Getting Shot At
2015-08-06, 10:19 a.m.
Continued from here.
First of two entries from today, again. Thursdays are going like that, apparently.
Yes, I went.
It was weird but not unsafe. I did get assigned to a first floor money office, which was yes, the very first place the shooter went. However, they have bulletproof glass in there and the employees were generally very unconcerned about that under the circumstances--plus they have a literal safe room in both senses of the word to hide. The office staff sounded surprised at our lack of security and how open we are to attack by comparison. They didn't make me sit at the front counter to wait on him when he came in, whew. The supervisor assigned one woman to deal with him--she didn't seem too fazed by that, but apparently she used to work for police before, so.
Anyway, the guy came in around 8:30 in a hunting sort of outfit--baseball cap, backpack, looks like he's loaded for bear. I could see him walking in through the door from where I was in the back. I probably wouldn't be able to have described accurately what colors he was wearing other than "white shirt" and "plaid," really. I think it was a red plaid cap, red backpack, blue-green-ish plaid shirt over a white shirt, maybe a few inches below six feet or so. Was that accurate? Probably not. He started screaming in a high pitched voice about basically, the sort of complaints we hear all the time except louder, and then he said HE DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE TO DO THIS, BUT--at which point I was under the desk. He was yelling "Bang! Bang! Bang!" and presumably the chick assigned to "help" him would have been dead had they not had bulletproof glass. I'm told he had a wooden gun, but I didn't sit up long enough to look. I crawled to the safe room and hid out with the manager and the others hid in a back office. My coworker that was sitting at the front counter but not being the one waiting on him said she basically just sat there and watched until the gun came out and then slowly sank below the counter. She said she wasn't too impressed by the whole thing.
I peeked out later and saw that most of my office had gotten outside and were hanging out chatting. I could hear screaming and "bang bang bang!" periodically upstairs, but that was about as much as I heard after that. Eventually we were notified that we could come out and then we...just left.
I heard various reports afterwards. Some people heard someone yelling "gun, gun" or "pop pop" (I could make a Magnitude joke here, but won't under the circumstances) and had warning to duck. Some people never saw the dude. The worst story I heard was from my boss, who I'd previously assumed would be safe in a conference room with the rest of the managers. They never heard a thing and he just walked in and started screaming, but none of them even moved--and she was all "I was one of the ones who got shot." Or would have been, anyway. Theoretically the guy would have taken out most of the managers and an entire unit in our department right there.
And really, it's kind of a weird situation. We pretty much had fire and earthquake drills unexpectedly at school growing up (and at least a few times we'd have an actual earthquake after the drill, no joke), but this sort of thing can't be done as an "unexpected" practice when you have to lock down the building, prevent random people from walking in, have us in there like sitting ducks, etc. I do concur it’s kind of weird to know you’re going to be under attack rather than unpleasantly surprised like it would be in real life. I don’t think that is something we can really replicate though, so I don’t know how to make that better. I do think it would help to have rehearsed plans ahead of time as to how one would get out, where to hide, where secret exit doors are, etc. before doing a drill like this. Plus well, this isn’t going to be the scenario we get shot at in in real life so it’s a bit hard to adapt to what we’d actually have to do or not.
After the managers came back to the office from their meeting, they said they were told to report on how it went in their respective areas. One of ours said she had tried to get them to move this demonstration until after we were moved in, but got nowhere. (She also said she put me and my other coworker in the safest spot, which I way thanked her for.) I told her it would be a good idea to have like, plans ahead of time where to go and how to get out and where to hide rather than having people have to do this on the fly. Maybe next time. I do wish we'd have bulletproof glass in the new office, though. Wouldn't feel like so much cannon fodder that way.
We had another meeting about it in the afternoon (and we’re going to have another major meeting about it on Wednesday), during which people said things like they were feeling afraid of people with backpacks at the counter now. Some of them were disappointed that they never took action—one quote was “In my mind I want to be a superhero, but not so much.” Some of them just felt the urge to help, help, help—along the lines of “I’ll give you whatever you want!,” and I was thinking, “You are far nicer people than I am. I’d be ducking.”
Anyway, fun tidbits from the meeting included that “hey, a high caliber weapon will get through that bulletproof glass” (thanks), that everyone should scream really loudly, that yes, there are some secret stairs we can use but they were blocked off (wtf), we should have drills about this sort of thing and get a tour of the building, and we should figure out how to break the windows.
So….yeah. Another reason to seriously want out of my current career.