The Wal-Mart Baseball Bat Incident

            When you work in any profession there is always the chance that you can run into some type of dangerous situation, whether it is an accident which could cause injury and sometimes even death or there is a possibility that you could have a run-in with a dangerous and mentally unstable person who is looking for someone to take his anger out on. Normally this applies to high-risk occupations like police work, construction and so on. And as I learned one night in 2007, retail is no exception.
            It was a cold February night in 2007 while I was still working on the overnight shift at the Wal-Mart in Herkimer, New York. That night I went into work thinking that it was going to be another normal night of stocking freight to the sales floor so that customers could buy them. At that time I was assigned to the Electronics department even though as an overnight stocker I was expected to go wherever they needed me to stock. And on overnights, you usually have a more colorful group of characters that come into the store. There are the kind that are usually drunk and on their way home from the bar. You also got college students coming in and occasionally cause trouble with shoplifting and running around the store as though they are still in kindergarten. There was even one time around Halloween in 2005 where a local bar had a “hoe and pimp” costume contest and when that got out you had a group of young women coming into the store dressed only in lingerie.
            However, for the purpose of this story I am going to focus on that one particular incident that happened that night in February 2007.
            Also at that time, I had been blogging for about a year and was in the process of writing a book about the Chester Gillette case at the Herkimer County Historical Society, both of which I had been heavily involved in. I was also starting to use the computers up at the college to go on Myspace back when Myspace was a thing. In fact, I was planning to go back to the Historical Society to work on my book the week after Valentine’s Day and also after my twenty-ninth birthday. Unfortunately, those plans would be unceremoniously thwarted for the worst possible reason.
When I first got up that night, I was feeling a little nauseous and I was debating whether or not to call in that night. Eventually the nausea went away and I ended up going into work. Maybe if I really was sick and called in, I would not be writing this story right now.
The first half of that night was going okay and it was around two in the morning which was when I normally went to lunch. While I was going towards the shoe department, I realized that maintenance was waxing over by those doors that night so I had to go back and go through the doors over by Electronics. I was not really paying attention as I was passing the Photo Lab because all I was thinking about was going to lunch.
And that was when I was hit in the back by a guy with a metal baseball bat that he took out of Sporting Goods. I did not even have enough time to react but then he kept swinging and backed me right into the Photo Lab. I put my right hand up to block and then he swung again, hitting my right hand. I screamed at him and he stood there for a second with a crazed look in his eye. Then he threw the bat and ran.
 The attack was completely unprovoked and I have had no dealings with the person before that. Other associates who were on overnights doing mod changes witnessed my attack and chased him out into the parking lot. During the chase, one of the associates called the police and once he got on the other side of the fence the Herkimer Police Department got there in time and he was arrested very quickly.
            Then the cops came into the store to get a statement from me and then they took me in the back where the police cars pulled up so I could identify the guy. Then the cops took photos of my injuries and the scene of the attack. After that I ended up going to the hospital where I was x-rayed. The doctors thought I had a little crack on my right ring finger but otherwise I had no broken bones or fractures. My luck as far as never having any broken bones was still holding. Still I ended up wearing a splint for a week and I had to put an ice pack on my back for a couple of days.
            Even though I went home from work after I returned from the hospital with a side trip to the police station to drop off my doctor’s report, the doctors said that I didn’t have to miss any work. I also had to take a drug test which is mandatory for Walmart associates who have been injured on the job. Then I had to get forms from Bassett Health Care in Herkimer. And in all that time I was still debating about whether or not to tell my family. They found out eventually and they weren’t mad that I didn’t tell them right away because it was obvious why. I did not want to worry them.
