esterday the article focussed on a single guard and while I think Larony is a problem reaching far beyond just bad press then today it is time for an interview with the Captain in the trouble riddled guard company, Captain Tenebres Stormblade. I could reprint the background and disclaimers I did yesterday, but I trust readers tackling this article has already read what I had to say on that, and each letter printed literally costs money, so let’s save on that shall we. Refer to yesterday’s edition of The Lion's Roar if you did not read it.

Fairness in journalism

I know a lot of citizens of Stormwind just wants me to go hard on the guards. Print the stories you all tell me about how horrible they are, but that is not our job. Our job is far more complex, and it does mean letting both sides of a conflict have their say. Just like Larony had a chance to explain his fisted greeting to the poor woman at the Faire last weekend, so shall Captain Stormblade have her chance to answer the concerns raised about the company. Some asked me "what is the point of that, she will just lie" and while people do lie, then it is about being fair, imagine yourself being the target of peoples hate, wouldn't you want a chance to explain yourself? Of course you would, and of course The Lion's Roar gives that chance. We trust our readers to form their own opinions based on the answers given and their own experiences. So with that in mind I tracked down the Captain in their newly occupied headquarters in Old Town and had a talk with her.

Rampers and the shootings of such!

I admit it is a term I coined recently. A ramper is someone standing on a ramp - typically outside the City Hall, and often just hanging out waiting on someone or something to happen. Bored people often, and while the ramp outside the Lion's Roar office is a ramp where we invite citizens to come join us and talk to us - and there may even be plans of a concert on said ramp, then Golf Company has - or had since they no longer work out of the city hall - a somewhat more aggressive stance towards people on said ramp. That is where I started my questions. H. Lester: "Okay, let’s start with the big stuff which is on everyone’s lips. Shooting people at the ramp to City Hall. I was told it happened twice?" Captain T. Stormblade: "Yes, the most recent incident did include a worgen in this case." H. Lester: "In your honest opinion, couldn't the issues have been solved without shooting and nearly killing a man, and in the other case, shooting someone deliberately in the crotch? It seems to be the heart of a lot of the complaints I hear, excessive use of violence. Beating suspects, threating to bite throats of them, using a truncheon on a woman around the corner from the city hall.." It turned out it had happened not twice, but thrice. Colour me surprised, and I thought twice was bad. Captain T. Stormblade: "A man walked in to seek an audience with me and when multiple times over he was told to leave the building, he refused to. My soldier attempted to move the guy out by placing a hand on his shoulder and the man jumped on him. Situation went out of control, he went Worgen mode. You can't combat a Worgen with a sword. So I took a rifle and made multiple warnings to seize it. Worgen then attempted to flee so I shot him in the leg to prevent it." That was one, moving on to the next one. Captain T. Stormblade: "Now, said soldier who was attacked - was stressed out because of it. He went over emotional and went deaf to my Commands. This is when Illidari walked out of the building and I do agree, what my soldier did - was absolutely incorrect. No one was hurt in the end despite a shot being made. Illidari, thank the light, was patient and moved out. Said soldier was then handled to a Lance-Corporal and was reprimanded heavily for this unforgivable behavior." So from what I understand then due to the guard being stressed and emotional due to a recent attack, he did not listen to orders (or reason one might say) and shot an Illidari, or shot at them. Apparently no one was hurt according to the Captain so either the shot missed or.. I don't know. Either way the burning question I forgot to ask is - why was an overly stressed and emotional guard even on duty. Is there no checks or balances to prevent guards who are that wound up to interact with citizens? If there isn't, then maybe it is about time that was a thing. I know law-enforcement is notoriously bad at realising they are supposed to do law-enforcement, and not fight the civilians and often forget they are guards first - soldiers second, but this seems like a thing which should not have happened. The guard should not have been on duty if he was that distressed. Moving on to the third case. H. Lester: "Okay, maybe I misunderstood. So we got a worgen attacking, and getting shot by you. Which seems fine. Then an Illidari who didn't get shot to the crotch, I guess I got wrong information on that one, and then there is Grethlem who was nearly killed." Captain T. Stormblade: "Who is Grethlem?" H. Lester: "Big guy with a scythe. According to himself and witnesses then he was shot for standing on the ramp and refusing to leave. Tazed then shot." Captain T. Stormblade: "I cannot comment it simply because I am not aware of it. Normally we ask people to move away from a ramp because in a blink of an eye, situation can escalate. Those who come in and have nothing to report, I'd ask them - why they stand there then? Of course, it is a public space, they have the right. But surely, you'd want to not get caught up by the guards and be questioned over and over again. Regardless. I do not know the details of it and if said person can seek me out to raise this complaint - I'm always there, ready to hear it out." A bit of a hit to poor Grethlem's ego I am sure, but also a hit to the credibility of Golf Company. You would think their Captain was aware of a shooting outside her office involving a citizen almost dying due to a shooting by one of her guards. I later arranged a meeting with Captain Stormblade, Grethlem Meltherne and the guard who did the shooting, Corporal Leopold Parker, who according to himself had reported the incident and filed a report, but which the Captain had apparently not read yet. The result of that was an hour long argument which really boils down to the city hall apparently being in "lockdown" - Grethlem being asked to leave, refusing and getting shot. From the guard’s perspective he was a potential threat in a stressful situation, according to Grethlem then he was merely hanging out and not being a threat. He was first tazed by a gnome, then shot by another guard when he still did not move from the ramp. My own take on it is that perhaps the guards could have done a better job at explaining why he was asked to leave, and maybe the logic behind it would have swayed Grethlem to move without the violence. It is clear they saw him as a threat, which is starting to become a pattern here. Apparently, everyone is a threat to Golf Company. People hanging out on public ramps, unarmed women with flower crowns, and homeless people who just happens to exist where Sergeant Larony walks. Okay, maybe that is not entirely fair, but it does seem Golf Company could do with not seeing everyone in the city as a potential threat and keep the violence for when it is actually needed.

