Monday, March 29, 2010

A third milestone today: Highway to HAZMAT Hell.


I'm beat but I have to get this out now. Tomorrow I won't want to do it.

So, here I am, at 1500DCT, with an Easter card with brown and white powder in it. I bag it up. After about an hour and a half I reach a doctor friend by phone to find out what I should do. We agree that the principal potential threats are ricin and anthrax. "Probably just birdshit," he says. "Right." "Just watch for symptoms and get to the hospital if you start to develop any." "Right." "I'll call (someone in the Coroner's office) to find out what to do with the card and call you later." "Thanks a lot."

Sometime after five he calls back. I'm to call 9-1-1 for a cop to come by, pick it up and take it to a postal inspector. Sounds simple, right?

Hoo, boy, howdy.

The last fire truck, cop car and the SUV containing the FBI WMD expert finally left about 23:30CDT. There were at one point 14 vehicles with flashing lights outside, a neighborhood crowd, a cameraman from Channel 13 and a reporter from the Pinson News. (Everyone will spell my name right in their reports but the Pinson News.)

Remember the scene in Monsters, Inc. when the sock from the human world gets stuck on some hapless monster? You now have some sense of what it was like. Oh, they didn't do the strip and dip on me, but they approached my beat-up Blazer like it contained the entire Iranian nuclear program.

At one point, I offered to go fetch the zip-lock from the Blazer myself and drop it in one of their HAZMAT diaper bags. They looked stricken, as if I had just proposed that each of them take off all their clothes and run down the street screaming, "Look at me!" "What?" I asked. "You don't do trick-or-treat?"

No, they all assured me, they did not, and the youngest cop who took the report, looked like he would shoot me if I went near the vehicle.

I'm going to leave out most of the crap I had to go through, but the next time this happens, rather than go through what I just did, I'm going to mutter under my breath that the public health folks can go diddle themselves and I'm going to bury it in the front yard under the bushes. Sheesh.

The FBI, it seems, has jurisdiction for all WMD, even if it is birdshit, which it may not be, so OK. Said birdshit is now on its way to the lab in Montgomery. And I will have to be answering some Fibbie questions tomorrow by phone. (Yes, I will tape it.)

What a day.



Dedicated_Dad said...

Damn, Mike -- I am truly sorry.

Hopefully you learned some other lessons from all of this:

"Don't open 'threat' letters without PPE/NBC gear" should be high on the list.

Further, your fingerprints are now theirs (if they weren't already) and *COULD* mess up the "trace" that could lead them to the perp.

That said, you should really be celebrating right about now... (1)*THIS* one I believe they'll treat with some seriousness,
(2) the whole thing could "go national" thus giving you some more free soap-box time, and
(3) you've once again proven what we all know anyway but most of the sheeple do not - that the left are really the dangerous ones!

All in all, I'd say that's a *DAMN GOOD* day!

Now go take your well-deserved rest.

All else 100% aside: I'd happily bring my crippled @$$ to your place and pull the oh-G*d-thirty watch so you could really sleep in peace - and I'm 100(000)% sure numerous other "threepers" would do likewise and count themselves blessed to boot!

I know you're protective of your location and all, but that cat's already out of the bag so there's no good reason not to avail yourself of some well-earned and well-deserved support!



PS: WV-"undo mess"!!

fireplaceguy said...

Every bureaucracy thrives on grandstanding and overreaction. The locals here are no different - they don hazmat suits at an accident scene when a fuel tank ruptures, but don't give a shit when THEY spill gas filling up on the way home two hours later.

Bury it in your front yard, though, and you'll be a superfund site.

Ya just can't win, and that's by design...

(Word verification: senaten - vote for one senator, get an order of magnitude more damage!)

milkorder said...

Glad you survived a "2319" My kids love Monster Inc.
Praying for you brother.


Happy D said...

Please! Please take this type of threat seriously. I used to have a couple of acquaintances that worked on either side of Chem/Bio weaponry.
The stuff even someone as stupid as a Progressive could powder and mail is scary. The Hazmat crew was not over reacting! It will most likely be fake. But what if?

The acquaintance on the defense side had a couple of boxes made of lexan sheet plastic. With holes for heavy rubber gloves that were attached to the box. A door on the side for loading the letters he received.

Sealed air tight when the door was closed. A plastic letter opener was kept in the boxes to open the envelopes. If a contaminated letter was opened the whole box could be shipped to the FBI lab with no need to shut down the whole building.

A box like this could be made out of cheaper plastic or even plywood.
I would go with something transparent so you can see from many angles and have more light.

Take care of yourself because I am to far away to come over and help. Even though I would like too.

Anonymous said...

Rule number one - never dial 911... ever.

Something like this, if I really NEEDED to find out what it was, I would have sealed it up tight and hand delivered it to the police station - the one which issued my last traffic ticket too. Let them shut down their entire afternoon while running around like a bunch of goons following "procedure" AND willing to kill anyone that gets in the way of that procedure.

They are the trained "only ones" - trained to 'fear' that is.

Bet every one of them broke traffic laws while traveling to the scene too - which is something that actually has a HIGH likelihood of endangering the public, (while the chances this is anything more dangerous than the bird$#!# it is suspected of being is zero, statistically speaking).

Pat H said...

Never cooperate with or engage the cops.


You're lucky they didn't attempt to seize firearms and your computers.

Rhodes said...

While the opportunity still exists I must tell you how much I and so many others depend on and appreciate your efforts. We all take life for granted its not in our nature to do otherwise. Thanks for all you have done and will do.

May God protect you if it be His will.

Dan said...

Happy to hear you're none the worse for the wear, Dutchman. Pain in the ass though it was, "Better safe than stupid" is my motto.
So you got some of your tax money spent on a pre-caution, meant to protect you! Use the other guy's strengths and all that.
It is probably nothing, but don't take a chance with the real whack-jobs slippin' one through.
Those here who are viewing LE as the enemy already are only gonna' make bringing those who are good guys into the fold that much more difficult. There are some good guys out there. Use caution, yes, but not prejuduced condemnation.

Follow Happy D's suggestion or at least scrutinize return adresses and post marks. Toss unrecognized items.
Your an intelligent man, your writing is beneficial to the cause so take care of yourself. It may be time to ask friends to walk the post for you.
Remember, "You're nobody until someone wants you dead!"

Cybrludite said...

Look at it this way: had it been a mysterious package that was ticking, you'd have gotten robots, kevlar blankets, and nervous looking men wearing near as much armor as an Abrams tank. As someone who's had training on the civvy side of hazmat incident response (if you come to the hospital where I work after being exposed to nerve gas, I'll be the guy dressed in tyvek who's scrubbing you down), I can say that the full-blown circus which showed up wasn't anything unusual for a response to a possible bioterrorism attack. They do loose points for the cops not being in the moon-suits, but that's why Fire & EMS call them "The Blue Canaries". ;-) (If the cops are down, but their cars are running, it's poison. If the cars are stalled out as well, it's an asphyxiating atomosphere...)