            And so I spent the last couple of weeks on light duty at work which was basically doing break packs, returns and zoning various departments. It was pretty annoying not to be able to do my full job, at least partially.
Then I went back to Bassett where I was examined. I was able to get my splint off and was x-rayed again. The doctor said that I had to remain on light duty at work for at least another two weeks. Or so I thought. I had to get a doctor’s note before I could return to full duty which took about a month to get.
            As a result of my ordeal, I could not blog on my site for at least a week because my right hand was still hurting and I was worried that using a computer would aggravate it more. I also had to take more time off of my book at the Historical Society which set me back a lot. Thankfully, it was only for about a week. After I got the splint off, I blogged about my ordeal. But other than that I had to take it easy for a bit.
            During my recovery process, I did feel like I was suffering from a temporary moment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder where I kind of burst out in rage which I thought was natural considering that something like this has never happened to me before or since then. Sure, I have dealt with bullies in school when I was a kid, but nothing that would lead someone to nearly kill me with a weapon. He probably would have had he aimed at my head and there was also the fact that there were other associates around that saw him attack me.
            And then a strange thing happened. To this day, I am not sure if it was the shock I still felt or whether it was the ibuprofen talking, but I had visions of a young woman holding my hand and telling that everything would be all right. Call me crazy, but I swear to god that this is the truth.
            In the weeks that followed and I slowly recovered, I went to tell my story to the Grand Jury so that the District Attorney could build his case against my attacker. In the meantime, he was held in the County Jail which incidentally was right down the street from my house and he was not let out on bail. When he was first caught, he had no sense of reality and had no idea why he was being arrested. Other associates who have seen him described him as a manic-depressive person who has had problems with the store before. While he was in jail, my attacker had been undergoing psychiatric evaluation to see if he would be fit to stand trial. That was another thing I had to worry about: Would I have to go to court and testify again if the case went to trial? I was hoping to put this behind me as quickly as possible.
            And yet I still managed to do some things that helped me take my mind off the ordeal. For starters, about a couple weeks after the incident, I went to Hamilton College with a person I worked with to attend the ceremony where Chester Gillette’s prison diary was donated to the library’s collection of Gillette memorabilia for which I got my picture in the Observer-Dispatch again. I also went on the Heart Run in Utica with my mother as well. And I received my first laptop computer from a contact I made in Houston, Texas as a result of the Gillette blog. Now with that computer, I was able to continue working on my book and at the same time I launched what is now my main website. It seemed that slowly but surely that my life was starting to return to normal.
            And throughout the remainder of the year, I got updates from the District Attorney’s Office on the status of the case and on the defendant. I basically wanted the defendant to get whatever sentence the court deemed fit to give him. I did not sue him because he looked like the type of guy who did not have anything to go after. Eventually, the case ended up not going to trial and he ended up getting sentenced to five years’ probation. And I never saw the guy again after his arrest. Finally, the ordeal was over.
            As far as what happened, I have long since gotten over the incident and I do not have any long-lasting lingering effects such as pain in my right hand or any bad memories of that night. Looking back on what happened that night, I could not fight back because I was on the clock and there has been some controversy about losing your job if you act in self-defense. However, if this happened on the street, I would have had more options and I would have been able to fight back. But all in all, I acted accordingly in that case.
Hopefully I will not find myself in that situation again but then again, retail can be just as dangerous as police work especially in terms of the people you deal with. There will always be crazies out there that are looking to do an innocent person trying to do his or her job harm. I was very fortunate to be alive that night but there have been others that have not been so lucky. The world is a pretty dangerous place which is why people have to be vigilant because this is just one of many things that could happen to anybody if you are not careful.

