Do you remember practicing for fire drills in school? Teachers would explain what to do in the event of an emergency and lead everyone through a simulation.
Practice came off without a hitch. Everyone rose from their desks quietly at the sound of the anticipated alarm, formed neat lines, and walked quietly to designated safe spots in an orderly manner. No running, no pushing, no shouting.
But it wasn't always like that when an unannounced drill took place. Sometimes mass confusion would break loose with every kid for himself. Instead of sixty seconds to reach safety, it took much longer. Stragglers appeared for the next half hour, and some of the kids seemed to have gone AWOL altogether.
That's how alarms are: alarming. No matter how much you practice for them, they still can catch you off guard, because nobody knows ahead of time when they're going to go off, because nobody knows when a genuine emergency is going to occur.
Bradley McDaniel must have been caught off guard by the security alert that sounded in 2013 when terrorists seized an Algerian gas plant jointly operated under a contract with Algeria’s state oil company, a subsidiary of a Norwegian oil company and BP Amoco Amenas, killing multiple people at the plant.
McDaniel was fortunate enough to be working at a rig seven safe miles distant from the plant when the attack occurred, but he allegedly injured his knee in responding to the alert and apparently felt he deserved to be compensated for the result of his overreaction – while not in any real danger.
We were neither alarmed nor surprised that a Texas appellate court affirmed the dismissal of a BP subsidiary from the lawsuit McDaniel filed in Harris County District Court, since BP Amoco Amenas has neither headquarters, nor offices, nor facilities in Texas.
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