Thursday, December 7, 2023

Another University Shooting, This Time Mine

It's tough to know what to write here today.  I was fortunate enough to be working from home when I started getting emails from the University.  This is what the first ones said:

(11:51 a.m.) University Police responding to report of shots fire in BEH evacuate to a safe area, RUN-HIDE-FIGHT.

(11:57 a.m.). University Police responding to confirmed active shooter in BEH. This is not a test.  RUN-HIDE-FIGHT.

My first thought was to wonder why they were not texting me.  Then it was to realize that if I were not getting texts, many of my colleagues might not either.  The BEH building code meant the shooter was at the Business School--just a short, short walk from the law school.  I started texting my colleagues.  At least all of them that I had numbers for.  As people checked in, I learned that my colleagues were sheltering in place as the school locked down.  I reached out to some students who I'd worked with and had numbers for to make sure they were okay.  Fortunately, the two that I connected with were not on campus.  But they very easily could have been.  Our final exams have started and students not taking exams usually hole up at the law school to study.

Yesterday seemed to drag on with my phone buzzing every few minutes with someone trying to find out if I was okay as the news spread around the globe.  Early reports coming in where chaotic and confusing.  At one point, we thought there might be two shooters.  We also heard that over twenty people had been shot.  There have been so many of these events that people now know that the early information is often unreliable.  But it's also terrifying.

My two-year-old daughter attends a suburban pre-school here.  They locked down in response to the news about the shooting.  Other colleagues have their own children in the University daycare and preschool.  They locked down.  I can't imagine the horror and anxiety of being forced to shelter in place in your campus office knowing a shooter was firing off rounds near you and your child in the campus daycare.

This isn't the first time I've been relatively near to a mass shooting.  The 1 October shooting happened in Vegas right around when I moved to Vegas.  I lived in Orlando about a mile and a half from the Pulse nightclub shooting.  I was in downtown Charleston when the Mother Emanuel shooting happened.  I'm not unique.  There are way too many mass shootings.   

Something about this feels different though. I walk through the buildings where the shooting occurred all the time.  On any day, I could have been over there.  The faculty killed were people I might have worked with, had their lives not been ended.

Next semester, I will teach two classes.  We'll start with a review for how to escape the building.  It's how all my classes will start from now on. 

I'm freaked out.  My students will undoubtedly be freaked out.

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I am so grateful you and others you know are OK. But the whole situation is so sad and so frustrating. Thanks for writing this, Ben. Sending hugs to you.

Posted by: joanheminway | Dec 8, 2023 7:53:49 PM

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