Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Looking Up To Reuters

From the apparently versatile folks over there at Reuters in New York, we have an article that is headlined with "Reuters evacuates NY newsroom in powder scare". Wait. Then who's writing that article?

Apparently, an envelope was opened by a one Brian Rhoads, the managing editor for the Americas (I'm assuming that's referring to the publication and not the geographical masses) and a "puff of powder" came out of it. Now, that's different that a "powder puff", which would be really strange, but likely not cause for evacuation.

So they evacuated the 140 staff members on the entire 19th floor and three hours later, after a thorough investigation consisting of who knows what, it was declared safe to return to work! No word on what the powder was, how they knew it was safe, why it only took three hours, and how this cop and his pen fit into the investigation.

It would seem that earlier this month, several other letters, "...many containing a suspicious white powder, were sent to Chase bank offices and two other financial institutions in several states and to the New York Times headquarters in New York." Isn't ANY white powder that comes flying out of your mail going to be "suspicious"? At least until you find out what it is? And even if it isn't anthrax, which US authorities claim to have been "on alert for since 2001", any substance that comes flying out of my mail is going to be deemed "suspicious" by me. I don't care if it's powdered sugar, Columbian cocaine, that stuff that Pixie Stix are made of, all of it is quite odd if it's flying out of my mail!

According to a one Paul Browne, the spokesman for the NYPD, "no link had been established between the alert at The New York Times and the letters sent to financial institutions, and there was no immediate indication the latest incident was related either." Now, is that supposed to be good news or bad news? It kind of comes across as good news, but if you think about it, it's really not so good. Look, if I'm going to have some nutjob out there mailing stuff containing talcum powder or baking soda, I'd prefer it if it were only ONE nutjob, thank you. I don't want a whole slew of nutjobs out there doing this sort of thing.

I think I would have rather had the guy say, "For the past three hours, we have thoroughly investigated the latest powder in the mail incident. Right now, it's time for lunch and we're a little hungry for all of the investigating. So you'll be happy to know that it's from the same nutjob whose probably hiding out in his parent's basement in the middle of Kansas somewhere and there's nothing to worry about because it's just that one guy. Thank you and have a nice day." It sure sounds a lot better than, "I dunno. Maybe. Maybe not. Look, just get back to work. What do you want from us?"

But here's my question: So, they evacuate everyone from the 19th floor and they all (presumedly) go outside to stand around and wait. Below are some pictures that were taken when they were all whisked outside. Did they make them all lie on the ground? Are the photographers at Reuters only one and a half feet tall? Why are all of the photos taken as if the person taking them was lying with their head on the curb? Is that typical procedure during a suspicious-white-powder-in-the-mail-evacuation? I don't know. Granted, it could be the all-Reuters-photographers-are-one-and-a-half-feet-tall thing, but I'm pretty sure I would have read about a requirement like that somewhere. Regardless, it's still odd.

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