Staying Home, Staying In

Late last night, I happened across a news article mentioning that a threat was made regarding the University of Chicago. The threat cited the Quad and a specific time (10AM, Monday).

This threat was considered somewhat credible by the university, as evidenced by the fact that they decided to shut down the entire campus on Monday (this, during the last week before Final exams).

While we’re not right on the edge of campus, we live fairly close. One of the Metra stops that we go to is very near the edge of campus, and… hearing this news gave me pause.

The more I thought about it, the less comfortable I felt about venturing out to go wait at a nearby Metra stop. I’m sure it would have been fine, but the fact that the university decided to shut down just made me wary. The FBI was involved, it seemed, and… the idea of venturing outside just didn’t seem so hot.

This image is from a photoshoot that we went on, a few months ago. It’s on campus, and somewhat near the Quad mentioned in the threat/story.

Earlier yesterday, I read about an incident that happened at the Wexner Center, on the OSU campus. I had many lunches there, and held numerous student/teacher conferences there (back when I was an instructor).

I think having seen more than one gun incident involving campuses near me (spatially, historically) just made me hesitant to stop outside. I know the odds were really low of anything happening, but at the time it felt to me like there was an unstable person out there with a firearm… and with the university shut down, they would just be wandering around looking for people to harm.

It turns out, the truth is much more boring. The “threat” was a comment posted by a UIC student on a website (and deleted soon after it was made). While it sounds like this was not something he intended to act on (it sounded like he didn’t own any firearms), the language of the threat is actually pretty disturbing.

The more I’m reading, the more it sounds like some kid made a really bad decision. And everything that happened stemmed from this one really bad decision.

It seemed real enough to me last night, as well as this morning. And it seemed real enough up until they apprehended the guy (again, a pretty mundane process of tracking him down, knocking on the door, and having a conversation).

A part of me feels silly for being so cautious, for letting my emotions win out over logic and statistics.

And another part of me thinks about those less fortunate than us. About those other homes, in the neighborhoods that surround the one we’re in, where families and children have the very real fear of being shot. And this happens on a daily basis for them.

I reflect on how fortunate both Liz and I are, that we have this luxury of being able to work from home, should we feel the need. And how terribly difficult it must be for those who share our same worries and concerns for safety, but cannot afford the same luxury.

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