Schoolyard terror

I’m chilled seeing the siege of the Russian school earlier today. It’s horrific that these rebels (apparently from Chechnya) took over a school on the first day of classes, taking up to 1,000 children and adults hostage. Now there’s reports of around 200 dead and 400 injured as the hostages tried to flee the building during an apparent siege by Russian forces.

CBC was airing coverage from BBC News. I’m not an expert, but I don’t see how taking children hostage helps anyone — not the rebels and not the Russians.

When I was going through old papers, I came across the story on the hostage situation at a Moscow theater in 2002. BBC News story. During that incident, 129 hostages out of 700 were killed along with the 41 Chechen fighters when Russian troops used high-power knockout gas while they stormed the theater.

It’s been awhile, but the fighters in both cases claimed they would destroy the buildings if their demands weren’t met. Simply horrible.

On a related note: It’s interesting seeing CBC’s noon newscast today. They didn’t use their own reporting staff during the majority of the broadcast (aside from the anchor). The show included siege coverage from BBC, an interview with a Canadian Press reporter, a live report from Florida by an NBC reporter about Hurricane Frances. The anchor cited a report from ABC News about Clinton’s chest pains.

Toward the end, they shifted to business news. We saw our first story from a CBC reporter 26 minutes into the broadcast.

I don’t necessarily think that this is a bad thing — I’m sure CBC would like to use their own resources, but I’m happy seeing detailed coverage regardless of the source.

Also of note: BBC News has an analysis of the Russian TV coverage of the siege. It’s interesting reading how completely state-owned media covers such a tragedy.