As home-grown terrorists seem to be sprouting up all over the US, it seems only natural for law enforcement to train in preparation of different crises.
A while back ago, my brother-in-law asked if I should like to act in a scenario to help train the local SWAT team(s). Naturally, because I am more than loaded with false bravado, I agreed.
On Monday I was informed that a fellow actor (S.) and I shall play radicalized terrorists while some members of Messiah Lutheran Church would be our hostages (If you’re not loving Lutherans by now; you’re missing out…… #truth)
We were told by our Handlers to keep this under wraps so that they could achieve the element of surprise regarding a random and unknown hostage/crisis situation. This exercise was to commence at 8:00 a.m., and run until around 3:00. My 15-year-old son was to portray the “Unknown” (a person unaccounted for). We were informed of things we could not say (Triggers) which would most likely ensure that we would be stormed by the SWAT members. We were also informed of a (Safe) word which would allow us to cop out. Our talks with the Negotiator were to be a guessing game of Cat and Mouse.
It sounded great! And then my anxiety kicked in; that second-guessing of one’s self. This was something completely new and different for me.
After much deliberation, and my very own scenarios, I decided to do what every great operative does: Call my two dads. Currently, I’m in a musical where I have two fathers, but I chose my two political dads. M.-Dad told me to be an evil Mitch Rapp, while B.-Dad told me to go the Mata Hari route. Mr. Kells told me that it’s not about training hostages, just about training the fellas outside. Still, I wanted to be convincing…
This morning I woke up with a sore throat. While phlegm is your friend, my phlegm was tainted yellow….not good. Well, the show must go on (always been my philosophy, always will.)
At the church we were given more info from our handlers, J. and B. In this scenario, all weapons were to be unloaded, yet we were given a short tutorial on how to hold them; particularly when we were in the officers’ sights. (How you man your gun may also signify a trigger.)
The day started with our 911 call warning the police that we had explosives and hostages, and that we must talk to one in authority. I took what little precious time we had prior to the authority’s call NOT to develop the character of Resident Evil, but in singing my solo, “Woe is Me” for my fellow actor/conspirator, S. Not smart.
When the negotiator called S., he had to talk to him, and I was supposed to jump in and cut S. off. I did, but then I really didn’t know what to say to the negotiator, so I hung up on him after a bit! Yikes!! Our handlers said that was fine…..best to keep em’ guessing.
Due to my piss-poor performance, S. was delegated as the official phone picker-upper, and I was the gal parading hostages around the perimeter so that I could relay the info to him, giving him reason to react.
On my first go round, I was to step outside, notice the van on the north perimeter, run back in and inform S. Ha! Mission accomplished! I relayed the data to S., which was followed by some hostile screaming on his part to the negotiator.
My second go round was to case the south, west and north perimeter with two hostages. I was almost shot because we started running , and there was some belief amongst these officers that the hostages were trying to escape my charming and enigmatic ways. Thankfully, I survived. Check. Check?
In time, my handler, sweet J., told me I must scope out that north parking lot whilst the hostages surrounded me with their hands up. He specifically wanted my son to keep his hands in his pockets…hmm.…. This I did. Turns out I could’ve been toast as I turned my back to open the door for them to re-enter. Note to self: Don’t open doors for others because you have boobs and are a terrorist! #yourock
Keep in mind, all of these actions are not simultaneous, as S. still manned the phones negotiating, while our handlers drummed up a lot of nerve-wracking incidents for the both of us to play out.
So I would say it was around 9:55 when I was told to use sweet pastor as my shield to see if I could locate the explosive-searching robot in the west parking lot. We saw it, and confirmed this to S. He then had to be belligerent on the phone with the negotiator. That was rich…. (I’m sorry, but I kept waiting for him to break out into, “If I were a Rich Man”….)
