Age restriction 18+ Way back in the day, when I lived in the redneck burgh of Jacksonville, Florida, there was an agency which hired day-laborers to supply the city's many construction companies. These building sites were always short of reliable help, and basically, they just needed a few extra bodies to shovel the shit.
Such "immediate employment" offices were scattered here and there throughout Yahooville (I don’t mean the internet, I mean the dumbasses who lived there), and they opened their doors at 5.30 A.M.to sign on whoever showed up.The workforce always consisted of no-hope crackers (poor whites) and thuggish 'blackers' (my way of avoiding the so-called “N-word”), some of them still beaming from a night on the rock cocaine.
Needless to say, the pay was low and work expectations not high at all, but it seemed to serve a function. As the age-old adage goes, "We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us." That credo was certainly in force in the slummy sides of J-ville. Around the city, this employment agency was known as "Rent a Bum".
I should know. I worked there myself a few times.
Which brings me round-about to the horrible tragedy in Kemerovo that happened last Sunday. I have talked to many Russian people about this even from my distant vantage point here in Bulgaria. Also, I have a special friend in Kemerovo and have listened to her more-or-less eyewitness account on Skype.
But in the end, as always seems to happen when something awful goes down in this, 'The Information Age', nobody seems to have a clue as to what actually happened. In Russia, it is normal for public ignorance of the facts to be accompanied by a shrugging of the shoulders. Just another day. Sure, Kemerovo eventually got everyone’s attention, but by the middle of next week, most of the country will have forgotten all about it.
This, by the way, is one of the fundamental differences between how the American and Russian media and government authorities handle such disasters. The American media thrive on it. Just let somebody go into a school and shoot 100 people, and the American media are ecstatic. Of course, they pretend otherwise: the TV screens show their ersatz shock and dismay, but you just KNOW that they will milk the story for a month from all angles because that is their livelihood. All journalists in the West love catastrophe; it is their bread and butter, and please do not be deceived by all the crocodile tears that flow in the wake of it... Then, while the candle-light vigils are still going on (one day a gunman will catch onto the idea that such a tight gathering would be the ideal situation to enact a slaughter), the politicians get into the act and gobble up a lot of free publicity with their sanctimonious bullshit. What a circus. And it goes on and on until some new war or earthquake pushes it to the back pages.
In Russia it's the opposite. The government (which controls the Russian media) will do everything humanly possible to squelch the story and just bury it along with the dead. If the internet and other modern forms of communication did not exist, most Russian people probably would not even know that there was a lethal fire last Sunday in Kemerovo. Nor would they care very much, because, unfortunately, that seems to be Russian mentality also.
So, not knowing why disaster descended on that mall, I have nothing to add. I am not a conspiracy buff.
But I WILL ask the question: WHY was the security so terrible at the moment when it was needed the most? Why were all the doors locked, the fire alarm disconnected, and almost all escape routes blocked???
And this brings me back to the idea of 'Rent-a-Bum'. I guess I can only speak about Moscow, but I would say, based on my life and experiences there, that Russia is a country of a million 'охранники' (in other words, 'security guards'). For years I came face-to-face with these mostly stone-faced, blank-eyed robots wherever I went. To be fair, more than a few of them are actually nice guys if you get to know them. And you will, eventually, if they work at the same location long enough. The problem is that they seem to be part of an endless revolving door, and there are some companies where you never see the same guys twice. (Maybe that is also part of the idea of security -- don't let these fellows settle in and maybe case the joint and plan a robbery?). When it is a revolving door, you must tell the same story and show the same documents day after day, year after year. (After one particularly trying experience dealing with the frontal lobotomy sitting before me, I asked myself, "Could there possibly be a God who loves all these people?" I decided, no, there couldn't.)
Mostly they just sit there. or stand there. Hour after hour after hour after hour. I assume that the majority of people who glance at my blog do so because they like to read, which I would take to mean that they are educated, etc. So I ask you: how would YOU like a job which required you to stand and stare out into space for 12 hours? How would YOU pass the time-- and for a sexy 20,000K per month? (In other words, peanuts.)