General behavior

We covered some of Sergeant Larony's transgressions yesterday, this interview however took place prior to him explaining what took place at the faire, so I will leave out the part of the interview relating to that, it does however transition into something I think is important. H. Lester: "Actually at least three of the people I spoke to straight up said not to mention their names because they think he is "protected" and they are afraid of him. Citizens being afraid of the people supposed to protect them. That is what is happening here." Captain T. Stormblade: "You have every right to be concerned if not frustrated and as you are frustrated about this - so am I. But to answer all of this... He was put off duty and was investigated by a different branch, plus reprimanded, before Faire and said punches. It happened when he caused quite a ruckus with a bard. Now, what you are telling me right now - is absolute news to me. He doesn't tell me that, obviously. However. The sole reason why I did not react to all of this before, is because no one reported it to me. And I want to make it very adamant here - I'm not unreachable. Nor are other officers. I understand that people think that it'll be a goner case. They bring it up and we'll do nothing... But that is not true. The reason we barely act is because exactly that - we are not being told. Thus I encourage them to go and tell us. Tell other officers about it. If what you say turns out to be true - I'm afraid next course of actions against him will be permament. But from what grounds said "protected" argument grows?" H. Lester: "I don't know, I didn't ask because I didn't think it the case. I was more worried about civilians being afraid to report things to guards." Captain T. Stormblade: "People are free to think whatever they want. They have full right for that. But if they think that reporting to us is pointless and that thought is made from no grounds or reasons. I simply cannot accept their argument because they do not give us a chance" H. Lester: "I agree with you on that. Or I would just have printed all this in an article. But them being afraid of guards is a real concern you need to work on." Captain T. Stormblade: "It is a "he said she said" type of a concern, Mister Lester. Allow me to elaborate my point of view. People remember bad things about someone more than good things and it is a fact. There was countless amount of times when during commotions a crowd gathers. Soldiers ask them to move on, not to loiter around. Can I ask of you, why we do such? In your opinion." H. Lester: "Can be various reasons. Respect for potential victims, to not get in the way, to not potentially get hurt." Captain T. Stormblade: "Exactly. We ask them over and over again but in most case scenarios, they do not comply as if they suddenly feel invincible towards a bullet or a bomb. So we begin to use force. Sometimes, it spins out of control and I do agree with that. But we try civil manners first." H. Lester: "That really has nothing to do with Larony's behaviour though." I mean, it was a nice attempt at changing the topic, but I am nothing if not stubborn and persistent. Captain T. Stormblade: "Larony is an individual case. He reflects our unit, yes. But so do other soldiers." Again. Soldiers. You are not combatting the citizens of the city Captain Stormblade! You are here to serve, protect, guide and help - not fight a war! I wish I could say this is unique to Golf Company, but unfortunately it seems to be a returning issue with guard units. Maybe someday policies will be enforced which changes this and guards gets a less militaristic approach to law-enforcement. H. Lester: "I know, but seeing him get away with it, paints a picture you don't want people to paint." Captain T. Stormblade: "Again. He gets away with it, because people do not report him. With you bringing this up, I simply have no choice but to act on him. But you will have to understand me as well. I need witness