Lockdown, Shakedown, Breakdown!

This just in from the “I swear I’m not making this crap up” files.  Earlier this week, we had a rather exciting afternoon at Small Town University.  About half past three, a warning scrolled across the bottom of my computer screen that said “lock down lock down, shelter in place, lock doors classroom/offices.”  Apparently there had been a robbery at a nearby fast food place by a  suspect described as a black male with “heavy set silver short white shirt.”

This isn't as much fun when you're still inside the building.

This isn’t as much fun when you’re still inside the building.

Huh.  Well, this was different.  When I stepped outside my office this same warning was blaring across the speakers they’d managed to fix since the evacuation drill when half the staff didn’t hear the alarm. Also a strobe light was flashing.  We figured out to get the flashing light when we accidentally forgot a hearing impaired employee in the building during another drill.  Now we’ll only have to drag out an epileptic patron.  Progress!

We had already practiced the fire drill (that was the one where we forgot an employee) and had been mostly successful (except that one little detail).  We’d managed to annoy the students who were forced to take their headphones out of their ears and pack up their laptops and move their bodies elsewhere.  I wonder if they would move even if there were a real fire.  Probably they’d have to make sure their angry birds took out all the green pigs first.

We've still got time - the flames aren't quite to the computer lab yet.

We’ve still got time – the flames aren’t quite to the computer lab yet.

We’d also practiced the evacuation drill, to the annoyance of not only the students but the entire town.  We hadn’t warned them we were going to do this, see, because criminals are always nice enough to warn you that next week on Thursday at 4 pm they are going to set a bomb in your building so do mark that in your day planners.  Anyway, people were a little weirded out to see the entire campus leave at the same time.  In an orderly fashion.  I’m just kidding, it was a total gridlock.  Supposedly, the campus shuttle was going to transport people to cars that were parked miles away.  I saw a lot of students wandering around blindly, yammering to each other and stepping in front of cars without looking.  You know, the usual.  But no shuttle.  Oopsies.

The news had a field day with this. They managed to interview quite possibly the two dopiest students on campus who fretted “We was scared and they didn’t tell us nothin’.”  Education at its finest – you can find it here, folks.

Now this is what happened when staff had warning that the drill would take place.  This was not a drill, but an actual emergency so naturally no one knew what to do.  We didn’t even understand what it meant.  I kept reading the warning as saying the suspect had a heavy set silver short white shirt.  So he had a short heavy shirt?  That was silver and white?  Wait, what?  The fast food place the suspect had robbed was located directly across from the university – in fact, the part of the university where the campus police is located.

Not this Police.  The campus police.  This might have been another excuse to show Sting.

Not this Police. The campus police. This might have been another excuse to show Sting.

So we knew there was some guy who robbed a fast food place, but not whether he had transportation or say, a gun.  Or where he was.  Or what we were supposed to do about it.  The students kept firing their birds at the pigs while the alarm repeated itself again and again.  My boss, coworker and I went downstairs to see if anyone else knew what was going on.  The office staff said to take cover in a room and lock the door.  So we went upstairs.  Then it occurred to us that there were patrons out there.  What were we supposed to do with them?  They wouldn’t know what was going on until the gunman actually had a gun directly against their skulls and then they’d say “Five more minutes, I’ve almost got the last pig.”

A call downstairs told us that, no, we didn’t have to go take cover, we just had to lock the outside doors of the library so no one could get in.  Or get out.  Hooray.  Now I had started out the day with my typical anxiety that was now notched up to about 50 what with not knowing what was going on and the constant reminder from the speakers to lock down, lock down, lock down, lock down already!  I started hearing that song from Beverly Hills Cop in my head – shakedown, breakdown . . . breakdown, breakdown, breakdown!

Remember, the library is always a safe place.

Remember, the library is always a safe place.

