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« Showering: Which Side Are You On? | Main | Faculty Salaries Elevated In Public Debate »

May 06, 2008


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George Hesselberg

It has been established, with attribution, that a call came from the murder victim's phone. No one has yet established the call came from the murder victim. Perhaps, and most likely, it did. But if you know it did, some attribution, please.
George H.

Dan Sebald

The theme here is generally the government's lack of movement on a problem, one regarding technology. This is a common problem with congress, then state, then local governments. Where congress should be leaders and mandate a solution to a short-coming of the system, they are instead reactionary and act only years later when the outcry becomes too great.

Congress is always so far behind on technology issues. Having set in place a long time ago rules of commerce and taxation and rules of data privacy over the internet would have saved probably millions if not billions of dollars in productivity.

Is there a solution to this specific issue? Probably. I'm not familiar with cell-phone operation but it seems to me congress could mandate that all new cell phones should be programmed to send out GPS coordinates upon dialing 9-1-1. (But not when other numbers are dialed, for sake of privacy rights.) However, past history would suggest instead that congress might write a bill that disregards privacy rights to benefit, say, advertising agencies.

"and do not forget the morons who deliberately call 911 unnecessarily"

Small percentage I'm guessing. If it is prank calls, sure, but sometimes it is difficult to judge exactly what an emergency is. Furthermore, there is some inconsistency in 9-1-1 policy. For example, here in Arlington Heights the village website says as of today, quote, "Use the 9-1-1 Enhanced System for all police and fire services. 9-1-1 does not have to be called only for emergencies." ( So, if someone lives in such a municipality and become accustom to such a 9-1-1 policy then visits some other city such as Madison what is he or she to think? (You might argue this inconsistency is part of the "float" category.)

Baldwin, Kohl and Feingold should be acting on this incident.

Dan Sebald

Wait, wasn't there a county incident within a year or two ago where a cell phone was used to pinpoint a car in a quarry in the middle of the night? What exactly is the issue that makes cell-phone calls different from land-line calls?


You are right Dan. But if I understand the technology, after they pinpointed the area they could only get it within about a quarter of a mile. In the case of the quarry, it was not hard to find. In the case of a city block or two, that could be a lot of residences.

George, you are right; like everyone else I am assuming the 911 call came from Brittany.


Call 911?.. Grab the gun? Hmmm... I wonder which one would be quicker. Neither the government, 911, or the police can help you in a situation like that. The only one who can help you is YOU! Put a gun in her hand and she might be alive today.

Dan Sebald

Bob, I'd say calling 911 is quicker because people carry a cell phone in their pocket. A gun can't be carried in a pocket very easily. If there is a gun in the person's hand at the very instant the incident happens, knowing the intent of the possible perpetrator so that a stranger isn't accidentally shot for being on the premises for some innocuous reason, then sure it would help. But the gun would probably be in a bedroom drawer because I think people suspect the most likely time they'd need it is the middle of the night when they are asleep and someone breaks in.

Calling 911 is partially about prevention, but it is also about responding in time to save a person's life after crisis. It may not always be the case that help can arrive in time, but in this incident there was probably a first-responder unit blocks away.

If the scenario were someone in a household accident with bleeding or internal brain swelling with a momentary window of time to make a 911 call, from that point onward there is basically no difference than if the wound came from a knife attack. Then this comes back to the same point raised in the initial post.


Who knows's not like can't pull out the gun and shoot in a millisecond


New technology allows 911 emergency dispatchers and cell phone companies to locate just about any phone to within 200 to 300 feet. In accordance with FCC E911 regulations all new cell phones must have GPS technology built into the phone. These GPS chip sets greatly enhance the cell phone location tracking accuracy. It is not uncommon to expect location accuracy to be less than 30 feet in an outdoor environment. Infrastructure in terms of building and bridges as well as some natural terrain features will degrade this accuracy to some extent. Never the less you can be relatively sure that the location of just about any cell phone with the new GPS chip set can be found.


I think one needs to take responsibility in assessing their own risk and vulnerabilities and take actions to mitigate them as best they can. For example, if you live in an urban setting where crime is greater and current cell phone technology does not support automatic police dispatch to your current address, then get a land line phone. I don't understand people that place such great dependence upon this yet inadequate form of communication we call cell phones. I am fed up with people who call me and the phone cuts out or their battery dies. GET A REAL PHONE YOU IDIOTS!!!


Having a land line is a good idea, but let's be real. Most students are poor and get free long distance with cell service. I don't know any college student that have land-lines. Please don't call us idiots--it's really insensitive to Brittany because she wasn't expecting someone would try and murder her and no one would respond to her cell call. I would urge people to get land lines, but no one expected this... it came out of the blue. This is a real tragedy, and the real one to blame is the one who killed her. Let's put our anger there, while trying to ensure that this 911 mistake doesn't happen again.

Glenn R lambright

Actually Maddie is right(er)more right that is than the previous speculative
idiots. The killer IS the one who KILLED her,and that brings to mind what ,if anything,
IS being done to find this scumbag,is he is in a local homeless Shelter,does he go to your
church,work at the carwash?
keep your eyes open
PS he may have left town...long gone as the continue to bullshit about a messed up 911 call

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