Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Business continuity, my butt

Posted by Lissa on October 23, 2008

So, we had one of those Business Continuity Planning meetings and it ate up an hour and a half of my morning.  Joy!

For those of you poor, unlucky souls who don’t have BCP obligations, the idea is to take a possible disaster scenario — in this case, a bird flu pandemic — and realize all the ways that your business will be affected.

As a pure business measure, it’s actually pretty interesting.  It makes you aware of the need to cross-train, to have step-by-step procedures available in a shared space so that others can cover for you in a pinch, the functionality of being able to work from home, how to delegate necessary tasks in a time of crisis, etc., etc.  You start with a 25% absenteeism rate at week 1-3, bump it up to 49% in week 3-6, imagine a recovery period from weeks 7-10, and take people out of the game accordingly.

Of course, working in Boston as I do, there was one big honking gap in their disaster scenario.  Can anyone guess what it is?  Anyone?  Bueller?

And, yes, I pointed it out.  At the end of the exercise, when the coordinator asked if there would be any other concerns besides those listed on the slides, I raised my hand.

“I don’t know if this is outside the scope of this exercise,” I said politely, “but if there were actually a pandemic to the extent that you’ve hypothesized — supermarkets are rationing basic goods, there’s a curfew in place, schools have shut down — then we’d be worried about the breakdown of public safety.  I mean, if we have a 49% absenteeism rate at week 6, then the police probably have half their force out too.  Unless the National Guard gets called in — assuming they’re healthy — as a strict point of fact NO ONE is going to be coming to the office, unless they have an armed escort, and since Boston’s a gun-free zone I imagine that’s only the President.”

No, I did not go into my lecture about the stupidity of Boston being a gun-free zone, let alone being a knife-free zone if it’s longer than 2.5 inches (ASININE).  After all, this is Boston and I don’t want to be viewed as a crazy person amongst my colleagues.  But I did go so far as to ask, in the elevator, if anyone had ever lived in the South.  When I found one gentleman who had lived in Texas, we laughed together about how when the slide listed “supermarkets rationing basic goods,” in the South it DEFINITELY would have been followed by “gun stores rationing ammo purchases.” 

By virtue of my Alas, Babylon thoughts I’m already way ahead of most of my colleagues when it comes to disaster planning . . . because I view disasters as a possibility.  You know, something that could happen in real life, as opposed to on the movie screen.  Most of them have yet to get that far.

(P.S. Breda, the bittie pocket knife you carry?  How long is that blade, and it is double-edged?  Double-edged weapons are verboten too.  Stupid.)


7 Responses to “Business continuity, my butt”

  1. Jay G. said


    Have you thought about getting your LTC for pepper spray? It’s not as good as a 9mm, but it beats a stern look and cross language…

    Just a thought…

  2. Lissa said

    Jay G, good idea! Maybe I’ll mosey on down to the police station this weekend. Is this the right procedure?


    (And BTW, as my own personal BCP I’m packing the fiance and kitty up and moving in with my old co-worker, who has a lovely assortment of shotguns, rifles and crossbows.)

  3. Brad K said

    Lissa, rather than worry about how long your knife is, why not take the approach that the Chinese took when the Japanese conquered them and forbade weapons – sticks. And hands. For a modern ‘kung fu’ move there is Shrek, where Princess Fiona takes on the Merry Band in the forest. Well, aside from the Jet Li moves and stop-motion. And anyway, the music *was* annoying.

    There was the Kung Fu TV series, there are countless Kung Fu movies with worse plot stories than a bad porn flick.

    In Europe monks were forbidden to use edged weapons – and were moderately notorious for their quarterstaffs. Which, on a good day, look a lot like a walking stick. Or check out how handy a walking cane was in early Bob Hope skits.

    A long arm makes an admirable distance weapon, as do bow and arrow, and crossbow. Up closer, though, a cane or walking stick of full quarterstaff may well be overlooked, and quite useful if you know how to use one.

    I suppose weapons-free Boston would look askance if you carried a pitchfork around for use as a rural-type spear. The Argentine bolo might not raise eyebrows until you need it for defense, also other types of slings can double as cummerbund or belt or sash, with a lump or three in pocket or purse. I forget what they are called, but I have read of an arm-armour type weapon, with strips of metal mounted along the forearms and about the hand, used as both shield and bludgeon, with practice.

    And don’t forget the power of vomiting as a tactical procedure. Or the penny whistle or recorder. Just drop to the ground in a Lotus position, whip out that 12″ .. soprano recorder, and start wailing away on “Go Tell Aunt Rhody”, “Eternal Father Strong to Save” (the Navy hymn), “Amazing Grace”, Bach’s “All Good Neighbors”, and Smetana’s “Three Revolutionary Marches” If you get that far, set out a hat and enjoy the day. Maybe Donovan’s “Jennifer Juniper” and the Beatles’ “Little Girl”. Remember, you need to keep in practice with any weapon.

  4. secretlivesofscientists said

    You *need* to come to visit me now! White Mike will teach you how to defend yourself against someone with an itty bitty knife. As he likes to say, whatever weapon they attack me with, that’s the weapon I’ll be using against them!
    Other critical skills I’ve learned, since campus is a gun-free zone, is how to kill an attacker with my graphing calculator.

    I also have a tastey new skill: Have someone place you in a choke hold. Make a ‘V’ with your index and middle finger just under 2 inches apart. Now push yourself back and away off of them by smoothly and strongly pushing this ‘V’ into their windpipe, just below the Adam’s Apple (me thinks). Tip: don’t push straight out in a squared off stance. Rotate through your torso so that your action arm extends further into them.

    Try this one out *gently* and let me know how it goes!

  5. Lissa said

    I think, for choke-holds, I’d go with LawDog’s prescription 🙂


  6. secretlivesofscientists said

    I’ve seen that one, too. Col. Cooper would approve of the hit hard, hit fast, with all you have approach. Funny story, boyfriend was trying to show/teach me this in slow mo after learning it in Krav Maga, and ended up elbowing me in the temple. Luckily not hard enough to cause swelling (and his high pitched, “sweetie, are you ok, I’m SOOO sorry” was adorable; you’d think I had retaliated by kicking him in the balls). When I told the ninja-boys about it (White Mike and Mark), they mentioned that one of the cons of this two strikes with the elbows is that you need to be pretty well practiced to hit the sweet spots, and if bad guy turns his head, you might hit him in the side of the head or another place off target. The other con is that an attacker might not be within an elbow strike’s distance from you, especially if you are fixin’ on fighting back. Also, we’re short girls, chica. I had a hard time hitting the 6 footer even when he was keeping still, which was humorous to him. That’s why he taught me the throat strike. This one allows you to strike beyond your arm’s distance and is more effective for a short person to use because you hit at the upward angle. You can do it more forcefully by bending your fingers at the knuckles to make a 90-degree angle and striking the windpipe hard, too. I just find it very amusing that even the lightest pressure with 2 fingers on this spot causes an intense choking sensation. It gives an idea of just how vulnerable that spot is. I’d then kick the attacker in nuts, followed by a hard kick to the center of mass, and then draw down on him and shoot.

  7. Jay G. said


    Go to your local PD and ask them for the form for pepper spray. It’s shall-issue (meaning they can’t deny it unless you’re a felon), and costs $25 (I think). It’s only good for the pepper spray, which means you’ll have to go through the procedure again if you want to own a firearm.

    Personally, I’d jump through the hoops, because nothing says “back the eff off” like a 230 grain .45 ACP jacketed hollowpoint. But that’s me. 🙂

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