Friday, October 4, 2013

FF: Ready or Not

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Ready or not winter has decided to come to our neck of the woods. That is right, here it is only the 4th of October and the snow is flying strong.
This is a peak out our front window this morning. The weather channel is calling for up to two feet of snow and blizzard conditions with strong winds. We had plenty of warning about this storm. My favorite was from this young man. Love his warning about umbrella usage.

You can be assured all these little guys are curled up in there homes away from the elements.
This high fiber diet really sucks!
I had high plans for this week, all of which got left behind due to a nasty cold. I did manage to sit on the porch with my camera and get a few shots, but nothing very special.

Of course I still had to go to work Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, which gave me enough excitement to last a lifetime. I know this is suppose to be fragments but I really need to tell what happened and hopefully get others opinions on the situation.

Wednesday evening was very unsettling for me and probably many others present at our local Mall. A young man in his 20's made a mass death threat on Facebook, saying he was headed to the mall to kill a bunch of people. I was working at my part time job when we got a warning from another mall employee that the police department had notified mall security to be on the lookout for a man. Supposedly the only information they gave was a partial description and that he was wanted by police and believed to be headed to the mall. at approximately 8:30pm we were asked to keep an eye out for this person and if we saw him to detain him and alert mall security. About five minutes later mall security came around and gave us a better description and told us the police were on site and blocking all entrances and exits and exactly why this person was wanted. No longer were we being asked to detain the individual but to contact security immediately if we spotted him. Our store manager asked if we were to shut and lock the security doors but were told no we could not close. The next hour was so tense it seemed like two or three hours. We did not see another security guard or police officer for some time. Then about 15 minutes later we saw one police officer run past our store front. Then all was quiet. During this time mall shoppers were still walking through the halls and into stores as if they were totally unaware of the situation. A half hour after the first notification it was finally time to close and we still were unsure if the individual was on the premisses or if he had been apprehended.  We preformed our usual duties and shut down and locked the store. We were very apprehensive about leaving but had heard nothing and had watched as a number of people leave the building through the exit near our store so we decided to go ahead and leave. As we left the building at 9:30pm we saw no police or security guards but we did see a mall maintenance worker who informed us that he had seen the police remove a man in handcuffs who fit the description. The maintenance worker did not know if they had found any weapons on the man or anything else. All he knew was that the man had been apprehended in one of the other stores and arrested.

This is not my first rodeo, growing up in Southern California I had the great misfortune to experience two similar situations while working in retail stores during my teens. The first time was in a major department store, where a disgruntled customer killed the fine jewelry clerk at one store then traveled to the same store in another city about five miles from the first, where he once again attacked the fine jewelry clerk with a hatchet almost killing her as well. At that time I was the evening manager of the fine jewelry department  in another city, fifteen miles from the first, which the police determined was most likely his next target. They stationed plain clothes officers at all of the entrances and two uniformed security guards remained close to my department never taking their eyes off of me.  They apprehended the man as he entered the store, putting an end to his spree and all of our fears. Although it was tense evening, I never felt the fear that I felt this last Wednesday. Why should I fear, I knew there were officers at every entrance and I could see the security guards protecting me just in case the man got past the officers.

The second time was in a smaller shop in a fair size mall. The store manager received a call from security informing him that their was an individual in the mall considered 'armed and dangerous' giving a description and once the manager told them we did not have anyone fitting that description in the store he was instructed to move personnel and patrons to the storage area and lock the door until security gave an all clear. Everyone except the manager stayed in the back room for maybe a half hour before the call came that the threat had been removed and it was safe to return to work as normal. It was a bit stressful, more so the just not knowing exactly what was going on, but it was scary. Everyone felt safe because the situation was handled in a calm and well thought out manner.

Surprisingly not one word of this weeks incidence has been reported upon any news stations. They (not sure if 'they' is mainly the city or if it is mainly the owners of the mall or a combination of the both) want it kept quiet as they do not want people to fear our town and mall are not safe places to visit. I can understand them not closing down the mall and possibly alerting this mad man to the fact that they were on to him. I can also understand not wanting to create panic, what I don't understand is creating a situation which put every employee and mall patron in danger. I can also understand not wanting the public to fear the city is not a safe place.  However, I think it is better that they do the following two things; One, put an improved plan in place for violent threat scenarios; Two, let the public know that yes things like this do happen but the threat was dealt with keeping the public safe. Rose colored glasses never truly helped anyone.

So what do you think?

Sorry about turning this Friday Fragment into a full blown post.


bill lisleman said...

OMG did you order your pizza and chinese food early??
That guy got to hired out announce the date on my alarm clock. He sure would wake me up.
Wow those retail jobs you had sound more dangerous than I ever thought. I thought most retail danger was at liquor stores.
I think the mall should have been temporarily locked down. They do that at schools. Don't they have public address systems at the mall? What if the nut had a helper that the police didn't know about?

Mrs4444 said...

Franky--LOVE him.
Sickness-Sorry; I hope you feel better soon.

Mall Issue--How very unsettling; I don't blame you for being upset, and I think they should have locked the mall down.

No worries--There are no hard and fast FF rules :) Have a wonderful weekend!

Beth said...

I was watching the weather channel yesterday morning and commented how strange the weather is. In some parts of the country 2 feet of snow was expected while here on the East Coast we are having an unusually warm October and it feels like summer!

Doreen McGettigan said...

Oh holy snow! No sign of any of that here, yet.
I am so glad you are okay. I am having trouble getting past no one gave you all the all clear. They apprehended the guy and let you all remain scared. Terrible. If they locked the mall down they may not have caught the guy, they must have been certain they would get him...
I used to be a restaurant manager and got robbed several times, it is terrifying.
I hope you feel better...