Thursday, June 4, 2009

Death Threats Aren't Funny

There are many advantages to work the off shift in a television news room. Those of us who work outside of the 9 to 5 have formed our own little society with our own set of rules. Don't want to wear shoes? We don't care! Hungry? As long as you bring enough for all we will gladly cover for you while you run out and get a snack! Not in a great mood? We all understand, and will keep our distance. Of course, life in the early hours isn't always candy and roses. There is the issue of the phone. Between the hours of 7pm and 9am there are no receptionists on duty, so those of us who just happen to be in the newsroom are left to answer calls. Of course, these are the hours when the "interesting" people come out to play.

During my time in news I have taken many strange phone calls. Most of them are just lonely people who want someone to talk to, and if we have time, most of us are glad to listen for a moment. However, there are a few that stand out in a crowd. For instance, there was one man who had gotten caught shoplifting at a local thrift store owned by a religious organization. He claimed he had been "framed" and was going to sue the store, the church, and Jesus Christ himself. I probably should have hung up on him when he said that, but it was 2am and I was tired, so I let him keep talking. I mean, until he asked if I would be a character witness. Then I found a reason I had to quickly get off the phone. Another time a guy called from the lobby, claiming he had discovered a new kind of dinosaur, and that he had pictures to prove it -- I just had to let him in. Um, no. I told him if he wanted to leave them with the security guard I would look at them and give them a call. So he did. His new dinosaur? A line of rocks sticking out of the soil. Oh, and that wasn't the best part. He wanted to call it the "Dianasaurus" after Princess Diana. I'm sure she would have been touched.

Of course, my experiences pale in comparison to the call taken by Sloane, a producer on the morning show this morning. I could recap it, but instead I'll let his e-mail tell the tale...
It's no big deal at this point - but I thought I should let you know a slightly unhinged woman made a death threat against me this morning - and a bomb threat against this building.

It started when she called demanding that I send a crew to meet her at Provo City Cemetery. She claimed she had the answers to all of the world's problems, but outside of that - she didn't explain what the cameras would see.

She said "I am a genius, and can prove it." She asked that I make those arrangements and then call her back when the crew was on its way.

I told her, I would try - but don't expect a call.

Of course - when I didn't call - she called back.


I've never heard someone call me a "motherf--ker" so many times in one conversation; well except perhaps when I was living in the dorms at the University of Wyoming - but that was on more friendly terms and involved alcohol.

Anyhow, she called me incompetent, and demanded I write on a piece a paper that she was gay and she loved her country. Then she said she would drive up from her apartment in Provo - find me and kill me. And if she didn't find me - she'd bomb the entire station - UNLESS I call Provo Police and have them come to her apartment.

So - I called Provo Police.

I really don't think she intended to carry out her threats, but obviously she was unhinged and I feared she would at least harm herself.

A few minutes later, I got a call from Sgt. Crosby. They found her outside her apt in perhaps what they thought was a suicidal state, and possibly threatening harm against her "wife." He told me that they've had several run ins with her before - but never found her threatening. But, again, I doubt and the Provo police doubted she'd come up her and bomb the station or anything else.

But I thought you should know what happened. I also gave heads up to security.
Sloane went into the wrong business. He should be writing for Letterman. Or working as a crisis counselor. Honestly, I don’t think there is a person in the newsroom that would have handled it with more aplomb. I mean, maybe one of the receptionists, but then they wouldn't have summed it up so well.

I love my job.


Lulu said...

Oh PLEEEEEEEESE blog more about your job....please please pleeeeez pleasepleaseplease!!!!! (Lulu jumping up and down doing optional toe touches!!)

Lulu said...

Oh. Yeah - I'm sorry. The death threats aren't funny. Truly.

And was there a full moon? Because that's when the really special interesting people come out - I know, I worked in healthcare for 16 years.

I was once working a special callcenter event for the hospital and a guy called in to say that he'd seen our cancer special and he was going to come up to the hospital and find me and 'make me hurt' because we claimed to cure cancer and his parents died of cancer.

Things that make you go hmmmm....

She Said said...

By any chance does this woman follow you on Twitter? Just curious. :P

Princess Consuela Bananahammock said...

Wow, that's one thing I can honestly say I haven't had--a death threat. Oh, but I've had plenty of other crap. Trust me.

My new job is proving to be interesting. I get to hear all the juicy gossip about the hotties who live there... and the complaints that the neighbors lodge regarding the "different screams every night." Not screams of terror, mind you. *ahem*

LB @Wait, She Said What? said...

Wow! I guess it's true, it really does take all kinds.

Crazy people shouldn't have phones. Really, it should be a rule or something.

Rachel said...

my husband works for Discover and gets some doozies too...a man asked him to pray for the souls of all the mormons the other day...and another gentleman told him he was part of Obama's socialist regime and would burn in hell if he didn't lower his interest rate

Kristine said...

Great story! You know, because it didn't happen.

I'm a teacher and when I was working in Baltimore's inner city, I once had a kid use ink to smear "DIE TEACHER" at the foot of my classroom door.

I also had a kid jump out the window. Just the first story, but still.

Dana's Brain said...

Death threats aren't funny - but that was a total riot.

DC Diva said...

I actually miss this about TV news.