accounts or their statements. To use it as a grounds on him. Otherwise it is a "he said she said" type of a situation." H. Lester: "I don't know how many of those you get when people are afraid of him Captain." Captain T. Stormblade: "I received a very small fraction of those. To be specifically, two reports from the public and two from the guards within the same unit over a month and a half. However. They are afraid of him and they have all the rights for that. But are they being afraid of me? Or other officers?" H. Lester: "Well when they see guards act like he does, and no action being taken, they assume he is untouchable and that you support him he is often doing shit with other guards around, and nothing happens. So, people get the impression it is accepted." Captain T. Stormblade: "Which is absolutely incorrect and him being put off duty recently proves that." H. Lester: "I don't think people consider a vacation a punishment Captain. They want him to not be able to continue the behaviour. Not drink ale in an tavern for a few days and then continue" Captain T. Stormblade: "I said vacation with a note of sarcasm. In other words, he was suffering reprimanding consequences for a week by another division and was disallowed from being on duty. But Mister Lester, we begin to focus on Larony and walk in circles. If they complain about him to each other or to you and not to us. Of course we don't act. We simply don't know. Then we are doing nothing and they accept it suddenly as a fact that we don't care about him. Communication, Mister Lester. Communication." As I mentioned in the article yesterday then this is just not good enough. It is clear his attitude has not changed from his "vacation" and I once more strongly urge Captain Stormblade to deal with the issue that is Sergeant Larony. The thought of someone like him training new recruits, teaching them how to be a guard, is one most civilian who has interacted with him has nightmares about.

Fear of superiors

I know I keep going on about Larony, and I do. Not because he makes up the entire Golf Company, but he is an example of the issues which run deep in the company. If his colleagues does not act when he is out of line, nor will they act when others are out of line, suddenly the whole guard force will not care about rules being broken, civilians being beaten up and intimidated, or Light forbid, shot for no reason. So, I asked Captain Stormblade why these things are not being reported up the chain of command. H. Lester: "But what about his colleagues? Why are they not reporting him for this transgression? You can say communication, but clearly you don't have that internally either. People shot without you knowing for instance. Why are there not paperwork on all this? Why are cadets not reporting superiors fucking up?" Captain T. Stormblade: "It is very simple. Chain of Command and that invisible fear of "backtalk" about your superior. I can play assumptions here that Larony tells them to stay silent about it, but I cannot confirm nor deny it. Regardless, and I want to point it out again, with you bringing this up. It puts me at alarm and I will speak with the soldiers about it." H. Lester: "I think that might help. If you cultivate an internal culture of it being the right thing to do to report other guards’ fuckups, then hopefully in time the citizens will learn they can trust the guards and can report stuff as well without it being ignored or results in revenge beatings." Captain T. Stormblade: "I do encourage citizens to report it." H. Lester: "If I may suggest something. If or when you take disciplinary actions against your people, perhaps let us know, it will help show the citizens that you care about these things." Captain T. Stormblade: "Of course. If we are going to be silent about it, they won't know the outcome and assumptions will be drawn out of a thin air." I can't be the only one who had no idea Sergeant Larony was "punished" - makes you wonder, doesn't it?

