I was going to sit down yesterday and write about the pleasant weekend, but was sidetracked by a call from Offspring the Third.
"I'm OK, but..."
Before I could even imagine which particular terrible thing would follow the but, he continued:
"There's an active shooter on campus, and we're on lockdown."
I knew, based on his call and his indications of exactly where he was and what security precautions he had in place, that he was safe for the moment. Nevertheless, what we did not know was: who was the shooter? How were they armed? Who were the targets? How much danger was there, really? How many of Offspring the Third's fellow students were in danger? And what of the conflicting reports that were coming out -- was the shooter near the dorm next to Offspring the Third's, or near a farther-away building? Both were reported to the students. Better safe than sorry, to give those near either building more motivation to move quickly and a better chance of finding safety.
News services were slow to pick up on the story -- most likely, because it developed so fast, and then was handled expediently. We got most of our reports when Offspring the Third notified us by text each time they got word from the campus emergency services:
Update one officer killed. Mobile command center deployed. So far the SWAT team and all kinds of other police have rolled up. Right now I am still in my dorm with all the lights off. For now he has not been caught but a suspect has been named.
Then, about an hour after his call:
Update the shooter has been apprehended and the all clear has been sounded. Right now it's still recommended to stay indoors which is what I'll do.
He said later that he was "jarred, but would be OK."
I don't have words for how dismayed I am, that this has become the reality of everyday life.
You can read the story here: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/09/us/texas-tech-police-officer-fatally-shot/index.html
I think about the slain officer, and wonder what he was like (the officer has, as of this morning, been identified by at least one news source as Floyd East, Jr.). No doubt his family waved goodbye earlier that day, assuming that campus police activities would be relatively safe as usual and that they would see him home later. And kudos to the rest of the officers, who handled such a terrible situation quickly and prevented any further loss of life.
Rest in peace, Officer East. Thank you for your service. I am so sorry that your time was cut short so carelessly and needlessly.
4 days ago