Posted by: petsweekly | July 25, 2008

Locked Down at South Mountain College

So, last night the office I happened to be in was stormed by police outfitted with assault rifles and we were all placed on lockdown, which made for an interesting end to the day.

I’m a freelance writer – occasionally I go into the locations I’m working for consultations, etc.and yesterday I was on location at South Mountain College, which is one of those places. At 4:10, my coworker and I are walking outside to chat when four police officers burst through the doors, rush past us in a narrow hallway with guns drawn, and search the very small building yelling that we’re not allowed to leave. Asking about “points of entry” and whether or not others are able to gain access to the building, they quickly search and clear us, telling us not to go outside. And let me tell you, when four pissed off cops with automatic rifles are telling you not to do something, you don’t do it – despite every fiber of your being telling you that lockdown may not work out for you. Meanwhile, I hear the choppers overhead and see the massive numbers of police and firemen swell the parking lot.

The implication from the police is that we should prepare to get comfortable. Turns out, three people were shot in the building adjacent to ours and the gunman is still on the loose.

Which furthers my argument for full-time telecommute policies.

Eventually we were released and allowed to leave, (thank God! because confinement of any kind doesn’t work so well with me), but in order to do that, we had to navigate news crews, police, firemen, anxious coworkers and closed roads.

One of the three victims is still in critical condition, one was upgraded from critical to stable, the third was shot in the leg. The shooter was caught 40 blocks away. Apparently, his father turned him in.

Seriously…. How does this happen? What goes through the mind of a kid that his solution to a problem is shooting everyone who pisses him off? The victims were 17, 22 and 25. The shooter was only 22 and is a former student. Apparently, the first shooting was intentional, the two other shootings were accidental – people in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong location with a gunman that doesn’t know how to handle a weapon.

Well, there is that, I suppose….

We know that two of the victims will pull through, but we’re still keeping our fingers crossed on the third. I hope he makes a full recovery as well and is not left too traumatized by the events.

The police handled it pretty well, but the news teams… Good lord, they will print any information they can find! Non-credible “witnesses”, people who weren’t there, glory hounds, and “questionable” intel. I can understand the desire to get a good story, but if you’re dealing with the news, you have an obligation to make it an honest one. Not more than 12 hours ago, I thought that I could pretty much rely on the news for quality information. Now I see that is not the case. They’ve become fiction writers masquerading as news reporters. It’s sad, really.

And that brought an end to my otherwise dull day. It brought a few things into perspective though, and while I’m sure it won’t profoundly change my life, it definitely made an impact…

And yes, I wish more than ever I had made the Fangs, Fur and Fey convention….

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