 pm (UTC)
Aug. 16th, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC)
While I won't even argue that it isn't in the nature of most large masses of people seeking free or cheap stuff to act like spooked herd animals, the fact that this happened was 100% the fault of the officials who swung open the gates.

The same kind of dangerous situation would be created by letting too many people at once into a concert, a theme park, a sporting event, pretty much anything. I'm no crowd control cop, but I've managed a movie theater with midnight shows, worked for years for Busch Gardens and Water Country, and done large scale event marketing across the country for videogame companies where ten times this many people attended. I have never in my life seen crowd control this vacant and irresponsible. It was unforgivable. I'm really, really happy that none of the smaller children involved were seriously hurt. It was seriously pretty scary.
Aug. 16th, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC)
It was definately a zoo, I saw 3 people being taken away in ambulances as the stupid cops told us to "back-up" so naturally all the people behind us, pushed foward, kinda making you feel like a sardine.

Here's to the cops, lets buy em another set of doughnuts!
Aug. 16th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
What I don't understand is why Henrico didn't plan something more responsibly. They knew it would be pandemonium!

What they should have done was have a pre-registration. Everyone who wanted the chance to get one could have called or registered online, then they could have pulled the exact amount of people that they had computers for, and have them come at specific times to pick up their computers.

I wouldn't be suprised if there were lawsuits from this.

xo k.
Aug. 16th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
Why not just hand pieces of paper numbered 1 - 1000 to the people waiting outside the gates and tell everyone else there all gone.

I swear a little common sense would have gone a long way.
Aug. 16th, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Sh-t
Dude, at one point after we were "let" in and lined up, a rumor circulated (and by rumor I mean a cop said it to us directly) that they were going to do such a ticket hand out style thing - but it never happened. Soon after we got hit with the "back up" routine until we were almost all the way back to the TRACK. Of course, we never got back to the front, we just got sent home several hours later.
Aug. 16th, 2005 07:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Sh-t
I know, the same officer also said the cars would be admitted first and then the line would be kept as is upon entry. It was a complete cluster f-ck. I can't believe how incompentant our police force is. I got interviewed for the 6 o'clock news and I let the police have it, I hope it airs and doesnt get cut out. Channel 12.
Aug. 17th, 2005 12:20 am (UTC)
Re: Sh-t
Me too, to all of the above. My boyfriend was actually on the channel 6 news for this. Whoever was in control of this and let it happen needs to be strung up. It's none of the individuals who were there's fault, it's whoever let this go off with such horrible planning.
Aug. 16th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
I'll reiterate once again my feelings on this:
People are fucking greedy bastards. That ibook sale was like throwing a single bucket of KFC into Ethiopia. What the hell did they expect?

I hope those people who managed to get an ibook after trampling other people and not looking back get home and realize the damn thing is a piece of shit and doesn't work.
Aug. 16th, 2005 07:28 pm (UTC)
What the hell did they expect?

Considering that there was a big metal gate and ample public safety officials available, maybe they expected the event could be run smoothly and everyone would be hunky dory?

Unfortunately instead of implementing any sort of plan, they (as you said) threw the "bait" out there and just sort of swung open the door and rang the dinner bell.

Good job.
Aug. 17th, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
my boyfriend and i got there at about 6:30, and the line was already backed up around the back of the fairgrounds. both of us full of common sense, we decided it wasn't going to happen. if i would've known that we could've gotten there at 1-1:30, i would have. but i was playing by the rules and not going over night.

i was listening to 1140 am today and they were saying how if people had common sense and realized that they weren't going to get a computer, a lot of things wouldn't have happened. if HCPS would have planned it better, it would've been nice. i'm waiting to see how they're going to organize giving out the other couple thousand they have still.
Aug. 17th, 2005 04:30 am (UTC)
People who camped out were what... complaining about the people running past them and going crazy? Complaining about getting trampled? Yet the rules clearly stated you weren't allowed to camp out. Brilliant. And Henrico still hasn't answered the question as to why they let people camp out in the first place. And they refues to admit that they planned this thing so poorly that ANYTHING else would have been better. They just said "it all went swimmingly well! Let's do it again!" And all the people just bum rushed everyone like savage animals. And anyone who DIDN'T camp out had no chance at all of getting one. What a huge mess. You Henrico people sure are big dummies!
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )