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Friday, January 9, 2009

I'd Rather Be Out On The Lanai.

I've spent many evenings lately making soap while episodes of Frasier give way to three consecutive episodes of The Golden Girls on the Lifetime channel.  Something about that show fills me with nostalgia of a seemingly simpler time when my mom had all the answers and could solve all of my problems.  Tonight this feeling is especially welcomed.  Yesterday I found out that one of my peers and someone who I really liked was shot and killed during a robbery at the bar he worked at.  He used to work in the bar next door to the bar in which I work.  Four robbers armed with guns threw a brick through the glass of the front door, gaining entry; led John and a co-worker to the back office where they complied with the robbers and gave them the money.  They made them lie face down on the ground and shot John twice in the head and twice in each leg.  The break-in occurred at 4:15 a.m. as they were closing up from a night at work and John later died at Grady Hospital at 7 a.m.  He was only 27.

I've been crying and talking and crying and talking about this for the last 36 hours, so as one might imagine, I'm pretty exhausted, confused, scared, angry, you name it..   I just can't think with a clear head enough to really write more about this.  So, I'd like to provide a link to the John Henderson Memorial Fund which goes towards John's family for funeral expenses and to help take care of his 3 year old daughter left behind.

Not only am I deeply rattled by this, the rest of the bar/restaurant community is truly shaken by this as well as an entire community.  This is one of many in a wave of violent crime that seems to be growing not only in the city of Atlanta, but in other metropolitan areas across the country.  At a time when financial times are unrelenting, people are becoming desperate, police cutbacks are plentiful; it is up to communities to come together and demand to make public safety a priority.  Any Atlanta resident that wants to stay abreast of community action in which they can take part can join the ATACC.

One comment on the AJC article online made a good point:


By heartbroken and outraged
Jan 7, 2009 3:02 PM | Link to this

the issue that is being overlooked here is the blatent disregard for employees' security and safety by owner Chris Johnson.

this establishment has been broken into SIX times in two years, and an employee was held up and SHOT AT in the parking lot TWO WEEKS ago. even with all of these prior warning signs and close calls, Mr. Johnson still neglected to hire security for those closing (much like Six Feet Under, a block away, currently and has long employed), install security cameras (really???), or even an alarm system, apparently.

Shame on you, Mr. Johnson. I hope this tragedy at least serves as a wake up call to any other business owners who think they can save a few bucks by neglecting to install proper security measures at their establishments at the risk of their employees' well-being.

I was a very close friend of Johns, and he didn't deserve to die like this. He was a smart, kind, generous, and fun-loving guy, and he won't be forgotten. RIP, Johnny boy. You will be dearly missed.

Owning a bar is a responsibility.  I think we all take for granted that the chances are slim that something like this might happen, but there's not an employee in the industry that hasn't been  creeped out by someone at a vulnerable time of night.  Out of sight, out of mind I suppose.  If you owned a bar and almost never set foot in the place during the most vulnerable times, of course you wouldn't see value in spending that money.  Over the years, the topic of paying off-duty police as a security measure has been brought up but never realized.  The climate today is different and there is no question now that action must be taken, not only by bar and restaurant owners, but by community members, employees, civic associations, etc.  It seems backward that business owners wouldn't think of going without property insurance, but you'd be hard pressed to find a bar or restaurant where there's an ongoing financial investment aimed at the security of its employees.  Some food for thought.

2 comments:

Chauna said...

I am sorry to hear about your friend. That is just awful. Hugs and prayers for you and his family.

Chauna

Joanna said...

what an awful story. I am sorry for him, for the people he left behind and for the creepy thought of having to go back to work as a bartender and feeling scared every day. Desperation never should get to killing innocent people. Ever.