Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Last week at work, we had what is referred to as an All Associate Meeting in which all of the associates in the office get together in the breakroom and have a meeting. The usual course of the meeting is spent with anniversaries, announcements, promotions, new associate recognition, etc. Rarely does it stray from that format.

Until this week...

This week, we were joined by a representative from the Yellow Police Department who was going to talk to us about personal safety. I started thinking, "Well, it's more fun than the 'how to check your smoke alarm' lesson." The officer stands up, queues up the laptop to his presentation, tries his hand at some "personal safety humor," and then just dives right in.

We start with a lesson for the ladies in which he explains of how walking with a purse to the outside is a perfect opportunity for people to drive by and snag it from you from their car. Says Mr. Officer, "Ladies, if you're walking with that purse on the traffic side, and trust me--I've seen it happen, they're driving by and someone from the back seat will reach out of a moving vehicle and will snag that purse right off your arm. I know, it's seems crazy, but they're doing it. And if you decide not to let go, they're gonna be taking you for a not so pleasant ride, believe me."

His stories from the Beat also included many about carjackings. Each scenario would begin differently, but would end with the same horrific conclusion, say it with me: GUN TO THE HEAD. And it was always said in that manner. Take for instance, "One day a woman and her two daughters were walking to their car in the Kohl's parking lot. Now, this is a Sunday afternoon, folks, around 2 o'clock. They get to their car, woman sits down with a daughter in the front and one in the back. Next thing you know, a guy slips into the back seat...gun to the head." Yep, it happens that quick says Mr. Officer.

"Another time, this woman is in her car in the drive-thru at McDonald's. She pays, takes her bag of food, puts it in her lap and because she's hungry, she begins eating french fries. Next think you know, there's a guy sitting next to her...gun to the head."

"This one lady was waiting at a stop light one day. Just minding her business. She starts to change the station on her stereo and next thing you know, a guy opens up her driver's side door...gun to the head."

Each time he told a gun-to-the-head scenario, he'd put a finger pistol up to his head for effect. The first time, it had quite an impression--even getting a few gasps from the audience. But by the fifth time, it almost turned comical. I started thinking, "Damn, you can almost write your own gun-to-the-head situation."

For instance: "One day, I was at the dentists office, you know, just getting a check up. Minding my own business, you know? And I drift off and start thinking about the ethnicity of the Counting Crows' lead singer...gun to the head." I mean, if you listened to this cat, you'd think we were living in the Wild West. Looney said it best: "If you were a frightened woman before, you're never even leaving the house now."

We then started talking about our options for self-defense. Here comes the good part (yeah, homie, it gets better). As the officer describes, self-defense can be as simple as yelling and screaming. Sometimes, that's enough to scare off a would-be assailant. Or perhaps, you want to take your defense to the next level and that would be some sort of chemical agent--pepper spray being the most popular. You still with me? Because now the real fun begins.

The next level of self-defense is a blunt object--the preferred being a baseball bat. As Mr. Officer describes, "If I meet you with my baseball bat, I'm swinging for the fences, okay?" There's a level above that (my personal favorite), and that's the taser. The taser, I would find, is available in a "civilian model." It gives the same 50,000 volts of power, however, the civilian model shoots that charge for ten full seconds. As Mr. Officer says, "That's double the time that an officer's taser will sustain that charge. That five free seconds." He also goes onto warn that, "First, if you can purchase them, so can criminals," and, "I've seen guys get up from a blast from a taser. It's rare, but I've seen it happen. So don't think that just because you're carrying a taser that you're bulletproof."

He explains of the last level of self-defense as one that you might have to do some self-analysis and see if you're a real man. That, of course, is lethal force. Explains the officer, "This isn't for everyone and I would encourage you to ask yourself if this is right for you. I would do a little soul searching and see if you have what it takes to take the life of another human being."

Remember, I'm still at work. I mean, when I put on my shoes in the morning and begin my trek to work, the last thing I expect to be confronted with is whether or not I have what it takes to take the life of another human being. At this point, what started simply as a "ladies, hold your purse close" speech has now turned into a speech about killing people--all in about 20 minutes--and cats are just listening like it's no big deal!

Says the officer, "I know if someone breaks in my house at two in the afternoon, they're probably after my television, but if it's two in the morning, they're after either my wife, my kids or me. In that case, I will be using lethal force. If they die, well, that's too bad."

Afterwards, it was apparent that Angry Tim got the signals crossed, "So we can kill people?!"

1 comment:

TX said...

This is all very interesting...but what I find myself asking is that when Officer Miller is describing all these scenarios about the lady...IS IT ALL THE SAME LADY? I mean, that's a seriously horrible day...say nothing of the fact that this lady should either learn to lock her car door, roll up her window, or--better yet--lock herself in the proverbial "panic room" with a lifetime supply of Spaghetti-O's and Orange Tang. My best wishes to this lady and hopefully nobody loses their life.