On Jan. 30, 2013, President McDavis canceled classes and campus activities because there was an armed suspect at large. That morning, alert texts and e-mails had been sent to students making them aware of an armed robbery that had occurred close to campus. The suspect got away and was reported to be moving toward campus.
How anyone managed to take the above information lightly is beyond me.
The funny thing is, at first it seemed to be a huge issue. I woke up to a Twitter feed full of tweets to Ryan Lombardi (@OhioVP), all saying something along the lines of, “There was an armed robbery this morning and now the guy is walking around Athens, and you expect me to walk to class? HOW have you not closed campus yet?! I don’t feel safe leaving my house.”
That was more than 140 characters, but you get the point. People were scared. Or, I guess they were just saying they were, because I don’t think 30 minutes had passed before what I considered to be a pretty frightening situation turned into a party. Bars opened early. The creative minds of OU brought us hashtags like #FugitiveFest and #GunDayFunDay. The same people who had before been scared to open their front door were descending on Court Street. My Twitter feed was overtaken by shot puns.
You might be sitting there now thinking, “Don’t have a cow, Amy. Nothing happened, and even the OUPD was releasing statements that day saying they didn’t anticipate the shooter ever attacking campus.” So, yeah, okay—maybe it was an overreaction to close campus when there seemed to be no imminent threat. But if I (or more importantly my University) am going to overreact about anything, I’m okay with it being a criminal with a gun.
According to an article on TheNation.com, there were 16 “mass shootings” in 2012. For those of you whose math class was cancelled that Wednesday afternoon, that averages out to more than one each month. It hadn’t even been two months since the latest of those shootings left two-dozen people (including children) dead in an elementary school. We seemed to forget those tragedies the second Lombardi tweeted that classes were cancelled and campus was closed. That second would have been all the time a shooter would have needed to make OU another tragedy.
Instead, and thankfully, the only tragedy on campus that day was the way we handled the situation. McDavis, Lombardi and other OU administrators made the right decision in telling students and staff to move quickly and safely back to their homes or dorms. True, there was no shooting. But if you’re not going to take your safety or a gun seriously, what will you?
In my opinion, there could not be a better-fitting scenario to be “better safe than sorry.” History has shown just how sorry we could have been. So, thank you, President McDavis, for taking something seriously that should never have been a joke and hopefully never will be made into one again.