Chapter 277

I listened to the rest of the pony show then made my way out, first stop the main entrance. The bodies were gone; chalk marks still marked the spots where the gunmen fell and to add to the mess and a ton of debris from the investigators could be found every where.

The college lockdown had long been lifted, most classes were cancelled those students still left on campus were in various classes, or had gone to their dorm rooms. I met Richard Whitehead from maintenance when I turned to walk away.

“If you will pick up all this debris, I will call the fire company and have them wash down this area for you,” I said.

“I have some barn booms and Tide powder that we can mix in some water; it will get rid of all the blood stains as they wash it off,” he replied. “I will get my people started immediately.”

I went to the security office to make the call. I ended up talking with the chief. He was very sympathetic to my needs. Then I filled in Jenny, Marcy, Ching Lee and Vicky, while Jason and Cindy had been diligently manning the security office for us. Jason’s team had been screening the hundreds of calls that came in, that left me with a pile of notes to go through.

The first order of business after the call for a wash-down was a video-conference call to all security sites and the Island office for an update.

The information from today’s event needed to be passed on to each security site. There were more things that needed to be learned from the data we collected and a process created to make it beneficial.

Marcy, Ching Lee, Cindy and Vicky were the best people at computers we had in-house. To them I directed the following question.

“Can we develop a real time search program that will automatically search the tag scanner data and remove the routine tags? By routine tags I mean those that are supposed to be on campus; students, faculty and administration. Then check those that are left, have they been here before? When and how long did they stay?”

“We used that information today after the fact. Can we turn it and use it real time. Could we have been better prepared and one step ahead of today’s attack,” I asked.

I could tell I had put them all in deep thought. Just how may people came to the grounds daily who were not regulars and why would they be repeat visitors? We found one reason today.

A few moments later Lorrie called to say they were landing.

“Thanks for calling we are leaving for the hospital now,” I replied.

The fire truck arrived for the wash down before we left. I made a mental note to send the volunteer company a donation. It was customary to donate for any non-emergency help they gave. Insurance companies paid when they responded for accidents and fires. Many volunteer ambulance departments had a billing service to do paperwork for them.

There was a billing even if they burned an old barn down for training that the owner donated. Equipment, fuel and turnout gear was expensive. I would have Dan deliver a check in person, then forward the cost to the college account. Marcy had agreements in the contracts to charge for extra services and emergency events.

At the hospital parking area we met the Gibson and Chambers families Lorrie made the introductions. We walked the maze of reporters asking questions without answering them. ‘No comment’ was the phrase of the day.

We gave the families some time alone with their children before we went in. I found an old country doctor writing on patient folders while we were waiting. I asked questions I did not expect to get answers to.

I was surprised that he recognized me from the news conference. He asked how many colleges I supplied security for.

“Soon to be ten and covering over 20 thousand students” I replied.

“What are the conditions of the students?” I asked.

“Four have been released with tetanus shots, a few stitches and band aids. They were the lucky ones,” he replied.

“Shannon Gibson?” I asked.

“The bullets went clean through on both of her legs, they didn’t hit anything important, and lost some blood. She will have matching scars on both sides of both of her legs. We are going to keep her a couple of days. She will get IV antibiotics and blood. She will be OK,” he replied.

“What about Sonny Chambers?” I asked.

“His right femur took a pretty good hit. The bullet took a chunk out of it, luckily it did not shatter. His football season is done for the year, it might be permanent I’m afraid. He is pretty down about it – he needed a football scholarship to be able to stay in college next year, not being able to play in the championship game and possibly the bowl games will hurt that,” he replied. Then added, “He will be here a week then on crutches for four to six weeks after that.”

We went to see Shannon first. Other than a little pain she was in good spirits. She said, “I am glad that the terrorist were such bad shots and your guys were excellent shooters. I just knew they were going to finish me off before security got there. I don’t think I will be doing any dancing at the victory party after the game this year.”

“I don’t think so either. The folks will still be driving you around, most likely,” I said.

Jason and her dad, Glenn, found hunting and fishing as a common link between them. Jason was always looking for new places to hunt and fish, and was captivated by Glenn’s tales of wild hog hunting near their home.

The hogs were big, mean, and smart, and its said, a dozen of them could tear up a field of corn in a night. Glenn was growing his own corn and using it to make whiskey.

Glenn was one of a growing number of independent producers of home grown and bottled whiskey. The laws had been changed in the last few years to allow whiskey and beer to be produced in limited quantities and sold as long as state and federal alcohol taxes were paid and records kept.

I asked Glenn what he did with the leftovers from the brewing process and if he thought that the sweet fumes of the mash were drawing the hogs to his property?

“Well, that could be but not from our operation; the leftover mash – after all the liquid has been removed – we dry and sell it to feed mills to mix with feed stocks for cattle, hogs and chickens. They call it brewer’s grain on the feed ingredient tag.”

“It’s about 25% protein so they mix it with trash grains such as barley and wheat as filler and still end up with the needed protein level to maintain good growth,” he said. “Too much protein gives them the shits.”

“DAD, there are ladies present; its dysentery,” Shannon replied as she did an eye roll.

There was a host of chuckles in the room.

The animal can only process just so much. For fattening, 12% is usually the target – it also depends if they have silage or pasture and use grain feed as a supplement.

“There are a couple of small operations – like bootleggers – who don’t have enough quantity to sell to the mills so they just dump it. They are the real problem and have a problem with the hogs that are following them around. I have even heard tales of hogs destroying their vats and stills. A lot of them have to have armed night watches to keep the hogs away,” he said.

Before the conversation about the hogs ended Jason had finagled a hog hunt for Dad, the Judge and Joey between Christmas and New Years.

I wondered if Jason had figured out that the C130 could carry two jeeps and 4 four wheelers. Damn, that would be an expensive hunt. I better keep that thought to myself. Another thought I planned to take to the grave.

The girls were having a lively conversation with Shannon, her Mom, sister and brother like they were long lost friends. It was almost an hour before we left Shannon’s room. Glenn asked if they could drive the rental car back to Cleveland and turn it into the MAAR site there.

“Sure, not a problem,” Marcy responded.

The mood was different in Sonny’s room, with the injury being more serious. Bob Chambers was worried about the hospital bills; he even wanted to change to a cheaper motel.

“Mr. Chambers, you are not going to have to pay for anything, not even a bottle of aspirin. Keep all the receipts, even for meals; if you eat at the restaurant in the motel have them put it on the room bill and don’t forget to tip 20%. If the college insurance does not pay, our insurance will. I can promise you that,” I said.

“When you get ready to go home we can have you flown or you can drive the rental car and leave it at the MAAR site at the Cherokee Airport,” Marcy added.

Jason read between the lines, “We are going to give you an advance draw to pay for incidentals or whatever you need while you are here. When you leave to go home or drop the car off at Cherokee, put the receipts and what’s left over in an envelope and give it to the manager at MAAR with my card.”

Jason pulled out his money clip. I could not see how many he counted out but they were all $100s. He handed to Bob with his JBG business card. “If your stay is longer and you need more, just call the number on the card.”

We drove from the hospital to the airport and then flew home. It was near midnight before we finally snuggled into bed. There had been long talks on the plane and in the living room. It had been a long day with big emotional and big swings for all of us today. In the end other than Sonny’s lingering question the outcome was a draw.

Sure two terrorist were dead and possibly their controller in custody, but how many more were there at Warrington? Were Sam and Artie safe there or would they be targets for retaliation? Eric was going to get a call in the morning. I wanted to know how big the network was in Warrington.

Edit by Alfmeister

Proof read by Joe H.

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