I guess these guys save up and buy a smartphone and play games the whole time. And maybe it is reassuring to the public to walk into a company and see them at their posts, hovering around, even if their eyes are as lifeless as those of dead fish in the rinok. We are thus safe from terrorists?
Over the years I have noticed many things about Russians, and one of them is that they love nothing more than a locked door. In the companies I used to frequent in Moscow, there was often security that went so far above and beyond the call of duty that it reached the point of absurdity. One company in Южная used to keep every spare room in the building locked at all times. Our class would be due to start at 19.00 and the door to the conference room would be locked. The key would need to be fetched from the security office, but sometimes there was no one there, or, if there was, often the key had just disappeared. So we would need to adjourn to a different floor, by which point 30 minutes of class time had elapsed. And when we finally got there, other students had by then, arriving late --another Russian specialty -- encountered a locked door with nobody in front of it and assumed that the class must have been canceled. I must add that the HR was never any help in these circumstances, having invariably gone home.
The clincher was this: There was NOTHING in these rooms except a table and chairs. WHY did they need to be locked?? Did they think someone was going to file the wallpaper off the walls and steal IT? But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... the doors HAD to be locked at all times. And it was the same policy at a lot of companies I could mention.
It SEEMS that the tragedy in Kemerovo occurred in part because (1) children were effectively LOCKED in the cinema by adults, including teachers from the regions who wanted the free time to go shopping without having to be responsible for monitoring the kids; (2) the fire alarm had been switched off; and (3) almost all of the emergency safety exits were locked and blocked (this supposedly to prevent 'terrorists' from sneaking in through them). Question: why HAVE the fucking emergency exits in the first place if they are not going to be kept free and open so people can use them to escape during a holocaust?? HUH ???
The likely fact is that these Neanderthal security guards switched the fire alarm off and locked the doors ON PURPOSE to keep from having to do their jobs. The didn’t expect a fire in the mall anymore than the villagers in 1941 expected Nazis. Moreover, I have it on very good authority that most of such buildings in regional Russia especially are extremely hazardous because bribes are regularly paid to health inspectors in order to get signed off on the safety requirements. A lot of these buildings are nothing more than accidents waiting to happen, and NOBODY CARES.
This is a BIG problem in Russia. NOBODY CARES.
And, then -- when tragedy strikes -- the preferred method is to cover it all up as quickly as possible and turn away with a shrug of the shoulders.
The sad fact is that in Russia top security exists where there is no need for it, especially when it comes to censorship of ideas and free expression while, on the other hand, it is virtually non-existent in out-of-the-way places such as Kemerovo where the only people who care if someone lives or dies are the family members of the victims themselves, and certainly NOT the people responsible for providing genuine security and help, and who, as far as I am concerned, deserve to be hanged for their negligence.
Yes, HANG these excremental bastards if that what it would take to get people’s attention.
It was certainly a step in the right direction when the citizens of Kemerovo assembled on Thursday to protest and demand straight answers from the local government. But what will come of it? We have seen demonstrations before, especially all over Moscow. But the forces of the so-called ‘Opposition’ are frail and ineffectual indeed, and it is imagined that the same will hold true in Kemerevo -- where one might well imagine the local authorities to resemble the clodhopping clowns and blockheads in a Nikolai Gogol tale. In other words, when they are not stupid they are merely dishonest, and when they are not being dishonest (but are they ever?) they are merely stupid.
A deeper, sadder truth is this: it will NEVER get better until the mentality of Russian Authorities -- and no small number of its citizens -- experience a sea change in outlook and join the 21st century. How things got to such a point is probably for scholars of Russian history to argue about. In the meantime, how many generations have to come and go before the lights come on?
===Eric Richard Leroy===
Мнение автора может не совпадать с мнением автора блога