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December 16, 2012

Low Seniority Staffing and the End of the World

8:08 am Sunday, the Post-Gazette publishes, Upper Braddock Man Dies After Police Chase that Involves Use of Taser. The gist of the story was: A man from Upper Braddock (aMFUB is a code for black) went to a casino and saw his wife with another man. Conflict ensued, and the Husband punched the Other Man. The Husband walked out of the Casino and was followed by "security personnel".(?)

Eventually, a Gaming Enforcement Officer (GEO) arrived and ordered the Husband/Suspect to stop and submit to handcuffing. Suspect declined, the GEO Tased the Suspect, then handcuffed him and put him into the back of a police car. The Suspect complained of difficulty breathing and died of a heart attack within twenty minutes. The newspaper story went on to state: The official report documented that the suspect died of natural causes.

This is so bad. It's bad because somebody's dead, it's bad because a government guy shot electrodes into a person (on my behalf), applied electricity to them, put the person in handcuffs and he died of a heart attack. It's bad because I didn't even know that a Gaming Enforcement Officer existed or was allowed to Taze people outside of Casinos. But it's really bad that the official documentation is that the man died of natural causes, like it's the Suspect's fault he's dead after the State electrocuted him.

When I read that I thought, it's the perfect confluence of low-seniority staffing. All the senior people have weekends off. The casino staff, the local police, the EMTs, the reporters, the editors; everybody who touched this event was probably the most junior personnel, because all the senior personnel take Saturday night and Sunday morning off - at least, until the junior personnel call them and say, "umm we got a problem".

And so at 11:56 am, the Post-Gazette rewrote the headline, rewrote the story, using the same URL so it replaces the original copy. New headline: Former Rankin police chief dies after being struck with Taser (fired by Casino Cops).

Wow. Now the deceased Man From Upper Braddock (MFUB) is the Former Rankin Police Chief. Ouch. Here's an alternative headline, same story: "Investigation Into Lethal Force Used on Man Who Punched Wife's Lover Thirty Minutes Earlier" The guy may not be an angel, but he was walking away, no threat, they knew who he was and where he lived; why electrocute him? Other sources report more background info, including the photo that explains the MFUB code:


Seniority is everything. Ask an air traffic controller about weekend pilots. Ask a pilot about weekend controllers. All the senior, experienced people want to work Monday to Friday days. If you're going to have a problem, you want it to happen at 0915 Tuesday.

Let's extend that to months of the year. All the senior people take vacation in August. All the next-senior people take leave in July. The nation of France, which does a good job of submitting to reality (which is saner than claiming mythic exceptionalism) just closes most businesses in August. The cascading confusion that led to WW1 was in late July 1914. WW2 started Sept 1, 1939, just as the senior people were coming back from vacation.

The world will not end on December 21 because all the senior people will be working. It shows the wisdom of the Mayans that they scheduled their calendar reboot for a day when all the senior people will be on duty.

3 comments:

A. Larry said...

When I was an air traffic controller, we used to call it "Friday fright night". Only the folks with the worst seniority (and least experience) are working then.

kilwer said...

Some of us old tickets prefer working at the tower on weekends, it limits your exposure to the assholes in FAA management.

Don Brown said...

-- Just an incredibly unique insight. Thanks for sharing.

Don Brown

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