This post is kind of a reference to all the school shootings, of course, NIU being the latest in the news.
I remember when I went to NCSU, I'd try to seat myself in a position where, if I needed to, I could take cover, or bolt for the nearest exit. I tried to remain keenly aware of everyone and everything around me, and what one might do should this happen. I wasn't so freaked out or anything that I didn't go to class. But I kept it in mind. I'd sit in the brickyard and look around, wondering if someone could 'pluck me off' from various positions. It left me not liking to be out in the open at all. But still I went everyday.
Does that sound a little far fetched or paranoid? In today's time? Probably not. I went to NCSU in 1995-1997. This was pre-Columbine, even. Sure the shooting at the University of Texas in Austin was a few decades before this, but for the most part, this kind of thing really wasn't on anyone's mind.
I used to have a lot of really weird fears in my life. One of them was the fear of an airplane flying into the building I was in. I used to get little panicy when I would hear airplanes fly over. Though I never knew /why/ I had that fear. I don't have it /anymore/, thankfully. You'd think with 9/11, it would be much worse. I actually think that one came from my Uncle dying in a plane crash when I was about 12 years old. That kind of cemented my fear of flying.
But anyway, back to the school shooting thing. I think I know exactly where that paranoia came from. Before NIU, before VT, before Columbine, there was an incident at my HS. This happened during my junior year, so it was around 1993/1994. A depressed, disgruntled drop out former student of Eastern Guilford walked into the school with a sawed off shotgun. Folks, back in the day we didn't have metal detectors. We didn't have cops on the campus. We didn't even have much in the way of gun laws (You couldn't bring them in the school, but you could keep them in your vehicles). It was a rural high school in the middle of no where. No one expected this shit.
He went into the commons area of the school and blew out the trophey case and some of the other displays we had there. He immediately went into the classroom I was supposed to be in.
But thankfully, I was not.
He went to the room of Mrs Kittimer (I think that was her name). It was our HS's Newspaper class. I was the paper's artist. On that day though, I had to do some special work for the paper, so I was actually in the art room at the time. I just remember working away, talking to the teacher and some of the students in the class when suddenly on the speaker came out, "Carmen SanDiego to the Office. Carmen SanDeigo to the Office." Of course, being students, we all thought someone played a joke on the assistant principle. We all knew Carmen SanDiego was a computer/video game. Turns out that was the 'red alert warning' for teachers to put every room on lockdown.
The guy, I can't remember his name but I think it was Steven. He went into Mrs Kittimer's classroom because she was the only person he felt he could trust. She apparently helped him out quite a bit when he was still a student. I think he intended to kill himself there that day, in that classroom. She managed to talk him out of it. And eventually he left with the police. No one was injured. The only physical damage done was the trophy case and that other stuff in the commons. I have no idea what went on in the minds of my fellow classmates, we didn't really talk about it much.
We could have easily been the first 'Columbine,' but thankfully the staff of EGHS was fully prepared for the situation, and no one was hurt.
But when this stuff happens, you really need to reflect on it, that it could be much worse, and that it can happen. So be prepared. Go forth and live life like there's no tomorrow, but be prepared in that tomorrow may never come.