All your bases are belong to me!

Earlier on the day of the interview Golf Unit reportedly forced their way into a building in Old Town which rumours persistently claim is used by several clandestine and investigative branches of the government. According to witnesses then force was used, and the people already working in said building was held in no regard and more or less ignored. While I personally am more worried about the guards interaction with civilians and the use of excessive force and unprofessional behaviour, then there was enough of an uproar from certain segments of the city about this that I felt it warranted to ask about it. H. Lester: "Okay, then on to the last question. City Hall burned. Orphanage burned. Was this really the best location to relocate to? I understand it has caused a lot of tension with other arms of the government." Captain T. Stormblade: "From a tactical point of view and from a military perspective - I do daresay yes. I can name out you every reason of why, if you wish to hear me out." H. Lester: "I wouldn't ask if I didn't want to hear your answer." Captain T. Stormblade: "This place hosts a set of cells from below. We can store prisoners for a brief time instead of sending them to the Stockades straight away. Stockades deliver only one type of experience and it is often a severe one. While cellars here are more... forgiving to those who made lesser type of punishments. As you have witnessed for yourself, our military unit went out of proportions as well. Current number of the soldiers is almost fifty soldiers in summary. Utilizing City Hall was becoming a more difficult task plus it was after all a public space with people willing to go on a said ramp as an example." H. Lester: "I think it is more.. a concern about the fact the building was already being used by a less than public government organisation?" Captain T. Stormblade: "This is a military facility. This whole place. Not a public space. Thus it is a de-escalation of "people being shot on a ramp" type of scenarios. Yes, that is true. But it is a military organization and so is ours. With a whole regiment of soldiers being around, it merely bolsters its defenses and security in brute force to say the least." Military this, military that. Do I have to repeat myself already? Are you soldiers? Or guards? which is it? You are still not fighting a war in the streets of Stormwind. You protect. You are guards. Or rather, that is what I thought city guards did. I may have been wrong all along. H. Lester: "Do you feel there was a sufficient talk with the other people using the building before your men siezed it - with I am told - force? " Captain T. Stormblade: "City Hall went down and we had to relocate as a post factum in order to continue and function with as little delay as possible. As we approached this building, a lady whom name I do not know, said that we should consider other options. I stated that case was emergent and we are here temporarely. Unfortunately, she didn't listen to me, pushing the same agenda of "Find another place." in a summary. She then pulled out an authority card of saying 'You do not know with whom you are talking to so be careful.'" Captain T. Stormblade: "So I replied: 'Indeed, I do not know. Golf Company, move in.'" I don't really know what to make of this. It seems like a strange approach to just take over a building in the city with force because you want it. I hope they never lay their eyes on our office, or I might get in legal trouble when the wards and sigils put in place by Archmage Moonblaze and his colleagues of the Kirin Tor activates. Yes, that was a warning to would-be thieves as well.

Conclusion

There is a lot of questions I could have asked, a lot of follow up questions I have after the fact, but such is the nature of interviews, you always think of the good questions after the interview is done and you start working on your notes. I hope it gave some answers at least, and a different perspective on the whole thing. Make of the Captain's answers what you will. H. Lester: "I think you have answered all the questions I had. I can't say an article I do won't still be mostly negative, but I do promise to quote your answers and replies to be as fair as possible." Captain T. Stormblade: "Of course. I also would like to thank you for giving us a chance to practically defend ourselves and clarify on said concerns."
Remember, you can always come tell your stories to The Lion's Roar. Confidentiality is offered to both guards and civilians alike.