by ADAM CLEVENGER
In these days of red alerts, amber alerts, pink alerts and chartreuse alerts following (yes, I’m going to say it) September 11, it is crucial for the Longview student to be familiar with the Metropolitan Community Colleges Emergency Procedures Manual.
For the sake of this article, I will shorten it to the MCCEPM because I’m a huge fan of ridiculously long acronyms like NAFTA, USSR and OU812, which isn’t really an acronym, just a really good Van Halen album. I prefer shorter acronyms like NRA and NFL- -they’re just easier to understand.
But I digress. The MCCEPM is a very important book and every Longview student should know its contents forwards and backwards. The MCCEPM starts out with a letter from the chancellor, who everybody knows is Wayne E. Giles, not to be confused with J. Geils of “Love Stinks” fame. He states that, “The information in this book was prepared with the sincere hope that it will never be needed.” In the case of media inquiries and mail handling, I hope it will be needed. It would be bad if they didn’t open any transcripts or didn’t get hold of me when Tom Brokaw calls for an exclusive interview regarding my blossoming music career or my Pulitzer Prize for this article. In the case of death or suicide, I hope no one ever needs to use it.
Speaking of death and suicide, the third thing MCCEPM says you should do after calling 911 and public security is, “address the victim in a calm and soothing manner.” Personally, if I were dead, I wouldn’t care how someone addressed me, because I would be dead. If there is a hostile intruder, one should “Explain that you are willing to help.”
Imagine that you are in the Longview bookstore when a very angry hostile intruder comes in with a gun:
Hostile Intruder: Everybody get down! This is a stick up! I am a very angry, hostile intruder!
Innocent bystander (in a clear quiet voice): Why are you so very angry, hostile intruder?
Hostile Intruder (flailing arms like a crazy person): My Introduction to Economics book just cost $400 and I must rob this bookstore so I can feed my children!
Innocent bystander (still in a clear and quiet voice): Is there anything I can do to help?
Hostile Intruder: Yes, please hold my gun while I bust open the register! Now that I have the register open, hold this sack so I can shovel money into it!
Innocent bystander: Here’s your gun. Did you know that the safety wasn’t on? Oh, wait. Don’t forget your money. If you still have to pay your tuition, you might want to rob the cafeteria also.
Hostile intruder: Why, thank you, innocent bystander. It’s always good to practice gun safety even when robbing a bookstore! I’ll be sure to stop by the cafeteria. All this holding people up has made me hungry and, with inflated tuition prices, I’ll need the extra cash!
Innocent bystander: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Hostile intruder: I could use a getaway car!
Innocent bystander: Here, take mine. Mommy and Daddy will just buy me a new one. Have a nice day!
At this point, Hostile Intruder exits and Innocent Bystander becomes a willing accomplice. A clerk calls the police and public security (whoever that is).
As you can see, this book could save your life if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation. If you ever play the role of Hostile Intruder, this book could help you get away with a lot of cash.
It is important to note that I am only covering a few of the situations contained in the MCCEPM, and to get the full effect and achieve the optimum level of safety and readiness, you should read through the whole manual. Ask your teachers to go through it in class. Have role playing activities so you can get practice. Have brainstorming sessions to think of way to improve the emergency procedures.
You could come up with more things to listen for and more questions to ask the next time you receive a phoned-in bomb threat. Instead of just asking the usual boring questions about a bomb like: Where is the bomb? What will set it off? What is your address?
Instead, have some fun with it. Ask the caller pertinent questions, like: What is your name? What is your quest? What is your favorite color? You might as well enjoy talking to a crazed maniac on the phone because if there really is a bomb, you’ll probably be dead soon, with people addressing you in a “calm and soothing manner,” and it’s not every day that you get to talk to the unabomber.
One last important thing to pay attention to when you receive a bomb threat is background noise. For example, if you hear music in the background and it’s J. Giles singing “Love Stinks,” you never know who it might be- maybe the chancellor is just checking to see if we’re on our toes and hoping that we don’t have to use the manual. Or Tom Brokaw may just be calling from the Unabomber’s phone trying to reach me for an exclusive interview about my newest single, entitled “Pink Alert.”