I texted my husband that there was a robber on the loose and the whole university was locked down.  He replied to my urgent message with “k”.  Yup.  “K”.  Now saying said gunman had actually managed to get into the library (the only reason I can think for most people to willingly go into the library would be to take cover from police) his last words, er word, not even a word, was “k”.  He couldn’t even say “Okay”.  Thanks, honey.  Glad romance is DEAD.

Now I’m really hyped up.  Every ten minutes we get that alert to lock down.  As if everyone trapped on campus has not freaking heard it by now since none of us can LEAVE.  This goes on for almost an hour and a half –until ten till closing when they finally announce the “All Clear.  Resume Normal Activities.”  Whatever they hell that might be.  We were just thrilled we got to go home.  But what about this gunman?  Haha, it gets even better, guyz.

My life is suddenly reading like a plot device in 50 Shades of Grey.

My life is suddenly reading like a plot device in 50 Shades of Grey.

First we found out the gunman wasn’t in the restaurant.  He wasn’t armed either.  He just knocked over an female employee leaving the place, took some money, and ran.  This has to be the stupidest idea ever.  We’re talking about a tall, African American man in a town that is mostly white, robbing a woman in broad daylight across from the police station and then trying to escape on foot.  What kind of moron would do that?

The same kind of moron who would decide to cover up a shortage at the register by staging a robbery, which is what happened.  The girl, the robber, and another genius involved were all employees of the store and figured that instead of admitting there wasn’t enough money in the drawer, they’d just pretend the money was taken and no one would ever figure it out.  Brilliant plan, Einsteins.  So, in summary, because of three bozos we, for an hour and a half, locked down an entire college campus, had a helicopter flying overhead, had cops search through each building on campus in a painstaking manner, and freaked the hell out of hundreds of people.

Just another day at the library.

66 responses

  1. But you got to not work for 90 minutes. K? 🙂

    1. What was funny was how most people in the building completely ignored it. Students kept playing on the computer. Most of the staff was still going about their daily whatever it is they do. I was texting my husband “K? Seriously???”

  2. Lol, “k”. Your husband sounds alright in my book!

    I often wonder if finding the dopiest human beings at any incident to interview is taught in journalism school. They do make for funny auto tune numbers later, but are just awful while the news is on.

    1. It actually took some training on my part to get him to respond with anything at all, so I guess “K” is progress.

      I remember seeing it on the news and cringing. It’s a college campus – there are plenty of educated people around, but noooo, let’s pick those two idiots. Facepalm.

  3. K? Like this is freaking hilarious! Sorry…it is a bummer to be locked in. Hey, what about that description. Whoopsies!! Uh, what? On the other hand, I’m glad you survived the ordeal in one piece. I think a massage from hubby is in order!

    1. Me too. When I said “K? Seriously?” he responded with “Did you want a novel?” so when I got home let’s say I was less than thrilled. Meanwhile he’s clueless. I mean, I wasn’t at gunpoint, so no biggie, right? D’oh.

  4. I’m still trying to figure out the logic of evacuating the campus building. If there truly were an armed robber running rampant on the streets, it seems counter-intuitive to release students to run TOWARD him.

    Armed Robber: “Hey, I had only planned on robbing this fast-food joint. But now I can easily commit serial murder.”

    I trust you will sleep well tonight.


    1. Ah, well, the campus was evacuated for a potential bomb threat . . . which isn’t necessarily a lot smarter. If there’s a bomb threat, I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to get that many people off campus and far enough away in time. We were locked in for the potential armed gunman. Of course no one knew where he was, so he might have already been in the library and we’d just locked him in with us.

      Sadly, I did have a student call in because she was locked out and I said she could go ahead and walk home and only after hanging up did I realize – crap, what if sent her right to the armed robber? I am the worst boss EVER.

  5. I work at Big City University. When there’s a gun-related crime across the street from campus, our public services department responds by waiting a few hours and then sending out an email.

    1. That’s their strategy for most stuff, so this was surprising. Of course our rehearsals prepared us for nothing since we were practicing for a bomb threat and a fire and possible armed gunman falls into neither of these. Bomb and fire mean get away from the building, which is not such a good idea in the case of a maniac with a gun running around. Or for the maniacs on campus who are armed so they can shoot the bad guy, thus turning the campus into the OK Corral.

