Unattended Backpack at Public Gathering…

It’s graduation season for many schools and universities. I was proud to attend my brother’s graduation from a well-respected University earlier this month and so were the rest of my family who were able to attend. With a Bachelor’s in computer science, he’s sure to find plenty of good-paying work in these more difficult times.

During the commencement speech, we sat on folding chairs outside after some light rain. Most of the chairs were wet so we chose some of the few dry open seats all the way at the rear of the event. I didn’t mind because a speech is meant to be heard as much as watched, and in any case, I detest cramped spaces and crowds so this was perfect. Not too many people around us and a quick way out. As a side note, we helped switch out wet chairs for dry ones for a family trying to sit in front of us. That’s good, but there’s only so many dry chairs. A man some ways down the row had his handkerchief with him and used it to dry up some of the seats for another family. That’s what makes it part of every gentleman’s accoutrements.

I brought my own backpack as well as enough of my other gear that my slightly more upscale manner of dress allowed. Not that a button-down overshirt and some black cargo pants is necessarily “upscale”, but hey, I had nice pair of working-class derbies. It did let me look fancier than usual and still carry much of my stuff where it ought to be carried. Being University property, firearms were obviously prohibited. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether I respected that policy.

Shortly after the first speech and well before the procession of graduates, it was my mother who noticed an unattended backpack directly behind us. So, let’s go through the thought process. A month or so after Boston, what looked like a dayhike pack with a couple more cubic feet than my own (which is just a repurposed schoolbag), and nobody nearby except an old lady. We figured there’s no way it belongs to her and we were correct, though we really should have asked regardless . But I’ll elaborate on that soon.

This is the part that pissed both of us off. Security hadn’t distributed themselves to key locations just yet so we went up to one of the nearby staff running the event and informed them of our suspicions. We got a rather dismissive reply to the effect of, “It’s just a backpack.” To be clear, we didn’t ask for his opinion, we asked that security be alerted to the situation. It’s exactly the kind of thing they’d be looking for, I’d imagine. In any case, I was prepared to remove the backpack myself to a less populated area and take a look inside. Not the smartest thing in the world but faster than finding someone else who actually cared.

There is a matter of personal property that I do respect. Like everyone else, I don’t like going through other people’s stuff. But, you just don’t leave a bag unattended like that at a public event. I never do and I expect that if I did, it would arouse the same suspicions and I could understand the reaction (besides the usual thievery). Fortunately, before I had to do so, we did finally remember to have the common sense to ask the lady about it. According to her testimony, it did in fact belong to her husband who had gone to the bathroom.

He returned shortly thereafter, a senior citizen himself. To be fair, I’ve almost never seen a man of that age carry around a backpack like that, but that’s not to say that I think it’s wrong or anything like that. It’s cool to see and it was a good bag, I only wish I remembered to ask about the brand and model. We did tell him that we had suspicions about his backpack and he understood and agreed completely. He was kind enough to show some of the contents even though we hadn’t asked him to, and they were not suspect. In fact, the contents of my backpack were more suspect, although nothing malicious, of course! I don’t know if the security staff would have agreed but c’est la vie

The rest of the day went smoothly, save for running into a rather drunk fellow who could barely stand up straight. After a quick analysis and contact that I initiated, he was on his way and nothing further was required. We walked around town and had a pretty good time. Oh, and I found a couple of small padlocks that someone had thrown away and picked them open.

That’s a segway into next week’s first post :] Stay tuned and stay safe,
-DH

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~ by demonhide on May 31, 2013.

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