A tip for friends of hostages

As often happens during chaotic and deadly shootings as what happened during the killings at the Sikh temple, some people hid in closets and other nooks to try and avoid the gunman. Since it was not initially clear how many gunmen were involved and whether people were being held hostage, it took some time for the all clear to be sounded and for people to feel safe enough to come out of hiding.

During the time they were hiding, a few were terrified that their friends and relatives, having heard of the events at the temple, would call them on their cell phones to find out if they were ok, since the ringing of the phones would have given away their location to the assailants. At least those people would have been able to put their phones on mute. But it is too much to expect most people in such a panic-inducing situation to have the presence of mind to think of taking such a precaution.

So here’s a tip. If in the unfortunate event that you suspect that someone you know might be in a dangerous situation, don’t try and call or text them on their cell phones unless you know for sure that they are safe.


  1. says

    I recently read a horrifying account of the Breivik shooting and there was a chilling description of all the cell phones scattered around the island, ringing all night, from where people had thrown them away.

    A general rule I always followed is to assume that people are OK (because generally they are) unless I don’t hear from them for quite a while. In which case bad news travels fast. I was amazed when the bridge collapsed in St Paul a few years ago and everyone apparently called my cousin (who lives there) to ask her if she was OK. She was, in fact, stuck in some pretty hellacious traffic that was a result.

  2. says

    When the sun went down, Håkon was in a boat not far from shore. Divers were in the lake, searching the depths for bodies that might have been drowned, and Håkon was providing security. It was very quiet. Håkon could hear waves licking at the sides of the boat, and then, from the island, he could hear something else: a chorus of chirping and buzzing and snippets of pop songs. In the darkness, he saw tiny lights flickering on, then off, then on again, like fireflies. There were hundreds of them, scattered along the Lovers’ Trail and on the lawn below the cafeteria and in the tent field and where the bodies lay. Mobile phones lighting and ringing and nobody answering.

    “There was nothing you could do,” Håkon said. “You just had to wait until they ran out of electricity.”


  3. says

    Good morning Mano,

    Several years ago I recall a drama where the killer(s) involved went quietly from room to room locating hiding victims by the sound of their ringing cellphones and then executing them.

    Being in constant and instant contact is not always beneficial.

    Do all you can to make today a good day,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *