Yesterday in Manheim, PA, at a business located between two projects we’re building, an Operations Manager responded to an early morning robbery attempt by pulling his pistol from his pocket and shooting the would be robber in the chest. The two guys ran out of the building with the wounded man saying, “Help me. He shot me.” His partner in crime kept on running and the wounded man collapsed and died shortly thereafter. More details here.
The incident made me think about working as a foreman for a excavator in 1983, building a thoroughbred horse training track. We were at the end of a nasty recession and glad to have work. Earlier that year I had a crew of 6 guys, of which 5 were on probation or parole. At the horse training track, though, we had about 10 workers because we needed lots of labor for erosion control work. I remember two guys that were both Vietnam vets and appeared to be dealing with some serious post traumatic stress issues.
The one fellow was operating a roller with lots of other operators working nearby. Then I hear a gunshot. Turns out he saw a ground hog and decided to shoot it. Somebody asked him why he was carrying a pistol and he said, “I hitchhike to work every day and the other day some punk served over and made me jump into a ditch. Next time I see him it’s going to be different.”
I also remember we had to seed a 25 acre infield for this horse track. Since we had lots of people to keep busy, we bought a bunch of hand seed spreaders. The guys would walk around the infield, turning the crank on the seeder and the grass seed would broadcast out about 6 feet. As I drove up over the hill to the site one day, I saw all eight guys standing in a little circle in the middle of the field with a single line of smoke rising from the group. They were all standing their in the middle of the field getting high and when they saw me they each headed out in a different direction with hand cranks turning and seed flying everywhere.
As a young Construction Supervisor I handed both the shooting and the toking by pretending I didn’t really notice. Good strategy, huh?