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.

RANT: Morons, Trucks, and NetSol

This morning is one of those days where I really kinda wish that I had stayed in bed.

I got to bed late this morning after a late night Walmart run to buy a new air conditioner and installing it. Surprisingly I woke up to my alarm, and got up, showered and ran to work. On my way to work there was a truck in the opposite lane so some dumb bimbo decided that it would be a great idea to leave her lane head on and almost kill me. After some screeching tires resulting in about a foot between her car and my motorcycle… she waves me on. This was a sign, that clearly stated “GO HOME”. I of course didn’t listen.

So I pull the 200 ft up the road and the parking lot is blocked by a large truck. I ask the guys getting out of the truck how long they are going to be and they ignore me and walk away. This was a sign, that clearly stated “GO HOME”. I of course didn’t listen again.

So I sit around waiting. Finally someone else leaves a metered parking lot after 45 minutes so I take their spot. Throw my one(1) quarter into the meter which gives me about an hour and head inside. I ask the front desk to let me know when the jerks are gone. I finally get to my desk, and the emails are pouring in. It seems that Network Solutions is offline… Their webpage is unreachable. They host our DNS so none of our domains appear to be working at all outside the building. This includes email. This was a sign, that clearly stated “GO HOME”. Maybe I should listen this time…


Google the SiriusXM Killer?

Today in my inbox is an email from Google about the new Play music Service apparently called “Google Play Music All Access”. While this is a pretty horrible name for a service.. if you sign up before June 30th your monthly fee will only be $7.99. The price will be going up to $9.99/month after 6/30.

Google Play Music All Access screen capture

At first glance this isn’t a very impressive price point. Honestly to me its not a very attractive price point at all. I just turned down an offer from SiriusXM for $97.xx/year [for the next year] which works out to be about $8.16/month… But this got me to thinking. This appears to be a mashup of iTunes (recommendations), Google Drive (20,000 song storage), and (listen to and make your own radio stations), and the best part is No Ads!. It mobile (anywhere that you have wifi or 3G/4G/etc.) You do not have to buy another device or have another “service” enabled device. If they actually have the app buffer dynamically based on data speeds, why would anyone want Satellite radio anymore?

I‘m more than sure that my boss would argue something like “to listen to Howard Stern”, and that is a valid point. There will indeed be some content that is still only available on SiriusXM channelss. So what do you listen to your “radio” for? What content can you not live with out? What price point would make this attractive to you? With already less then half the price of a standard SirisXM account [more if you pay the extra $3.50/mo for the streaming feature] why not save the $10/month?

Dear Blizzard / Activision

Dear Blizzard and Activision,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for giving me Diablo III for free with my promise to not shut off my WOW account.

I do have a serious question though. Why do you insist on a game like this requiring a connection to the servers? Diablo I and II were great games. This is a pretty great game. Really If I wanted another MMO I would turn my swtor account back on.

I think that its fantastic if you want to make some features unavailable if you do not have an internet connection, but I want my game to work where ever I am regardless of the quality of my internet connection, or the status of your servers.


Recycling: Businesses

Today I went outside here at work, and the bar next door has about six large trash bags tucked behind their dumpster, and I got to thinking. NH seems to be a little behind the times on recycling laws. How many resources are dumped into land fills that we could easily recycle? Things like cans, bottles, papers. What businesses are the largest producers of this type of waste? Bars and restaurants. How could we incentivize (is that a word?) these companies to recycle?

So that lead me to think that perhaps we should make recycling of most (say 75%) of such waste mandatory. We already do state health inspections of facilities. How hard would it be to have them check to make sure that most of a businesses waste in these areas is put into a separate bin for recycling? Seems pretty trivial to me. Alternatively the towns and/or state could provide pick up services (like they to do residential) and it could be tracked that way. I understand that businesses would need to pay for the receptacles, and the service, but that could then be tied into a tax break for them. (ie Cost of doing business.) Or an additional reward of an additional tax break.

Just some random thoughts…

wetware incoming

There is an article over on Slashdot that caught my attention today, about robots being controlled by the human brain. Cybernetics have always intrigued me from Gibson to Cyberpunk 2013 (1988) to War Games (1983) to “ghost in the machine” to the well known Matrix Trilogy. All of these have pieces or parts of what I visualize our future to encompass and the scary realities that implies.

Do you want to know more?

SOURCE: Slashdot: Hardware: Robot Controlled By Human Brain Cells

DDO Trial Observations

So the other night while patching mods for WOW via Curse Client (Which I still hate since it stopped being free) I noticed the little beholder for Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO). Naturally an online version of D&D should have appealed to me before now. And I did think about checking it out when it first came out. Wowpreservation won out though I guess. Well its hard to ignore large yellow words saying “Unlimited Free Play”. So Drow, Matronsinafay and I all downloaded it. The next morning we started playing it together. At some point I told Quazar that we were checking it out and she downloaded/installed it and started playing with us.

Use a mouse for this game! 🙂 (She tried to use a touch pad, and hated it)

Forget what you know (or even what you think you know) about D&D 4. This game has little to do with it.

  • The level structure is completely different. If you have 10,000 Exp in D&D4 you are solidly 7th level. In DDO you are solidly Level 2 / Rank 7 (I think). In this MMO you not only level about 5x slower, but your Action Points are used to customize your character (much like AA point in EQ, or Talent Points in WOW)

    XP/Rank Chart:

  • Diablo? The whole thing sorta reminds me of EQ2/NWN/NWN2 graphicly, but the interface screams Diablo Click Fest at me. Yes there is an auto attack, and maybe I haven’t quite gotten used to the interface but it seems like click fest is the way to go.
  • A lot of your abilities are on very short cool downs (CDs), or are passive. (I prefer the passive ones.) Really +2 AC for 10/20s seems really retarded to me, but not as much as the +1 hit for 10/20s. I tried to stick with things that gave me quantifiable gains. (Weapon Focus: Slashing)

Fathers Day

Happy Belated Fathers Day to all you fathers out there. Tonight we went to dinner at my mother’s house to celebrate a holiday that isn’t. My daughter, step-father, Sister and her boyfriend were there.

My wonderful daughter got me these neat dangle earrings, and a cute little green dragon that I’ve place on my monitor. Yay! Thank you!

On a less serious note my tea bag had a message for me that you all need to know about…. “Revolutions make the king a nervous Rex”