Sign of a bad work day: Multiple news helicopters hovering over your work place

Written by Bob McCormick on 4/21/2007 08:58:00 PM

The last time I saw multiple news helicopters over my workplace, Lisa Nowak was apparently returning to work (like some of my co-workers noticed).

Yesterday was a much more tragic event. And of course, the image doesn't really tell the tale.

During mid-afternoon, my mom called me on my cell phone and asked me how I was doing. "Fine" I said, curiously wondering what was benind the question (and amazing myself with the fact that the signal reached me in the middle of the building). She then asked me if I was anywhere near Building 44. No - I work in Building 4, essentially on the other side of the JSC campus. She then told me that someone had a gun in Building 44, and that this was being reported on the local news networks. I thanked her for the info, and started checking my immediate contractor and NASA managers. Apparently the word was starting to filter to them too, but they were learning it the same way I was - concerned outsiders contacting individuals on the inside.

Just this past Monday, my company helped me celebrate my 20th anniversary with them (I've actually been working with them for 21 years, but who's quibbling?). In my 20 years at JSC, I think I've been to Building 44 twice. I was now looking at the view from one of those circling news helicopters at Building 44. But of course, all the tension was in the Building, not on the outside.

Sop after checking with the immediate management, I went back to my PC and arranged for streaming video from one of the local news networks. Sure enough, the news was broadcasting aerial views of Building 44. I sent an e-mail to my immediate family telling them I was in no danger, but expected a "shelter in place" order, which did come about 20 minutes or so later. I even joked that I could hold out a long time - there was plenty of food in the vending machines!

But, despite my jokes, in retrospect, this was a dangerous situation. Someone had obviously smuggled a gun on site, and had a very bad day. I did not know the principals in yesterday's situation, but my thoughts and prayers go out to them (just as they do to the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings).

After I went home, I saw the extensive news coverage I had expected to see, and finally heard about the deaths involved (after next of kin notification, I surmised). But what I saw after the coverage was worse. The inevitable attempts at connection between this event and the Virginia Tech shootings were made. Also, the insinuation that JSC Security had fallen down - without the countervailing analysis required of what it would have taken to implement the suggestions being made and/or the operational practicality of these suggestions - reminded me of why it's called msm and why I'm getting more and more turned off of it.

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