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January 08, 2012

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hellblazer

"Alright, have it your own way - you heard a SEAL!"

(with apologies to J. Thurber)

hellblazer

Futtocks. I've become one of these people who can't spell "all right". I'll get me coat

chris williams

High class Thurber riff excuses minor typo.

alle

Great article.

Mr. Clark is online, too, on every conceivable social network: "On his personal time, William E. Clark maintains an active lifestyle through thrill-inducing recreation" — Indeed he does.

ajay

Fantastic. So clearly nuclear plants don't feel the need to take up references when they hire someone. I wonder how many of their engineers are actually qualified?

Richard J

D'oh!

ajay

I mean, this is just me talking here with my complete lack of HR experience, but "are you a nutter?" would definitely be on the list of questions I'd ask a prospective nuclear plant security manager. And if he started explaining to me that he'd been a mercenary sniper in Iraq and El Salvador and served in the Foreign Legion, I would take that as a probable "yes". While there are real mercenary snipers out there, there are not as many of them as there are nutters.

Phil

Bayesian reasoning innit - "given the relative probabilities of random person X from the general population being (a) a sniper, gun for hire and international man of mystery or (b) a nutter, which of these is the person in front of me likely to be?" Instead of which, presumably, the interviewer took Occam's Razor and applied it to the immediate situation only - "spinning a bizarre and elaborate fantasy would be difficult and risky; telling the truth is simple and straightforward; he's probably telling the truth".

Richard J

i "spinning a bizarre and elaborate fantasy would be difficult and risky; telling the truth is simple and straightforward; he's probably telling the truth".

Wasn't that CS Lewis's basic argument for believing Jesus was the son of God?

Phil

Yes - "either mad or God". Which seems like a massive failure of imagination, apart from anything else - believing you're Jesus Christ now is crazy precisely because there's already been one. It seems like a post-hoc rationalisation to me; Lewis believed because he'd always wanted to believe, and Tolkien gave him permission.

Cian

So clearly nuclear plants don't feel the need to take up references when they hire someone.

Well nukemen, innit. The knockdown argument against nuclear powerstations is that the people running them are invariably incompetent/dangerous/insane. Its not the theory, its the practice.

Dan Hardie

'He wound up convincing the owners of Palisades to pay $50,000, he said, for the creation of an elite strike force from the ranks of his security guards, which he would call the Viper team.'

What is this American obsession with strike teams? It's like the way every single small-town police department has to have its own SWAT unit.

I'd say one reason he didn't get rumbled by any of the power plant staff is because too many of them wanted his stories to be true. You could go home and tell the missus, 'Yes, we're on track with the safety inspection schedule and the new IT manager is working out okay.' Or you could say 'We have a Special Forces vet who served in Iraq and reckons we need to form a strike force...'

Barry Freed

I liked this bit about who he got to train the "Viper team,"
He wound up inviting Aaron Cohen, a former Israeli commando Zeke had seen giving commentary on Fox News, to come to Michigan and provide Viper training.

What is this American obsession with strike teams? It's like the way every single small-town police department has to have its own SWAT unit.

I'm reminded of something I read many years ago by a former police commissioner, IIRC, of a decidedly reformist bent who said that if you absolutely must have a SWAT team the way to do it is ask for volunteers then reject every single one who steps forward.

Alex

See Vladimir Poniakoff's memoirs, on interviewing volunteers. "I hate the Germans" - next! "It would be an honour, Sir, to serve under such a distinguished officer as yourself" - next! "I have an insatiable thirst for high adventure" - next! "I'm bored" - candidate.

ejh

Which reminds me of the relevant scene in Alice's Restuarant.

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