Thursday, September 26, 2013


This is what happens when a deranged man decides to shoot two people near the mall and drive away in a red mini van.

The local radio station reports that the aforementioned incident has occurred in the morning and that police have closed some of the roads. Logical.

I gather my stuff. I drive to campus. I look at the digitized signs along the way and see that none of the roads I take are closed, but I do hit some minor traffic getting off my exit because it's the next exit that's closed, and that whole strip of the road is closed, so everyone is being diverted my way. I let in some people trying to make their way across three lanes of traffic to get back on course. I am a nice person.

I get onto campus and wait in my car behind my building as I've been doing because people have been leaving around the time I arrive and I get to park right there instead of walking across campus--I do that because my class lets out late and I like to have my car close, though the football team, I found, is practicing while I walk to my car so it's not exactly isolated and scary.

As I wait, I take out my phone to play Seven Little Words. I see that I have a FB update, so I log on. Then I skim through the newsfeed and see one of my colleagues has posted that we are on lockdown. Say what???

So I log onto my email from my phone and see that we got a SUNY alert that we are indeed on lockdown. Everyone needs to be in a building. Huh. So I realized two things:

1. No one is going to come out of the building to free up any spaces.

2. I didn't get an alert texted to me even though I'm subscribed to receive texts and all the times they sent out tests, I got those, but when the real thing happens, I need to log onto my email account.

Seeing that I was not supposed to be walking across campus, I couldn't move my car. There were no spots. So I did the only thing that would guarantee I would not get a ticket. I left a sign in my windshield. Logically.

I go into the building and, wow, everyone's doors are actually closed and everyone is actually following directions. This is unprecedented. No one ever follows directions. I turn on my computer and read the emails again about lockdown and they say to stay where we are, to get inside if we're outside, and to follow lockdown procedures. I like to follow rules so I read the procedures that are posted on my wall and they say to close the lights, lock the door, and shut the blinds. My door was already closed and locked because that's the first thing I did. I closed the blinds in the far room of the office. Then I went to close my blinds.

The day before Lockdown Day, we had a maintenence man breaking a cracked pane of our window out of the frame and putting in a new piece of glass. This was ridiculous as the work was happening without notice while we were trying to do work and talk. Bang! Bang! Crack! Bang! Bang! Shatter! Crackle! Bang! Bang! Kind of like a Cher song remix. With all that work, no one noticed that our blinds needed some TLC as well. Some slats are flipped and twisted. Lowering them requires quite a tug at a very strange angle. I tugged and angled and then the blinds finally came down. And they were not long enough. This was really stupid. They left enough space for anyone to see into the office and see me directly. It was like I was helping out anyone who might want to take a gander in my office through the window, saying: Here--look here--here I am. So I went into Arts and Crafts mode.

Once that was taken care of, I went to work, sending announcements and alerts to my students for my 2 PM class, stating that we may or may not have class. The 12:30 classes were canceled, obviously, because no one could leave where they were. I'd gotten there just in time to not have anyone come to office hours and possibly not be able to teach later on and actually not be able to leave.

Apparently, the 12:30 class cancellation was not as obvious as I thought because a barrage of emails came over the system about students wanting to leave the library to get to their next class. Then people were freaking out because some doors don't lock, and they received responses saying that they should barricade their doors. Others wanted the buildings to be locked and Public Safety wanted them open so that anyone not in a building could get inside a building. Still, people wanted doors locked. People needed to know if classes were actually cancelled.

Then things got interested. We got emails asking if students could get water or go to the bathroom. We got emails stating: If everyone is inside, why are there students sitting out on the plaza right now? People asked for Public Safety officers to come to buildings to prevent intruders. THEN a Public Safety patrol car came around and there was a bullhorn attached and the officer was announcing to the people still walking around: We are on lockdown! Go inside and stay there! We are on lockdown! Go inside and stay there! Now I know what I want for Christmas.

We found out via email that this was not an active shooter lockdown. If it were, then the buildings would be locked. In this case, it was a different kind of lockdown that involved only some locks needing to be locked. Someone responded, suggesting that we should use a word other than lockdown since not everyone was down under a lock.

Then the lockdown was lifted. The same patrol car went around: The lockdown is over! The lockdown is over!

I felt what freedom really felt like when the lockdown was over because I had been alone in my office behind a makeshift shade that was looking pretty pathetic. It probably could have gone more smoothly if everyone just stayed where they were, knew that there was not an active shooter, didn't freak out, and had actual locks on their doors. So that's something to think about in case we ever have another...well...what could we call it?

The takeaway from this whole ordeal is simple: don't let old men in minivans own guns. Gun control!

No comments: