Thursday, December 3, 2015

The San Bernardino Shooting

This was not the blog post I was going to write today, but circumstances changed.  
I’m not going to get into the gun control debate because there’s enough of that already.  
This is just what happened to me yesterday.

Well yesterday was a bit out of the ordinary for an English girl.  Unfortunately not so much for many Americans though.  I work in San Bernardino, just around the corner from the building where the so called "mass shooting" took place.  

At around 11 a.m. an email was sent to us saying 'active shooting' and stay in the building. Obviously no more work was accomplished that morning (or the remainder of the day actually).  People began watching news reports on their computer so we could see exactly where it was happening and we were quite shocked when we saw just how close it was.  

Reports kept coming through of how many people had been killed and then we got another email which said 'Meeting in conference room immediately'. [A bit ominous]  We were told the 'situation' was being monitored and we were welcome to go home if we wanted to - however, they would not advise it as the building was on lockdown and the shooters had not been apprehended.  We could leave AT OUR OWN RISK.  Well, what a choice... Sit at your desk all day wondering if you would ever get to go home or take your life into your hands and try and get to your car!  Very reassuring, I must say.

I lasted a couple more hours before I decided to go home - because quite frankly being at home on the sofa is better than even the best day at work really.  

Walking from the building to my car had my heart beating quite fast.  I could see my little Mini from the door, but it felt like it was a mile away.  The car park was deserted and there was not a security guard in sight - I think they had all bolted at the first sign of trouble to be honest.

What didn't help was as soon as I walked out the door and was out in the open police sirens broke the silence with screeching and revving engines very close by.  Needless to say I nearly wee'd myself.  I didn't want to run to my car as that would make me look silly, [also I didn't want to draw attention to myself] so I speed(?) walked and jumped in, locked the door and took a deep breath.  Phew.

As I drove to the entrance driveway the sirens got closer and police cars flew past on the freeway.  A Twitter alert came in saying there was now a car chase with shots fired.  Oh bloody hell, I thought, I should have stayed at my desk!

The town was pretty much deserted and I got home in record time, which was nice.  

What really amazed me (but probably shouldn't) was the amount of rumour and paranoia during the day. Work colleagues were freaking out in case we “were next”, there were said to be gunmen running amok in all directions, some were posting on Facebook that they could see it all happening outside the window which they clearly couldn’t – the building is 1.1 miles away and unless you’ve got super x-ray vision and can see through buildings and around corners, there’s no way.  Yes, we could hear the police and see all the helicopters, but that’s about it.  I work on the sixth floor and as I wandered around, even going to the fifth floor, all doors were closed and locked tight.  Some had notes saying if you wanted to get in, you should phone them.  Never mind the fact that the main doors to the building were locked and nobody could get in, let alone up in the lift to a random floor in the building.  I know I probably sound like a right uncompassionate cow, but I will admit it was a bit scary, to be sure.

It did make me reminisce for the good old days growing up just outside London when the only thing we had to be worried about, terrorist wise, was the IRA.  Granted you never knew when a bomb would go off, but when they did, at least there weren’t nutters running around with guns shooting at everyone.  They were already back in Ireland.
The IRA blew up the pub round the corner from my Nan's house
The world has become a very crazy place and this was just a bit too close for my liking!

Seychelles Mama


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  2. I walked up to the Arms that night with all the police and ambulances around - I even worked in there for a couple of years in the 1980s. Everyone always looked out for bags left unattended.

    With guns, do you just naturally assume that anyone could be carrying? .......

    1. Unfortunately, yes that does seem to be the case in USA.

  3. I wrote about the shooting too - from a stand point of looking at gun control. It is certainly a very odd thing to watch unfold on tv, something I am getting used to seeing as a Brit in America.
    I lived in London too, and remember the times of the IRA bombs, and the terrorist attacks, and the nail bomber - all very scary.

  4. Crazy times. I remember the IRA issues, but I'm not sure I'd like to be that close to a shooting.

  5. The different perspectives is really interesting to me. As an American, I never really worried about getting shot because for the most part, in my eyes, most shootings had specific targets. On the other hand, I was so nervous in Bali because of the constant bomb sweeps. It really frightened me thinking about the real possibility of someone out to make a statement.

  6. Ooo I had goosebumps reading this, I bet it all still feels like yesterday to you. I have to say that I hate all the rumours and things that come along with an awful event like this, it's quite sick how people feel the need to be starting stuff and I guess to be somehow involved in some media has definitely exacerbated that!
    It's very scary that you were so close to it all though, something you'll never forget.
    Thanks for sharing this story with #myexpatfamily