It’s Different When It Happens On Your Street

Westcott Building and Fountain

It is but on a rare occasion that I will not make a joke about a tragedy. It is one of my flaws, I suppose. I say something woefully inappropriate at just the wrong time and to just the right number of people. This morning, I found myself in a peculiar situation. It was no joke. I woke up to our local news channel broadcasting live from the campus at Florida State University. This is a relatively small city, and when I heard the 6 O’clock evening news anchor’s voice on the 5:30 am morning show, I took notice very quickly. When you hear Julie Montanero’s voice on live TV at 5:30 in the morning, you sort of know, something has happened. Something that is not good.

There was a shooting at Strozier library. Facts are still crawling in. I believe there were 3 victims plus one shooter. The shooter was killed by FSU Police Officers after firing on them. The officers are safe, the victims all survived. One is critical. I believe there was one kid who was saved by his text books in his backpack. I know all of the kids that were at the library are scared shitless right now. Likely, a lot of kids that were not there are frightened as well. These are, after all, just kids. Some are no more than a year or two older than mine. They don’t go to the damned library expecting to be shot. They don’t go to study for an exam, knowing this might be their last day on earth.  They went to college, not to fucking Iraq.

When the shooting at Virginia Tech happened ten years ago, I was saddened and outraged for the same reasons. Although it didn’t churn my guts the way this one does, I was still very bothered, disgusted, and sick over it. These are school campuses, not military outposts. You don’t send your kids off to college the same way a parent sends their kid off to war. There is, and should be, a presumption that they are safe on their campus.

The motivation for the shooting, nor any of the juicy details that media outlets are waiting with baited breath over has not been released. It’s likely they may not know much yet. It has only been roughly 12 hours. To me, it really doesn’t matter. We will later learn that this was the work of some deranged person, mad at a boyfriend/girlfriend, or maybe mad about a test, or maybe mad about some other shit. It really doesn’t matter. I refuse to make neither a martyr nor a fucking celebrity out of this individual.

What does matter, to me at least, is that none of the victims are dead. The FSU Police officers responding did their job remarkably, and all are safe. The Tallahassee Police Department, charged with investigating this, has the full support of the community. Florida State University, and its kids, have the support of the nation, or at least they damn well should have.

This whole situation has really bothered me, yes. But there is one thing that has pissed me off, almost as badly. The mocking on Twitter by the Alabama student, employed by ESPNU.  To her: Really? I am the OWNER of the Little Shop of Inappropriate Comments open 24 hours per day. It’s an all you can eat buffet, and even I knew better.

Tuscaloosa just experienced a tragedy of its own. Not by lunacy, but instead, a natural disaster. One would assume a person on that campus may carry a soft spot for things like this on other campuses. But, no, it seems not. And she even defended herself. Bless her heart. She is irrelevant, though, in the big picture.

In the big picture I see a situation that was abruptly, forcefully, and efficiently handled by authorities. None of the victims died. They are all now safe. The shooter will not be shooting anything else. Ever again. The officers that responded are safe (and, I am biased, but I say they are all the BEST campus police in the nation).  I imagine the Downtown Getdown scheduled for Friday night, will be one for the ages.

Oh, yeah. There is one thing about this that is remotely related to football. Poor Boston College has a bad weekend to come to Tallahassee to play a game. I heard an old saying once, something about cornering a wounded dog. FSU’s football team has been put down, beat down, and recently shoved around in the polls by the national media. College students tend to rally around sports teams, when things happen on their campuses. Their sense of school pride increases exponentially. Students that loathe athletics will even buy a hat and a t-shirt. It’s quite fascinating to see sports drawing kids together on campuses. Especially after a tragedy. And I can imagine that Saturday will not only have 85,000 strong in Doak-Campbell, but maybe 85,000 outside of it as well. That is no joking matter,

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