Thursday, February 28, 2013

I need to feed the parking meter ... in the middle of a gunfight.

Some background,about the North Hollywood bank robbery and shootout that took place, February 28, 1997, 16 years ago today.

At least twenty minutes after several hundred rounds have flown from the muzzles of two crazed and drugged eastern European bank robbers, LAPD officers actually had to chase people away from parking meters in the middle of the gun fight. Actual conversations went on like this!

 Citizen HUA (Head Up Ass) "But ... I only have two minutes left, I need to put a quarter in, or else I'll get a citation... (fishes for change in his or her pocket)"

Officer, (can't fucking believe what he just heard) If that officer hadn't been experiencing extreme stress and what Lt Col Dave Grossman has pointed out is the shutting down of unnecessary brain function - like coming up with witty and sarcastic replies - he would have probably said, "Hey, we're in the middle of the biggest gun battle in North American history. I sincerely doubt a) Parking Enforcement is within two miles of this place and b) will be here any time soon. GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!!"

If this shit were in a movie, it wouldn't make it past a single focus group - they'd all say, "Oh come on WHO WOULD DO THAT!?" Los Angelinos, that's who. If I hadn't witnessed much of this complete irrational nonsense firsthand, I wouldn't believe it either. Many of us want desperately to believe things are normal, and in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are not we will continue to act as though things are normal. I didn't know what that this phenomenon had a name. After watching Glenn Beck I now know it's called the normalcy bias.  On 9/11, some people caught in the World Trade Center after the attack halted their exodus to turn off their computers. A jumbo jet full of fuel just crashed into a building, it's burning and what's important is ... turning off your computer before you leave the room.

On the Titanic this showed itself when as the ship was sinking, live music continued to be played as the water crept up on the sinking ship.

I've heard of it firsthand with respect to police work, specifically the LAPD during the most violent bank robbery in North American history. There was an alright movie about the whole thing, 44 minutes made about it. If you watch that you'll see how gritty, professional, squared away and brave everyone working that day behaved in bringing the gunfight to an end. The only people killed were the two bank robbers.

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