WTF is H-day, you ask? Why, it’s the anniversary of the day I survived a workplace shooting that was almost potentially likely to become a very real possibility!
A little over a year ago, I (and various coworkers) were threatened by somebody I had once considered a good guy. (Quirky, way over-sensitive, but a good guy.) We will call him Mr. H.
He told us in IRC, “the concept that someone in this channel will eventually provoke me to the point where the ground floor of XXX gets covered in a hail of bullets is no longer horrifying” (“XXX” is my workplace), and then, September 19th, 2008: “I’m acting just as hard-headed as all of you during this, only my result has a permanent solution, one which renders itself as the only solution 7 days from now”. Hence, September 26, 2008 is the day I SHOULD HAVE DIED.
He kept this up for days. We got a daily “death” counter in IRC even when most people in the channel had ignored him. He was asked if he was serious about killing people, and responded in the affirmative multiple times. We eventually banned him from the IRC channel by his IP address and felt compelled to involve the police. Local authorities gave him a brief talking to, and like a man he owned up to being an ass and apologized– wait… no, no, now I remember. He claimed his computer had been hacked and he had no idea what was going on.
After making vague legal threats against us (finding new IPs from which to bypass our ban), he disappeared for a while and all was well. After a few months, though, he started harassing a friend of mine, claiming we all owed him a second chance and it wasn’t his fault and the general “screw you guys, you suck and I’m awesome” kind of apology we’d all been hoping for.
So to show that I don’t let go of a grudge, I decided I’ll celebrate H-day every year (assuming I remember) and mock and ridicule Mr. H. at every opportunity. Having a mental illness is one thing, but once you threaten my life (idle thought the threat may have been) repeatedly, you’ve crossed a line. You can’t take that back.
Take this as a lesson – I was one of the people who tolerated Mr. H. fairly well. I did push his buttons a lot, but I respected him as a software engineer and always listened to his suggestions for my own projects. That is completely destroyed, and I will never give him the chance to redeem himself. H-man, next time you have earned somebody’s respect despite your problems, maybe try to not threaten them. I dunno for sure, but I imagine it would help you make friends, keep friends, and gosh… hold a job longer than six months? Who knows?