The term HP needs some explanation. It’s not “Hewlett Packard” or “High Performance” or “Horsepower,” or even [Browning] “High Power.” (Which is GP anyway, in its native Walloon: “Grande Puissance” — and sounds way sexier).
It goes back to Norway, and SF guys’ love for spicy food. And the love for spices comes, at least in part, from the 20-or-so-year heyday of the Meal, Long Range Patrol for strategic reconnaissance teams: bland, tasteless, and did we say bland? freeze-dried food in eight flavors that differed more in texture than taste — for instance, the beans in the Meal #2 Chile con Carne never, ever reconstituted no matter what you did to them, including boiling for six hours — we tried. So anyway, an SF trooper of a certain vintage discovered that he could choke thirty days of these meals, one a day, down by bringing crushed red pepper, seasoned salt, or Tabasco sauce. From there it was a short step to the discovery that, if you acquired a taste for Tabasco sauce, you could eat anything that could be bitten into pieces small enough to ingest.
So, there we are preparing to go to Norway, in an isolation facility in the North of England, much as our SOE and OSS forebears might have done. Like them we would jump into a snowfield. And instead of Tabasco, what they had in the mess hall was a watery imitation called “HP sauce.” There was much wonder about what HP stood for, until our Master of Malapropisms nailed it: “Homosexual Panic!”
Henceforth, that was our term for any kind of flapping or panicking or overreacting to events, things that SF service gives you plentiful opportunities to spot and comment upon.
“S-3 Sergeant-Major’s HP’ing again.”
Naturally, none of the people prone to HP — everyone but them seemed to know who they were — had any idea what the acronym broke out to. But to this day, and despite it being the height of political incorrectum these days, the term HP springs to mind when stories like these grace the local paper:
The Sanborn Regional High School was placed on lockdown Monday afternoon after a former student allegedly threatened others with a firearm in the school parking lot, police said.
Timothy M. Soucy, 18, of Danville, was later apprehended and charged with two counts of criminal threatening. Police said more charges may be filed as the investigation continues.
According to a prepared statement from State Police, at around 12:15 p.m., Kingston police responded to the school after taking a report of a former student on school grounds and armed with a firearm. The initial report indicated the former student had threatened several individuals with the weapon, police said.
The report resulted in a large scale search involving local, state and county police officers. Heavily armed police officers could be seen setting up a perimeter around the high school, located at 17 Danville Road (Route 111).
SAU 17 Superintendent Brian Blake said the school was placed on lockdown after officials were notified of a “potential security issue involving a weapon outside of the school building.”
“The kids are secured in the building,” Blake said in a phone interview around 12:30 p.m. “We’re just taking appropriate precautions.”
The lockdown was lifted around 1:30 p.m.
“Police … deemed the school to be safe, and determined that no weapon had entered the building,” Blake said in a prepared statement that was first posted on the high school’s Facebook page.
Police said that Soucy was located at his home in Danville and was taken into custody without incident. A female was also taken into custody, but was later released; police said charges are not expected to be filed against her.
So what caused all this HP, HP to the point that they couldn’t stop just arresting the kid in question, but someone else who was not involved? One thing missing from the report is any indication that the police found, confiscated or otherwise recovered the gun in question. Was there a gun, or did a whole school HP to elebben because some d-bag said he had a gun?
But that was just one story of overreaction and lockdown in our little, suburban and rural corner of the world. And there were two such stories in Monday’s paper. Here’s the other:
NORTH HAMPTON — A family that says their child was threatened with gun violence at school sent out an e-mail blast this weekend, leading to nearly 200 absences Monday and a police presence on school grounds.
The e-mail, which was sent around the district, alleges an 11-year-old sixth-grader threatened to bring a gun to North Hampton School and kill a child last week.
The parents said this comes after years of bullying from the child in question, which has reached the point that they believe it’s a “community safety issue.” They say the school, which serves preschool to Grade 8, has not done enough to put a stop to the pattern of bullying.
The incident allegedly occurred around 3 p.m. Thursday, when the parents said the 11-year-old sixth-grader threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot their child because he “hated him.”
…Page said the added police presence at the school Monday was because police were concerned many parents would show up at the school to ask questions about the e-mail.
“That would be another threat to a secure school environment so we put extra officers there to deter any problems that may occur with that situation,” Page said.
The parents in the e-mail also questioned the school’s protocol regarding bullying and said the 11-year-old has been bullying their son for the past two years.
In one instance, the parents said, the child urinated on carrots and tried to feed them to their son.
News flash: some kids are little $#!+s.
And some parents are spring loaded in the HP position. Consider this: there was no gun, again. There was an 11-year-old who made some kind of threat to shoot somebody with the nonexistent gun. There was a two-times-hearsay rumor repeated in an email blast from HP’ing parents that convinced some two hundred other kids’ parents that the school was unsafe.
And the parents in question are apparently upset because the kid they say is bullying their little hothouse flower has access to guns… under what “the police have determined to be ‘proper supervision.’” In other words, when you boil it all down, the sensitive parents are upset that there are guns in this world.
What’s the over-under on these parents being part of the Massachusetts Busybody Diaspora? Spreading HP far and wide.
Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S). His focus was on weapons: their history, effects and employment. He started WeaponsMan.com in 2011 and operated it until he passed away in 2017. His work is being preserved here at the request of his family.