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Corporate Responsibility for Safety

Written by Angel Darkenna

(This was origianlly posted by Angel Darkenna on Facebook and reposted here with permission)


I have seen these comments, or ones like them, over and over again this week:"Bear knew he broke the rules and even tho I agree with him you can't have armed people in the workplace."


"Unfortunately, I do not agree with protesting a company policy in which someone knowingly violated it."


That… isn't the point.  That isn't the point of all this activity, protests, discussion, and media attention at all.  Nor is this about infringing the Second Amendment (I've seen a lot of those comments, too).This is about corporate responsibility.  If a company prevents its employees from being able to defend themselves from an attacker, then the company assumes responsibility for that employee's safety, especially in an environment such as a convenience store overnight, which is inherently one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.


Bear Cothran was carrying a sidearm in the early morning hours of Monday 10/14 because he felt insecure and unsafe at work, and if you watch the video of the event you can clearly see why: an armed robber was able to enter the store, come around the counter, and threaten him with a 10" blade at a distance of under 3' all in a matter of seconds. From how the robber is holding the blade and his statements to Bear ("Give me all the money or I will kill you"), Bear believed that the man was going to stab him whether or not he gave the money over. He pulled his weapon and defended himself appropriately, and the incident ended without injury.The big problem is that the robber was able to obtain access to the clerk so readily and the clerk had no where to go and no way to protect himself. If a company does not allow its employees to defend themselves with either lethal or non-lethal means, then the company has the obligation to make the environment safer in some way. There are many, many ways to do this. Most Hess stations, for instance, go to a "lockdown" procedure when there is only one employee on: they lock the doors and all transactions are done through a slide-box that goes under a thick piece of lexan glass. Dunkin Brands (which operates hundreds of Dunkin Donuts stores throughout the northeast) remotely monitors all of its 24-hr locations remotely from a huge command center in Canton, MA. Live monitoring. Which means when a robbery occurs, the command center is seeing it as it happens, and calls for help when its employee cannot. Exxon-Mobil, when a station goes to 24-hour service, remodels the service counter so that it has 2 exits at opposite ends, each of which is near a door off the sales floor, so that an employee can always flee when threatened. McDonald's issues panic-button necklaces and belt boxes to its overnight employees, which automatically summon the local police when activated.Nouria Energy, which owns nearly all the Shell and Lil Mart stations in northern New England (more than 120 stores, nearly all 24-hour operations)… does nothing.In fact, their entire policy and procedure on robbery prevention is a single small paragraph in the employee handbook: in the event of a robbery, give the robber what they want, and once they have left, lock the store and call for help.THIS is what the protest is over what all the media is over, why all these people are crying "foul!". Not Bear carrying, nor his losing his job for it, but the lack of responsibility that his employer took to ensure his safety. Especially in light of the fact that there have been more than 15 armed robberies on the late night shift in the Nashua area since July, several of which ended with the robber intentionally wounding the clerk in order to slow down police response time. Remember, there are more than 100 Nouria employees tonight that are all alone in their stores, who are not allowed to defend themselves and are at the mercy of anyone who walks in the door.The outcry is over bad corporate policy and lack of responsibility. Nothing else.


"Angel Darkenna" is the Facebook identity of a loss prevention and security consultant with more than 15 years of industry experience.  Questions and comments may be directed to him there.  He is located in southern NH and is always taking on new clients.  The preceding editorial is comprised of his professional opinion and observations, and not to be taken as the policies and procedures of any company mentioned therein.  (c) 2013.


Friend Fired for defending himself in NH (the friends view)

(This was origianlly posted by Angel Darkenna on Facebook and reposted here with permission)

For those who haven't heard yet, last night someone attempted to rob the Shell station on Main Street in Nashua. A large man entered the station, quick-walked around the counter, drew a knife from his sleeve, and held it in a "gutting" position, threatening the clerk. He told the clerk, whom we all know and love as Bear Cothran, to give him all the money in the register, or, and this is a direct quote, "I will kill you." Bear took three steps back, drew his legally concealed firearm, and aimed it at the robber. At this point, the robber thought better of the situation and fled the store. The police were contacted, but have been as yet unable to find the man. Bear was, thankfully, not injured during the incident.

At 11:20 this morning, Bear received a phone call from his boss, informing him that, in spite of his status as a 10-year employee in good standing and both the store and district managers going to bat for him, he was being terminated. Nouria Energy (, the franchise owner of the store (as well as the majority of the other Shell stations in the southern NH area), has a policy prohibiting employees from carrying weapons while on the clock. Bear was let go without any manner of severance for violating this policy.

