Friday, May 7, 2010
INCOMPETENCE CAN BE A GOOD THING!
All the news about the Times Square failed bombing attempt brings back memories. Evidently the incompetence of the terrorist saved many lives last weekend. Buying the wrong type of fireworks and the wrong mixture of fertilizer turned a would-be disaster into a law enforcement chase that ended with the culprit in the slammer! Hence, memories of my own bomb story. (Why is it I even HAVE a bomb story?)
Years ago, I had come home from running errands, parked the car in the garage and walked back up the driveway to pick up the day's mail. Leaning against the pole that held up the mailbox was a large plastic yellow margarine tub. You know the kind. Very unusual! What in the world could it be? Thinking that a neighbor or lovely friend must have left me a surprise, maybe homemade cookies, I picked it up and popped off the lid. A murky, gooey, sticky, white cloudy substance dripped from the Fleischman lid. I closed it up and set it back on the ground. What a mystery! When our youngest teenage son came home with his good friend in tow I related the story. They checked it out. Quietly, pensively they suggested that they thought it might be a bomb! A BOMB? You've got to be kidding me. Why would they even think such a thing? With no other ideas as to what to do about it, I called 911. Maybe someone could advise me. I told the dispatcher what I had discovered, that I had removed the lid and the nature of it's contents. In a very calm voice she assured me she would send someone around to take a look. In 3 1/2 seconds we heard the sirens as they sped toward our house. The Little Rock, AR fire department arrived with two big red trucks, the police department's cruisers screeched to a halt in the street, an ambulance appeared and a big boxy van with the letters BOMB SQUAD emptied out men in haz-mat suits. The street was blocked off and traffic re-routed. There must have been 50 suited up, very handsome, extremely competent dedicated first responders scurrying about our lawn. The boys and I watched from the foyer window. I remember turning to them almost laughing, "Do you think this might be called overkill?" Their eyes were big as large Mazzio's pizzas. Those very professional dedicated men approached my mailbox as if it were a boa constrictor. Oh, my....I started to take the situation seriously! All noses were pressed to the window watching the strange activity. After what seemed like an eternity the head fireman came to the door. "Lady, you are one lucky gal....you are alive because that chemical bomb failed to detonate. It was designed to explode the minute the lid was removed." IT REALLY WAS A BOMB!! After a while a policeman joined us and asked, "Do you know anyone that would want to harm you?" And to the boys, "Do you know anything about this?" They stared at him with unbelief. We all simply shook our heads "no", unable to speak. My mouth was dry enough to spit a cotton ball! To say we were all stunned is an understatement!
They took the butter tub away in a sealed barrel gingerly lifting it up into the bomb truck. I heard later that they interviewed the mailman to see if he saw anything suspicious that day. He reported that he found the container inside the mailbox, took it out and set it on the ground so he could deliver the mail. So, by my count three people, four if you count the person that put it together, touched that thing before the professionals got to it. In hindsight I realize that it was incompetence that averted disaster that day also.
The experts tell us that eventually evil will discover the correct recipe and the news pictures will reveal a very different reality. But the why of it has me puzzled. The concept of "no regard for life" is foreign to my brain. Life is precious and so fragile. Today I'm thankful that God uses incompetence to preserve it.