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April 21, 2007

Much Too Close To Home

After all, Johnson Space Center is 10 minutes from my home -- and that is if I miss all the traffic lights. We spent a tense afternoon/evening here, waiting to see if any of our friends/neighbors were among those involved in this ugly situation.

A NASA contract worker barricaded himself inside a Johnson Space Center building Friday and killed one of two hostages before committing suicide.

William A. Phillips, a 60-year-old engineer, fatally shot co-worker David Beverly in the chest with a snub-nosed revolver at about 1:40 p.m., authorities said.

More than three hours later, with Houston police and JSC security officers inside the three-story Building 44, Phillips shot himself in the head. In the same room, police found a second hostage, Francelia Crenshaw, also a contract worker, bound to a chair with duct tape.

She was taken to Christus St. John Hospital near the center and later released.

It was not clear why Phillips described as a model employee for 13 years by Mike Coats, JSC's director went on the rampage. Police were unable to communicate with him during the standoff.

Now folks will want to know why security didn't stop this, because after all, JSC is supposed to be a secure facility. The reality is that it is -- or at least as secure as a military base, where one needs to have a sticker on the car and an ID to access certain areas of the facility. But short of every searching car and putting metal detectors in every building, there is no stopping someone from bringing a gun to this gun-free installation.

Indeed, as with the Virginia Tech case, the problem comes down to the fact that the gun-free policy worked almost perfectly. Nearly 100% of the employees in Building 44 were gun-free -- which is why the one who was not gun-free had such an easy time of it when he decided to act violently against close acquaintances/co-workers. In that respect, what happened yesterday is no different from what happens from time to time in workplaces and at schools around the country -- except that the location simply has a much more storied history than is usually the case.

And lest you start to wonder what the deal is with NASA (after all, we are not far from another unpleasant incident involving NASA personnel), please consider that your average NASA employee or contractor is, when it comes right down to it, an ordinary human being. I live around them and go to church with a number of them -- including folks who are honest-to-God rocket scientists. They have spouses, kids, hobbies, and everything else that ordinary people have. Some also have problems that lurk beneath the surface, or odd aspects to their lives. let's not forget -- Rusty Yates was (and I believe still is) employed at NASA, some six years after his strange family life came to light following the murder of his children by his wife, Andrea Yates.

Oh, and speaking of murders with a tie to NASA, I've got one more for you. Remember the Clara Harris case -- the one involving the dentists who ran over her cheating husband with an SUV in the parking lot of a hotel? That happened at the Hilton right across the street from Johnson Space Center, under a mile from the site of yesterday's incident -- at the corner of NASA Parkway and Space Center Boulevard.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Stop the ACLU, Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Perri Nelson's Website, The Pet Haven Blog, Shadowscope, Stuck On Stupid, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Pursuing Holiness, Rightlinx, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, , Pirate's Cove, The Right Nation, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, Right Voices, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, 123beta, Maggie's Notebook, Adam's Blog, basil's blog, MONICA, Phastidio.net, The Bullwinkle Blog, Cao's Blog, , Conservative Cat, Jo's Cafe, Conservative Thoughts, Allie Is Wired, stikNstein... has no mercy, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, CORSARI D'ITALIA, The Yankee Sailor, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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NAME: Greg
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