>Alarming Alarm System

>What really happened to this security van in England reminds me of the car alarm sketch by Radio Free Vestibule. I know that’s not the complete sketch, but you get the idea. If it had continued, the car would have turned into a robot intent on demolishing the earth, and just then, before the earth was destroyed, the car’s owner remembered the code to turn off the alarm.

What happened in England sounds like it would have been hilarious to watch. I guess the van suffered some kind of an electrical failure, which triggered its anti-robbery system. “This car is under attack,” the van barked. “Please call the police!” All the doors were locked, including an escape hatch.

When police came to investigate, they found no attack, but a driver trapped inside. So, one of them found a way into the hatch, but shut it again. Clunk! It locked behind him, locking him in. Another officer somehow got in the front to check on the driver, but again, clunk, the car locked her in. After several minutes and several people getting locked inside, they finally contacted the company, which could deactivate the alarm so everyone could get out.

So, let me get this straight. If the van was *really* under attack, it’s a good idea to lock the violent attackers in *with* the driver? If I were the driver, I’d feel safer already. By the time the cops got there, you could be in pretty bad shape, especially if you were outnumbered. And if several people could enter the car from several entrances after the system was activated, it’s not like the driver could lock himself in, protecting himself from robbers. They could just get in with him, and they could be all imprisoned together. Happy, happy times!

Man, alarms are freaky things, even if you mean no harm. I remember when I volunteered at a crisis line. We had an alarm that was turned on at night for the people working the overnight shift. I never came in at the morning shift change just because I didn’t relish getting up that early to take calls like that. Plus, I didn’t feel comfortable walking or being driven there by cab at that early hour. So, I didn’t routinely have to deal with deactivating the alarm. I’d been shown how, but it was a distant, distant memory.

One day, I came in for the mid-day shift. I opened the dor, and…beep beep beep beep, beebeebeebeebeep, bebebebebeep! Madly, frantically, I started searching for the panel on the wall. Where is it where is it where is it? Found it! Lift it, lift it! Lift it! Fingernail in latch…where! Got it! Beep, beep, beep, screeeeam went the alarm. With shaking fingers, I entered the code, praying my fingers would nnot slip and I’d enter the wrong code. Then what would happen. How fast would armed men be here wrestling me to the ground? Would they believe me? Then, miraculously, all the beeping stopped, at which point the working volunteer appeared from around the corner.

My adrenalyn was pumping so hard that I spoke before thinking. “What moron didn’t deactivate the alarm?” I said. Then I found out she had done a double shift, and felt a little sheepish. She did end up laughing at me, and my heart finally settled back into my chest.

Hopefully, for the sake of the drivers of these vans, they have no more electrical failures.

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