      1. sorry, I couldn’t resist. 🙂

        1. It was well played, my friend. 😀

          1. He’ll of a story though. Glad it all turned out to be a false alarm.

  6. I hate “k.” I get that from my daughter and most recently my own mother. Pet peeve #13.

    1. How hard is it to write out okay? Or even O.K. Two letters. I mean OMG!!!

      1. I know!! It annoys the hell out of me!! I would even take a kay.

        1. Even worse is when they spell out words with numbers. Like Gr8 for great.

          1. Right…or plz for please!

  7. Now no one can say that the librarian job isn’t risky or dangerous. Maybe next time they close down the campus when someone spots a jaywalker.

    1. We’d be closed all the time then since every student jaywalks in spite of there being a crosswalk every ten feet or so. It is rather funny what constitutes an emergency in a small town, though.

      1. And joking aside – there was a shooting at a college library in California today: http://www.newser.com/story/169186/3-dead-in-shooting-spree-fire-in-santa-monica.html

        1. I saw that. Talk about timing. Sadly this seems to be happening more and more these days.

  8. urbanmythcafe | Reply

    I’m still trying to figure out how to get the plot device un-stuck from Ana’s whoo-whoo.

    I sure hope that Mr. Steele doesn’t catch her with the heavy set shirt guy.

    1. I would not be surprised if Ana and Christian were involved in this staged robbery.

  9. Used to work in a library when I was a grad student in Cleveland…fire drills every month, during blizzards. All went well and orderly. On 9-11 the university evacuation clogged the entire city center – chaos. Evacuations are natural – that sounded a bit weird. Glad you’re
    – k – and all.

    1. Yeah, our evacuation clogged the town and people were ticked. Also some of the nearby public schools freaked out cause we were leaving and they didn’t know what was wrong. As if no one would tell them if something was going on? Then again, maybe they had a point.

  10. This was hilarious, although, I imagine, not so much at the time it was occuring. The robbery scheme seems about as plausible as the kidnapping scheme in Fifty Shades Freed.

    1. Exactly! When I heard about the robbery scheme that was the first thing I thought. These people must have read that part of the book and thought it sounded like a quality plan.

  11. How many pages does it take for a book to stop a bullet?

    1. I’d be hiding behind the Harry Potter series myself.

  12. Ooh… we used to get ‘k’ from son1 when he was about16.
    I’d have been seriously tempted not to respond in any way, nor go home at the usual time, and just wait to see how long it took before I got a more concerned/panicky text or call. (If never, at least you’d get to miss the Things teenage years, eh?)

    1. Oh, I was. I considered going shopping in the next town for a few hours, but I was too damn tired. And the unfortunate Things are not getting phones until they have jobs to pay for them. Thing Two believes this is way unfair because every other kid in her class had one. A class of eight-year-olds. Who the hell do they have to call? Thing One said “Yeah, I’d give up on that one.” to her sister. Wise, she is. Though she has been known to say “O-M-G Mom.” Now we text talk even.

      1. Ha. Our eldest had a mobile before I met her, so probably from about 14 or 15. Son2 didn’t want one til about 16 (he had no friends to talk to) and Son2, 14, is similar in outlook. I think most of his peers have them. A class of 8 year olds here wouldn’t – though it’s creeping in. As is laptop ownership. Our older 2 got laptops for their 18th birthdays, for going to university. At least 4 of the kids I taught last year got them, or kindles, for being 8. I was like WTF will they be getting when they’re 18?!

  13. Okay.

    Yeah, I know that doesn’t really mean anything. I just wanted to be the first to type it out instead of just putting “k.” Do I get a cookie or something? Or another five minutes knocking pigs over would be fine…

    Wow! Lockdown scariness. I was involved in a lockdown at my high school once – one group of kids of a certain ethnicity decided they didn’t much care for a second group of kids of a different ethnicity and there was a full on “riot” (that’s how the newspapers described it later) in our quad. The campus cops came and tried to break it up and ended up spraying everyone down with pepperspray. They sent everyone to their next classes and locked them in for a full 2 hours while they tried to sort out the mess. They finally decided to scrap the day entirely and released us to our parents (or other responsible family members – so I got off school early and hitched a ride home with my brother who was a senior). Good times.

