1993 Sniper Attack - My Personal Story


You know, one of the things I wanted to talk about is guns and not really gun safety, but the proliferation of guns. It's definitely on everybody's mind, particularly since Parkland, Florida and all the school shootings that we saw.

This is particularly germane to me because in another video I talked about the origin story of iLobby and why I got into how do we change laws, how do we improve things and how do we get more people involved in policy, which is a big step in making that happen.

One of the things that happened to me was in April of 1993, roughly or May of '93. (And I'll find the right source for this but...) During that time there was a sniper attack on the building that I worked in, which was the MCA black tower on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood, which is, and was the parent to Universal Studios. So we owned all the studio. The property. It's Universal, Florida, Universal Hollywood and the Music Division and the film production and all of that. And what's interesting is it was probably maybe 10:00 or 10:30 in the morning, I'm in my office. The tower is 14 stories high. I was on the fifth floor facing the street and all of a sudden you hear this pop, pop, pop, and

I have fired guns on a gun range and knew the sound of that and realized that it was gunfire. I immediately got down on my hands and knees and crawled out of my office down the hall and some of the people who saw me crawling, we're like, well, why are you doing that? They thought it was sound effects on the backlot, which it was not. And it continued, it seemed for an endless period of time. And when you heard it, and this is interesting in terms of the Parkland situation or some of the others that we've heard, you could not tell where the shooting was coming from.

So when crawling down and some of the other people in the office were like, well, why? Why are you doing that? They didn't realize, and only later did they say, wow, you know, that was one of the smartest things to do, but bullets were literally flying through the walls, breaking through secondary wall behind me and shattering the glass all across the facade of the building.

And fortunately nobody was killed. Several people were hurt from shattered glass because when they heard the bullets, they went to the windows to see what was going on, which is a mistake. As I moved toward the elevator shaft, which was in the center of the building, the sound and the echoing made it sound like there were three different shooters coming into the building from different directions and you couldn't tell if they were on the elevators, in the stairwell or whatever because of this echoing that was going on. And so it was incredibly scary. Within a matter of minutes, I think there was helicopters, police helicopters flying over the top of the studio. And my wife tried to reach me and she couldn't.

It was interesting was I thought, you know, I live in a gated community. I work in a gated community and still I'm not safe.

And here we are 20 more than 20 years later and kids in schools are still facing the same issue and it isn't just from simple hand guns. You're talking about high powered weapons now where people are doing that. In our particular case, the guy had a high powered rifle. He was several hundred yards across the street in a park shooting from the back of his pickup truck. But the M.O. is kind of the same thing, you know, people talk. Was it the gun, was it the shooter?

This was a disgruntled employee who 14 years earlier had been fired and was never able to put his life together again and had moved out of town. And then when his mother died, his whole life fell apart. So he came back to find the vice president who had fired him 14 years earlier and he wanted to kill him. He didn't, of course he did not succeed.

But the issue of guns and gun safety and gun control and shooters who have medical or mental problems where they should not have access to weapons. All of those are the same issues that we were dealing with on a... and you know, on a very personal level 25 years ago, so I just wanted to bring that up because it's something that Congress and the state legislatures have looked at. They have implemented laws, some of them have not been enforced and every year we face this and there are constant shootings, not just buildings and innocent people in public, but also obviously kids at school, so it's a problem that needs to be addressed. It's a problem that needs to be solved and hopefully if you have an opinion about it, you could start a debate or find a solution that begins to make sense and begin to build a framework.

And again, I'm making a case for iLobby because that's really where it goes. You have to come up with ideas and solutions to the particular problem that enough people agree with and the law makers agree with that you end up in a situation where we're able to begin to contain this and improve the safety for our families, our kids, our children, anyone who might be affected by this.

So this is John Thibault with iLobby. Hope that's been helpful. Feel free to leave your comments below. I'd love to hear back from you. Thank you.

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