Monday, April 1, 2013

Grizzly Bear's

and things that should go "GRRR"...

I worked in the security industry for many, many years and was unfortunate enough to come across many shocking and some times fortunately funny situations although truth be told there was nothing funny about them at the time. There are a number of people who will remember these incidents and in order to protect the living parties, I've taken the liberty of changing their names. This is an account as accurately as I remember actual incident's that took place in the 80's whilst I was working as a Senior Patrolman for a national company.

One evening whilst I was on patrol in the southern suburbs of Brisbane I received a radio message advising that call sign S40 needed some non urgent assistance at an 'alarm client', his location was given by the control room, radio operator in code. I advised the operator that my ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) would be 22h10. 

On my arrival at the 'alarm client' (A very well known and very large department store at an inner southern suburb) the patrolman whose call sign was S40 and who we shall call 'Dave' approached me as I was getting out of my car. "Do you have any spare rounds?", he asked. Ding, Ding, Ding went the warning bells, "why the hell is he asking me if I have spare ammunition" I thought as I tentatively asked "Why?" not sure if I really wanted to know.

I have to be honest, I didn't trust Dave, I had recently submitted a request to have him banned from carrying a firearm because of an incident at another client's premises that I had stumbled upon. I'll elaborate - I was carrying out a safety check on a small group of employees at a well known factory close to the city a few weeks earlier and happened to time my call to coincide with their Smoko (Tea break). The smoko room was upstairs on a mezzanine floor overlooking the factory and as I wandered through the factory and found that there was no-one on the floor, I made my way up to the smoko room where I found two of the three employees at a table opposite one another. We were passing the time of day as was customary when I noticed a small angled hole in the table and whilst we were talking I subconsciously stepped back slightly to look through this angled hole. The employees noticed my curiosity and became very quiet as I spied through this hole in the table to a hole in the mezzanine and it dawned on me that these holes were perfectly aligned and about the size of a .38 calibre round. "I don't recall seeing that, the last time I was here" I commented. "What happened?", I asked as I noticed that the faces looking at me were rather flushed.

One of the ladies explained that Dave had been showing off his quick draw with his .38 Special Revolver the previous night when it had accidentally discharged sending a round through the table and mezzanine before ricocheting off the concrete floor and out of the open emergency door which was open at the time because the third co-worker was down there having a smoke outside as was his custom. It had been purely good fortune that the round had not wounded or killed someone.

"Hard to explain, but I'll show you in a minute... got that ammo?" Dave says. "Give me your firearm, I'll sort it out" I said. I didn't want him behind me with a gun which may or may not be loaded, I told him that we would worry about the ammo issue later, first I wanted to know what the heck was going on.

After handing his firearm over he led me through the back door into the department store, down through the isles and downstairs toward the children's department and as we were nearing the toy section I was wondering "Don't know how many times I've told this fool not to draw his weapon every time he attends an alarm activation. What the heck could this idiot possibly have done with six rounds from this .38 Special?... one round... maybe another AD (accidental discharge) but six?.... there is nothing accidental about that... no way!". As Dave is about to take a right turn into the toy section he taps his foot twice, stops and points down the isle to an eight foot Grizzly Bear standing there with it's arms akimbo... "So what?" I said.

"This is a pressure mat" he says as he taps his foot again, and begins to demonstrate how the Bear had moved and growled at him on his arrival. Dave had almost lost control of his bowel and bladder as he had raised his firearm and spent every round at this huge monster that he was sure was about to devour him. Well! .. I'm sorry but I simply lost it.... I was falling about and laughing almost hysterically. The thought of big bad Dave emptying his revolver into this oversized toy was just too funny for words. I think that it was relief that he had not killed the cleaners or night fillers or some tradesman... that had me in hysterics. Certainly there was nothing funny about shooting up the toy section of a very prestigious department store in the middle of the night but thank God no one was injured.

"How are we going to explain this!" demanded Dave. "WE!....WE! How the hell did this become WE! you bloody moron!" I demanded. I was a company man through and through, though many would argue otherwise so my mind was racing, "How the heck am I going to fix this?, if I just walk away and drop this fool in it the company will lose the contract for sure" I thought.

I called the control room from a land line, well aware that all call's were recorded and explained that we would be delayed for some time due to a technical fault and would require a particular technician who we shall simply refer to as BN to assist us. The control room operator arranged for BN to attend our location explaining that I had specifically stressed that no other technician had the skills required for this particular fault.

BN repaired the wiring of the Grizzly bear as best he could while Dave glued back tufts of fur. In the meantime I used polly filler expropriated from the hardware section to repair the holes in the wall caused by the through and through rounds from Dave's revolver and by 03h00 we had everything back to normal..... well almost... apart from a slight stutter from the Grizzly Bear. I thanked BN for his time and trouble, had his assurance amongst chuckles that the incident would not be reported. I sent Dave on his way with an empty holster and much protesting, as I called clear of the site with the control room via radio. The client never mentioned any issue and our company was never the wiser.

Dave never carried a firearm again whilst we were both employed by the same Patrol division.

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