Essentially, he protected the store's assets and his own well-being, in a manner in which no one was injured and no damage was done, and was fired for it.

Now, I support the right of Nouria Energy to choose to have such a policy. I think it's not a particularly good policy, given the business that they are in, but it's their right to make that decision. Just as it is my right to choose not to patronize their business ever again. If you agree with me, please join me in denying Nouria Energy your business.

EDIT: Nouria Energy Corp. is the franchise company that owns and operates this Shell station, and it was their policy that Bear broke. Nouria operates over 120 stations under the Shell and Lil Mart brands. It is these stations that I am asking you to avoid.

EDIT #2: From Lee J. Lavallee, Bear's lovely wife:
"FYI: In regards to Bear's termination over last night's situation. He knew the risks of breaking company policy. Bear and I talked about them several times over the past few years, and more so these past several months due to the explosion of armed robberies in the Nashua/Manchester area (and the stabbing/shooting of unarmed gas station attendants at some of these robberies, like the one in Hooksett). And every time we brought up the subject we BOTH agreed that his life was far more important than the job. He knew it, and he did it anyhow. And I support him 100 percent. Guess what gang, we are getting ready to have legal paperwork signed in 2 weeks. 2 Weeks. And I would much rather be a wife of an unemployed, ethical, loyal, hardworking man than to be a widow of someone who simply followed company policy."

EDIT #3, 10/15: HOLY VIRAL POST, BATMAN! Thanks to everyone who is sharing this and getting the word out. 150+ shares and counting.

Also, here are some links to the news articles that are beginning to appear. Please, don't feed the trolls when you find them, and logically answer the people who have legit questions, if you feel like commenting.

EDIT #4, 10/15: More articles and opinion pieces. Also, WMUR in Manchester says they will be having a piece on this during their 11 o'clock news tonight.

EDIT #5, 10/16: And now, the TV news media is involved. The first one, from CBS 5 in Boston, actually has video footage of the entire incident. The last one is about a protest being organized to picket the Shell station this coming Saturday at 2pm.

osTicket 1.8DPR Released

A new DPR (Developer Preview Release) is now available for osTicket 1.8 (Rumors). This is a preview release for developers and enthusiasts to see, help troubleshoot, and help test the upcoming release. It is not recommended for production environments and is not recommended for upgrading existing installations.

This release introduces two much requested features that will help continue to make osTicket one of the best open source ticket solutions available. They are Rich Text (HTML) Support and Custom Fields and Forms

Rich Text (HTML) Support

From tickets to FAQs to canned responses to email templates to well nearly every long answer box across the site you can now use rich text markup. Oh and inline images!

Custom Fields and Forms

Adds an interface for easy addition of different fields and types of fields to your tickets.

Why this is important: Many mods for past versions added additional fields to osTicket to help customize how the software works and fits into your organization. This adds a way for individuals to customize their installation with out modifying the core code. Which means that upgrades will be easier and faster for those who do field customization. This also indirectly introduces what I refer to as ticket types since Help Topics determine what fields get included on your ticket when its opened by the user.

You can download the DPR at github.

source1: osTicket forum post

source2: osTicket Blog Post

osTicket Forums migration and update

If you visited the osTicket forums today you may have noticed a slight change. The forums have been upgrade! Yay!

This brings the forum software up from the vBulletin 3.x codebase to the new 5.x codebase and introduces a ton of new features. It's our hope that the software will give us better tools for the moderators and devs. This upgrade also coincided with moving the site to a new much faster server. This software also has an integrated blogging software which we’re planning to utilize.

App: Castle Clash for Android

I've been playing a new free game on my cell phone recently called Castle Clash. I've also got my roommate addicted to it It took my quite a while to find the hero upgrade costs so here they are.

When you first get a Hero they are level 1 and can reach level 20. A Hero can have 9 stars, and presumably reach level 180. You get your heroes experience by running dungeons and battling other players (the way that costs gold).

When a Hero maxes out it's level it can be upgraded. When upgraded it will gain a star, raises the Hero's max level by 20, and increases the Hero's stats a little.

Star Gold price Hero Badge price "Flames" requirement

Max. Level

1 N/A N/A N/A 20
2 10,000 1,000 10 40
3 30,000 3,000 50 60
4 100,000 10,000 75 80
5 200,000 20,000 105 100
6 300,000 30,000 135 120
7       140
8       160
9       180

^ Conquering Dungeon rooms gives you "flames."