Basic Photography Projects

And I figure for today I am going to do another photo blog this time showcasing my projects from my Basic Photography class where I used cameras that produced black and white pictures. Even though I have these photos on my Facebook photo page as well as on my Behance portfolio that I made last semester for my Communication Arts Portfolio, I figure I’d add them here as well. However if you want to check out that particular section of my portfolio, here is the link:

  • https://www.behance.net/gallery/15697777/Basic-Photography-Portfolio
  • So anyway, here you go and enjoy. Hard to believe that my last year at Herkimer College is about to begin next week. 🙂

    A controlled blur shot of a seagull flying on campus.

    A controlled blur shot of a seagull flying on campus.

    An action composition shot of a creek over by the Herkimer High School.

    An action composition shot of a creek over by the Herkimer High School.

    A shadow composition shot of a fence I shot in town.

    A shadow composition shot of a fence I shot in town.

    A night shot that I took at work.

    A night shot that I took at work.

    A shot of the old Herkimer County Courthouse.

    A shot of the old Herkimer County Courthouse.

    A portrait shot.

    A portrait shot.

    And All The Leaves Must Fall

    Some of the fall scenery that Central New York is famous for.

    Here we are. I am now heading into week 2 of my vacation from work. And so far things have been uneventful, except for the fact that the weather over the weekend has been really beautiful. So beautiful that I finally managed to go outside and see some of the beautiful fall scenery that Central New York is famous for. I even managed to film some footage for the new episode of The Adventures of Blackcatloner this week on blip.tv.

    Sunday afternoon (which was known as 10/10/10), I managed to hike on a trail alongside the Erie Canal on the Mohawk side of the canal. The trail actually starts at the old Fort Herkimer Church and goes all the way to the Movac Ambulance Dispatch Center in Mohawk near the canal bridge. I saw people attempting to draw hearts on the gravel portion of the trail and I saw a canal tour boat go by. One of the things I wanted to do ever since I started doing YouTube videos was to go on a boat ride on the Erie Canal to film a video. However just like the previous years, things fell through and I ended up not going. Hopefully next summer, I will be able to follow through on that.

    Getting a Clue or The Butler Did It

    I know that I have been posting more than usual lately. Maybe it’s a sign of guilt over how I’ve been neglecting this blog in favor of my other online activities, including YouTube and Twitter. Those apps on Facebook and Myspace didn’t really help too much either, or maybe it is because I’ve overcome my very long case of blogger’s block and decided to take up the blog again. It is like what I said before, it’s time to get back to my roots.

    Anyway, last night I went out to the latest play by the Ilion Little Theater Club, which is a musical based on one of the most popular board games of all time: “Clue.” In this case, the play was a musical and it has been very popular with Mohawk Valley residents. In fact the first three shows last week were sold out and they had added an extra show because of the enormous popularity. It was also an interactive game in which the audience could take part, as though they were actually playing the board game. And I actually do have a confession to make: I have never played Clue the board game before, even though I have seen the movie they did back in the 80’s. The only time I play board games is Monopoly and that’s only when it is at McDonald’s.

    Anyway, back to Clue. The theater also distributed sheets in which the audience could guess who the murderer is, where the murder took place,and what weapon was used based on a series of clues provided by Mr. Boddy, the victim. The night I went, it was revealed that it was Colonel Mustard who killed Mr. Boddy in the lounge with the lead pipe. However, that is not the actual ending of the play. Remember it is an interactive stage production so the suspects could change with each performance. I played along and I ended up getting the room where the murder was committed. 

    Okay, so I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but at least one out of three ain’t bad. 

    So anyway, like the week before, it was a packed house so I was lucky to get in when I did. The show was a lot of fun and I recommend to anyone in the Mohawk Valley area to go see this play. It is running again tonight and the extra show is Sunday afternoon in which two bucks will be taken off your admission if you bring a non-perishable food item which will go to a local food pantry. Just in time for Thanksgiving because after all, charity’s always nice.

    And so I end this latest installment. So now I got some more things to worry about this week, like Thanksgiving and of course Black Friday (as in how I am going to get footage of Black Friday at work out and then put it on YouTube). Plus I got an extra day of work too.

    Food For Thought

    It’s been a relatively slow month from this end, not counting when moving this blog over from Blogger. It’s still amazing that 2010 is inching even closer. It’s almost like where did the year go? Now the weather is getting colder out and we’re getting closer to Christmas as recent events at work have demonstrated. Next week is of course the time of year known as Black Friday, every retailer’s nightmare. At work, they have a different plan in place partly due to the incident in Long Island last year in which that big Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by all the rabid customers who converge on the stores to get the best deals.

    This year’s Black Friday is different for me because I work an extra day this year. This is going to be the first Friday after Black Friday in which I do have to work since my friend got fired from there four years ago. Usually the day after Black Friday, they have pizza for us. I’m not sure if they still do that. After all, it’s been four years since I worked the day after Black Friday.

    Now I have also been thinking about possibly going to college. Upon graduating from high school, I never expected to take this route, but maybe I should consider it, primarily because I need to get a better career. I am thinking about taking courses on broadcasting and maybe pick up some tips on how to improve the quality of my YouTube videos, especially if I want to make that a career like many of the big names that I am well acquainted with.

    Anyway, just figured I’d try to work through my blogger’s block and get this post out and let everyone know what’s up so that way I am not letting this site go to waste.