Thursday, January 17, 2013

So, apparently....

...there was some kind of "incident" here on campus, either last week or the week before (I couldn't tell from the information given) that resulted in the police and a SWAT team being called, a couple buildings (not mine; not an actual classroom building) being closed down, and general freaking-out. IF it was last week I was in my office when it happened, and I saw and heard nothing. (Which makes me wonder if it was the previous week, when I was still up at my parents').

No one was hurt, nothing apparently really happened. There was a threat, apparently, and it was addressed.

Almost no information has filtered through to faculty and staff. One of my colleagues knows a little and he told me, "It was a specific and not a general threat" and from a couple other things I'm assuming it was either (a) a domestic-type situation, where maybe someone broke up with a significant other and the significant other went bat-crazy and showed up on campus or (b) there was some kind of ongoing beef between two specific people.

But it's still alarming. And it annoys me we're not being told much. The reason we're not being told much is supposedly "we don't want people getting upset" but I suspect it's more "we want to keep this as quiet as humanly possible." Because here's the thing: people not getting upset? Letting your faculty, most of whom are intelligent people but with scary good imaginations, know there was an "incident" without details, means most of us will worry and wonder if we should be watching our backs and maybe carrying a piece in contravention of official policy.

And this is alarming: there was no notification on the "official campus notification line" - the thing where we have to go in every four months and update all our e-mail addresses and phone numbers and change our password into it, so that the campus can let us know in the event of a threat. So far the only thing it's ever been used for was a tiny earthquake that no one in my building even FELT.

So I don't know if it was because the campus was "officially closed" they kept the news quiet (though there still would have been people in offices), or if it was because they didn't want word getting out. But it doesn't reassure me that there's a chance someone somewhere might be putting image before safety. 

Contrast this with three years ago, when someone claimed they were robbed at knifepoint, there were multiple "alerts" sent around (including one with a "sketch" of the perpetrator - who looked remarkably like Mario of Super Mario Brothers) and then a couple days later, it came out that it was all a hoax, apparently someone trying to get attention.

Another alarming thing: the new policy, apparently, is that if there IS an "incident," and you are in the area, you are to pancake yourself on the floor (or the ground) the minute cops show up. The official word is that "innocent bystanders" may wind up in "crossfire" if they don't pancake. (I assume that also means if you try going up to the cop to apprise him of the situation, you may be seen as a threat. And I get that cops have a scary life, and I get that even innocent looking people can be a big threat, but I just hope if it ever comes to it I'm with-it enough to remember to pancake and not let my natural tendency to want to share information and be helpful kick in.)

Dammit, it sucks that we have to be thinking of this. Why are there so damn many people who apparently think it's perfectly OK to settle a beef by shooting someone, or that their way of getting fifteen minutes of fame and adulation is to cause mass havoc and terror? There are a lot of broken people running around in this world.

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