Friday, October 2, 2009

Which Way Would You Go?

Hypothetical situation: A fight breaks out on the yard and escalates into a riot. There are inmates running everywhere beating each other up and throwing things and breaking windows and setting fire to what they can. What do you do?

No, I take that back. I should have said what would you do? Would you join your fellow staff attempting to get them under control or would you bolt and lock yourself in somewhere and wait for it to blow over?

I know what everybody says they would do, which is to be brave and fight. But I have seen people crumble under much less dire situations and run for cover. And some of them are still employed there.

So far I have managed to be proud of myself. Every time there has been a fracas I have looked for an opening and dived in to help. There have been a couple of times where I have frozen up for a split second of indecision, but it was always on deciding what to do, rather than whether or not to run away. That option just doesn't occur to me when something goes down.

I know that there is always that little voice in the back of my head screaming "Oh snap! This is going to hurt tomorrow!" right before we hit the concrete.

The sad truth is that you don't have a clue what you would do until you are in the situation. You just don't have a clue. I may run into a situation some day that makes me freeze up with fear. I can't conceive of such a scenario at this time, but if that day ever comes I'll look for another job. I couldn't work there anymore if I was afraid to act.

I'm not trying to blow my own horn and say I'm all brave and macho. Anybody who knows me knows better than that. I don't think I have a macho bone in my body. Well...... one. But I'm not going into that here. The truth about me is that I am more likely to go charging in without thinking first and try to get logical and clean up the mess afterwards.

And it's not something you can think about. It's not something you can plan and prepare for. Not really. You can learn all of the Dirty Tricks they teach you in the academy and you can practice them until you are blue in the face. Or once a year, like we do. But until you step down into the mud and find yourself face to face with the elephant, you don't know how you are going to react.

I just hope, that when the snit hits the fan you'll be there with me. There will need to be somebody there to carry my dumb butt out when it's all over.


  1. I often wondered that myself. However, I recently faced one of those moments. Running into that dayroom full of angry, screaming inmates, my first thought was, "Son of a Bitch!
    This is gonna hurt tomorrow!" I looked around to see where the first attack was going to come from. Thank God for the "mommy" voice. And the fact that it worked. It's nice to know I didn't even hesitate to jump into all that.

  2. Thats why I always said we should have 30mm chain guns on top of all the Units. A riot breaks out, all staff into the H.U. control room, and one staff from each house on the roof(only after being well trained of course). After the first 3,000 rounds...I bet they all would be little angels. Sorry, my P.T.S.D. is acting up again.

  3. Adseglight- I don't think one of them would have had a sack big enough to do anything to you, anyway. No matter how mad they were. They all call you names behind you back, but they are afraid of you. That's so cool.

    Squid- If a riot ever broke out here I would be more afraid of the staff with the guns than i would of the inmates. Think about it.