A recent conversation with a friend who works in the "public service" sector of our community was both eye-opening and disturbing in its implications.
Her position in the company makes her the de facto authority over a rather large number of people, and should an emergency situation occur on the work premises, even the customers present would fall under her immediate authority.
In other words, she'd be responsible for keeping them safe.
As we'd been discussing building security in light of some outside shootings, I asked about the work site procedure if the same emergency were to occur with her present.
She pointed to a door and said, "I'd lead them into that room, lock the door, and instruct them to huddle against the far wall."
When I remarked that the room afforded no back exit, and the aforesaid door framed a three-foot by four-foot plate glass window, she nodded, looking a bit sheepish and very much afraid. She'd obviously already considered the scenario many times.
I was aghast.
"But you'll follow procedure anyway, while the gunman blasts the window, reaches in and unlocks the door?" I asked. "At that point you're all just waiting to be slaughtered."
She could not respond, but the look of fear on her face was haunting. The fact that the area was a "gun free zone," rendering defenseless everyone on site, only served to underscore the insanity of the policy itself, and the victim's resignation of those laboring under it.
We've become a nation of sissies, victims-in-training. Largely, there's no protest, no fight left in us as a people. Repeatedly, we're told by those who think they know better to "give them what they want." If accosted by a bad guy, the advice is to submit, and perhaps you might live.
A cowering demeanor is pummeled into society as a whole, and by those who know well how to use the existing propaganda machine. Want to feel safe? Then jump through all the government portals that supposedly guarantee it. A few of these safety precautions are:
Having to drink your own breast milk when ordered to do so by airport security, such as one lactating 40-year-old mother at New York's Kennedy Airport was forced to do.
Voting in favor of a bill recently introduced into the Hawaii legislature that would ban pocketknives.
Moving to New Jersey where slingshots are outlawed. They can put your eye out, you know!
Submitting to an x-ray strip search that reveals all your intimate body contours, such as the one at the Phoenix airport and others around the country.
Would someone please tell me just what kind of "man" would allow his wife's body to be electronically ogled in the name of "security?" Is righteous outrage so passé that nothing offends?
Or is it just that it doesn't bother the guy too much as long as it happens to other men's wives?
What's worse than the inanity of nail clippers and crochet needles being confiscated outside a federal courthouse is the "Oh, well" shrug of the people who hand them over. They've gotten so accustomed to the idea of being disarmed, led by the hand and told what to do that they see no disparity between their chosen pseudo-martydom and their "We live in a free country" mantra. The clinking of their chains is swallowed up in the noise of the parade.
Contrast the above attitude with that of the two men who disarmed a would-be robber in their room at the Anchorage Sheraton just recently. The assailant "woke up" stuffed in a closet with a police escort looking down at him. He found himself the recipient of the typical paleo-Alaskan response to an armed threat.
Our state is yet rightly called "The Last Frontier." If our motto is to be more than a thing of words, we need, as another American said some time ago, to "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel."
The way things are heading in our state, and in our country, I'd say a lot of well-earned suspicion is in the offing.
Kevin Reeves is a freelance writer living in Haines.