Tuesday, September 28, 2010

School Shooting Holiday

This morning I laid out my sweater and jeans for school (I don't teach Tuesdays) and went for a run in the wonderful early spring weather. "This," I thought is going to be a good day. I went home, showered and dressed, and found out a shooter with an AK-47 has fired 10 rounds and then killed himself on the 6th floor of our library.

There's plenty lucky about this: lucky no one else got killed, or even injured; lucky the police responded so quickly and thoroughly, checking all the buildings for a possible second suspect; lucky the administration used text, email, and loudspeakers to keep people inside and safe. Still, it's a strange, haunting experience to have this happen at my school. I had joked with the IT guy about the doors that automatically lock and how it wasn't much security for a school shooting. At BYU one of our PA's taught us how to organize a room in lockdown, but more as a novetly than a skill we'd actually use. And I had wondered, pragmatically, perhaps, at every school shooting on the news how it felt to stay home from school because of a wacko with a gun.

It's odd. A little bit like getting the day off for a funeral; you think there ought to be more public mourning, more time thinking about what happened, more meditating, but how much can you really do in a day? Then you try to do something normal--your homework, watch a movie, clean the house, but your thoughts are distracted and strange. I've been caught between and osillating back and forth between being fine and not fine. I'm going to watch a movie now with a girl who was stuck in her office during lockdown. She texted me because she didn't want the theoretical second shooter to know she was in there. Now we'll watch a movie because we both have more time than we anticipated and little mind to focus on our studies.

Not a snow day. Something else.


Day said...

Crazy. Mental health days indeed. I'm glad no one else was physically hurt.

The high school I went to had school shooting/bombing drills, and the people I sat with always discussed how easy it would be to get a high kill rate there. . . just analyzing the access roads, the floor plan, and the terrible, bureaucratically motivated flaws in the evacuation drills that would have made us much, much easier to kill. Providing we/they weren't the ones doing the shooting.

Jamie Zvirzdin said...

Glad you're okay.

John Hedengren said...

Almost another Charles Whitman...

In spite of this incident, I hope Austin is treating you well and that you're enjoying your time at UT.

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