Just Another Day At The Office
We had an unusual day at the office today… a search helicopter, cops holding a perimeter, and a manhunt for an armed robber, but I’ll get to that and how my CCW helped me in a bit. To give you a lay of the land here, where I work is a small office with about 50 people in the building. The building is broken up into two sides and the area I’m in has roughly 20 employees. There are a couple entrances similar to what you’d see at a retail location with the traditional hinged glass.
Around 11 a.m. the sheriff’s office called our front desk and told an office admin to lock the doors and keep everyone inside without much more detail. Another employee called the sheriff’s office back and was able to get some more information. They were told “an armed black male fled a white vehicle after robbing a nearby store and is believed to be hiding in or near one of the buildings near your office… stay inside, keep the doors locked, stay aware and be safe… call if you see anything.”
You could hear the helicopter flying back and forth and cops were scattered around. They had streets blocked and seemed like they were just trying to hold a perimeter while the helicopter looked for the guy. My office seemed like it was about in the center of the search area so the cops were not very close to our office at all, but you could see the lights on their cars in the distance… not close enough to make any of the staff here feel like a cop was going to be able to protect them if the guy decided our building was the best place to evade them.
Since this was happening rather slowly over the course of a few hours, there was quite a bit of time for everyone to really settle in and run through quite a few different emotions. Early on, a lady from accounting decided to take the trash out to the dumpster. Of course, most thought she was either nuts or trying to prove she wasn’t scared. Shortly it was realized nobody told her what was going on. She had her headphones in and was not paying much attention as she took a load out. When she returned, she was quickly brought up to speed. Some of the staff was starting to worry a little at this point and realized it would be a good idea to make sure everyone was aware of the situation, so a trip door to door was made round the office.
I was trying to be safe, aware, and thoughtful of the potential danger, but I couldn’t help watching and observing how everyone else was handling this situation. Some people continued working as if it were any other day while others were checking facebook and the local news for updates on the manhunt. The office manager was in my office and I asked them if there was a plan for situations like this. She told me there really wasn’t a plan. I asked if she happened to know if anyone else here was carrying. She quickly said “the only person I’m aware of is you.” Around that time, a couple other teammates walked into my office and sat down and began catching up about what they saw posted regarding the robber, which wasn’t much more than we already knew.
Then a few more employees showed up, and crammed into my area. They didn’t really join the conversation, but mostly were just standing around and flicking through their phones. About this time I realized what was going on, so I asked again with more people in the room “I know it is extremely unlikely, but if the guy were to come in the entrance on the side down by accounting… what do you think we should do?” and one guy joked, “hide under the desks, at least that is what they told my son in school”… while another from accounting joked about a stapler and scissors being her option.
The group was a mix; from parents who are comfortable with guns but don’t have any because they have kids, to others who are very much against guns and support a full ban, to a couple that have guns in the closets or safes at their homes. Eventually everyone went back to their desks and got back to work, but for the most part, the drama was over.
Occasionally I feel like a few of my friends here at the office look at me like I’m odd carrying a concealed gun. Most of my co-workers didn’t know I carried, but recently those close to me became aware of it through conversations we had about all the gun related news.
I was on a higher alert than normal that day, but I felt comfortable that if there was a situation I had a pretty good plan for staying safe. I did call my wife since our house is near the office to make sure she was aware and we were on the same page. I also saw this same day through the eyes of my friends and co-workers and how they experienced this very differently than I did.
When this situation arose, their best option was to go be near someone else who had the ability to increase the odds of defending themselves and possibly others, if a bad situation were to unfold. Today I watched as they showed me photos of their children, with a little more emotion than usual, and talked about getting the new Nest Hello doorbell for some added security at their house. I also saw the harsh reality set in that if something were to happen, they’d be at the mercy of a criminal, or the cops that weren’t within shouting distance – or some scissors I guess… they had no control over defending their own lives in any real meaningful way.
After a few hours, the cops cleared out, the helicopter left, and we got an update from the sheriff that they didn’t find the guy, but they feel confident that he is no longer in the area and it is safe to continue the rest of the day as if it were any other normal day. They tried to reassure us by explaining that children at a nearby school were cleared to walk home. We were told the staff should feel fine with unlocked doors and walking to their cars in the parking lot.
Today I got a little less work done than normal, but that pesky thing that occasionally jabs me in the side if I move the wrong way or adds a couple extra minutes to my morning routine… that gun gave me a lot of peace of mind today. I sat and checked emails, finished looking over some reports, and scheduled a few appointments for tomorrow – all while having my HK VP9SK and my backup extended mag close by in case things didn’t go like a “normal day” and I needed to protect myself from an armed criminal that was running from the cops. Tomorrow when I’m clipping on my IWB holster those few extra minutes are going to feel even more worth it than normal.
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