    1. Ethnic groups fighting each other? Someone should have just bought them all a coke (so they could sing in har-mo-ny). Although pepper spray was also a good idea.

      Once we had a bomb threat at my high school and we all sat outside on the bleachers for a while and I thought it was great because we got to miss class. Though now that I think back on it, if that had been a very big bomb they still would have blown us to smithereens.

  14. Oh, hell, talk about bad timing …

    1. I’ll say. I kept thinking who would be dumb enough to rob a place so close to the police in broad daylight? And then I had my answer.

      1. No, I meant — I’m guessing you haven’t seen this news story: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/07/us/california-college-gunman/index.html?hpt=hp_t1 (this all happened after you posted this today).

        1. Now I get it – I saw the story a while after seeing your reply. Terrible.

  15. That’s just crazy… very crazy

    1. I know. If I hadn’t lived it, I’d swear it was made up.

      1. I swear half the stuff that happens to me, if people didnt see it, they’d never believe it.

  16. Seems like I know who the next recipient of the Fruitcake Award should be.

    1. I can see us being featured in a dumb crooks book. That would be the closest to fame we’ve gotten since our town appeared on Hoarders.

      1. Fortune and glory.

  17. But what if the robber was armed? Wouldn’t it have been smarter to stay inside? Why go outside?

    1. We locked ourselves inside. We went outside for the two drills we practiced before this actual emergency. Sorry for the confusion. Though it wouldn’t have surprised me if they had sent us outside, considering.

      1. Oh, I’m sorry. I must’ve misread. Perhaps I should start reading wordpress after breakfast instead of before. 😛

  18. LOVE hearing about your husband’s response! Perhaps he was hiding his concern so as not to worry you more? 😉

    When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we came across a barracuda while we were snorkeling one day. I actually didn’t know it was a barracuda… But hubby sure did. I pointed at it and turned to him in the water, indicating, “Honey, look at that cool silver fish!” Naturally, rather than grabbing his bride’s hand and pulling me away, he just up and swam away as fast as he could. Wife? What wife?

    1. Ha, I love it. Not quite like the movies, is it? 😀

  19. Unreal. How scary (and funny now that it’s over) At first I thought you were describing what happened at Santa Monica College. The world is so screwed up now and everyone’s on edge.

    We had an armed robbery at a bank just down the road from my kids’ elementary school and they never went on ‘lock down’. You wonder who makes these decisions and why.

    1. Yes, I saw the story after the post (obviously). This did happen at our campus this past week, though. And there seems to be a shooting every damn day, and a major one at a school or other public facility every time you turn around.

      In this case, I do think the cops made the right decision by shutting down the campus. They had no way of knowing three morons would plot something that stupid. Better safe (and freaked out) than sorry, I guess.

      1. I think that’s the real problem in our country–too many morons.

  20. luv it. gotta go. c u L8r

  21. Did you ever find out what they were really trying to say when they said “heavy set silver short white shirt”? That can’t have been a real description??

    1. The guy was heavy set, had silver shorts and a white shirt. I think. They weren’t big on commas in the warning.

      1. Ah. Commas make all the difference!

  22. Awfully convenient of them to send the all-clear ten minutes before you closed.

    1. They probably would have had a worse disaster on their hands if they hadn’t.

      1. Probably. I imagine most people would have ignored the lockdown, climbed out of windows if they had to, just to leave and go home.

  23. This really is stuff that couldn’t be made up. Unless, of course, the writer in question was EL James. How ridiculous all round!

    At least your internet usage wasn’t compromised.

  24. That was a very funny retelling, even if it had a few frustrating/scary moments at the time.

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