I woke Saturday morning to texts from several Unified Police Department officers I know. They had a word of warning for me. I’ll summarize:
“Kirb. Active shooter in your neighbor. White, male, with facial hair. Stay home. We don’t want to shoot your fat a-- by accident.”
I appreciated the warning. Logging onto Facebook, I noticed a query from friend and former Salt Lake Tribune co-worker Lori Buttars, who knows I live in Herriman.
Lori • “You’re the first person I thought of when I received the alert on my phone.”
Me • “I was also the first person I thought of when I received the alert. I got under the bed with the dog.”
That last part isn’t true. I was only halfway under the bed when I realized that my wife, daughters and grandchildren needed to be thought of before me.
I dragged a cannon in from the garage, loaded it with the entire contents of the kitchen drawers, pointed it at the front door and sat down with a lanyard in my hand. Just to be safe, I texted everyone I knew:
“Don’t anybody knock on my front door.”
The fact that a loon with a gun — who had already shot someone and shot at the police — was scampering about my neighborhood in the early morning darkness, was cause for great alarm.
The official advice from the Unified Police Department was to “shelter in place.” No offense, but when it comes to a would-be killer roaming through a residential area, “shelter in place” is just plain bad counsel.
When it comes to personal safety, “shelter in place” is on a par with “hide under the stairs” or “lock your doors” or any other useless caution that wouldn’t slow down a maniac for a second.
With respect to Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera, whom I respect a lot, we should have been told to “fortify in place.”
Fortify implies making your dwelling into a defensible position, a place that isn’t worth the blood it would cost a reasonable armed criminal to try to overcome. I agree with the need to lock down, but we have to be smart about it.
Fortifying in place involves way more than just hiding behind a locked door. It should be — but not limited to — keeping a firearm close at hand, chopping firing loopholes into the walls and doors of your house, and setting bear traps near all exterior doors.
With sufficient warning, there might be time to file the dog’s teeth sharper, construct explosives out of common kitchen cleaning chemicals, and set out poisoned snack products on the lawn.
Some of you may be horrified by these suggestions, but when it comes to keeping loved ones safe, no amount of concern for easily replaceable neighbors and innocent passers-by should get in the way of that.
Above all, follow the directions of law enforcement officials. This includes not trying to sneak through a police roadblock/checkpoint contrary to their expressed wishes. I know this because I tried.
Wanting to go and get another grandchild and bring her back to Firebase Kirby, I attempted to leave my Herriman neighborhood as unobtrusively as possible. Within a block, I ran into a UPD checkpoint.
Officer One • “Sir, is there anyone hiding in your vehicle and forcing you to transport him?”
Me • “I wish. Hell, I barely got room for that cannon.”
Officer Two • “#$%@! It’s Kirby. Just Taser him.”
I fled back home and stayed put until the “shelter in place” order was lifted. It’s a good thing the officers stopped me. They probably saved my life.
It turned out that my granddaughter and her mother had already fled to another relative’s home after leaving bear traps and poisoned snacks on the porch. Whew. That was close.