After a bit, I reckon at around 10:20, I had to take pastor and another hostage out to view the south parking lot. We reported all clear. (A sniper later told me where he was, and I was stunned! #invisible)
I’d say around 11:00, a very funny incident occurred. S. was told to feel sympathetic and release a hostage, while I was told to try and stop him on cue. One of our handlers, B. to be exact, told me to slap him. So being that I can take direction and abide by cues, I proceeded to run over to him while yelling, “Stephen! WTF are you doing”??!!! And then I slapped the crap outta him and dragged his ass back inside.
Poor, S. When he told me that his ears were still ringing, I felt terrible! So I blamed my handler, B. (I’m quite sure the ever-proficient terrorist passes the buck). Now poor B. was at a loss and back-pedaling, and we were all three of us laughing hysterically! (Maybe S. slightly less so)
At this point I was starting to feel pretty rough. J.,one of my lovely hostages, had given me a Sudafed, and sweet pastor had given me green tea. I knew I was in decline, and perhaps my face showed this when my handler, J., said I need to create a loud argument and take over the manning of the phone. Lovely.
What do I do? What any normal, all-American girl does to create a screaming match: I slap the crap outta S. once again! There was a scream, there was the WTF shock, and then he started laughing! I had to hold the phone’s receiver because I started laughing too!
When I was handed the responsibility of dealing with the negotiator, I found it very daunting as I was concentrating so hard on not giving away any triggers. He asked if everyone is unharmed. I told him I’m only going to slap the crap out of S. So while I was trying to deflect, (and he did emit a chuckle), I felt as if I were swimming blind in this sea of the unknown world of terrorist improv.
Now then, I was competent enough to try and procure a trade-off. I said they were hungry. He agreed to lunch and a Quran in exchange for a hostage. I argued that they already had a hostage. He then went on a long spiel, which was very good, and very logical, and which I almost debated…..but I did not want to trigger. So, I dismissed him and hung up.
When I told handler J. of my shortcomings, he proceeded to show me how it’s done…..and he did. This boy is very, very good….and he’s hawt. Who am I kidding? They’re all friggin HAWT! Anyhoo, he wheeled and dealed with the negotiator, and my sweet 911/operator hostage was to leave us.
Or so I thought. I was then told to take three hostages to the sanctuary. At this point, I was feeling a bit like Proud Mary, and had no problem with this. Let me just say that upon entry, we made a left turn to the prayer room, and I was assaulted! This is shocking. The boy pressed the front of me against the wall while simultaneously pinning me with his body and securing my arms around my back. This is extremely intimidating! Okay, I’m not gonna lie, the boy was hawt, so, yeah; this was also strangely titillating.
I tried to be a big, fat liar, but I immediately gave up my name!!!! Ugh!!! Damn, I flunked Terrorist 101 in Turkey; failed Terrorist 101 in America. The fault, of course, is in the boy’s beauty and had nothing whatsoever to do with me.(One need only refer to my earlier references of throwing another under the bus….passing the buck….ring a bell?)
While the sweet hostages were front-cuffed and seated in chairs, I was back-cuffed and placed on the floor! The worst part? No full-body search! I really felt the need to slap some little red handprints on some pretty boys on that account….would’ve made S. feel vindicated, too.
Apparently, the lies I told to my prude abductors didn’t fly. (Maybe it was my gun on the hostages?) After S. was captured, we were all driven to another location and processed (while the dogs and the robot sniffed for the explosives) and eventually wrapped it up around 2:00-ish.
As sick as I feel, I’m so happy that I was able to participate in this exercise! I joke a lot about these boys, but I tell you sincerely; they were nothing but professional. Being that I was portraying their enemy, ironically, I felt very safe in their presence.
Trust me when I say that I would buy their calendar……..hint, hint? Perhaps one day, I shan’t be denied the strip search. ß—-tee-hee, Kells’ humour! (but,seriously, if this happens, any chance they can send a copy to the Bay County Women’s Hoosegow?)
And these of course are merely the machinations of the terrorist Fail seeing hindsight 20/20. Eh…. I still gotta hot hand……just ask S.