This just in from the “I swear I’m not making this crap up” files. Earlier this week, we had a rather exciting afternoon at Small Town University. About half past three, a warning scrolled across the bottom of my computer screen that said “lock down lock down, shelter in place, lock doors classroom/offices.” Apparently there had been a robbery at a nearby fast food place by a suspect described as a black male with “heavy set silver short white shirt.”
Huh. Well, this was different. When I stepped outside my office this same warning was blaring across the speakers they’d managed to fix since the evacuation drill when half the staff didn’t hear the alarm. Also a strobe light was flashing. We figured out to get the flashing light when we accidentally forgot a hearing impaired employee in the building during another drill. Now we’ll only have to drag out an epileptic patron. Progress!
We had already practiced the fire drill (that was the one where we forgot an employee) and had been mostly successful (except that one little detail). We’d managed to annoy the students who were forced to take their headphones out of their ears and pack up their laptops and move their bodies elsewhere. I wonder if they would move even if there were a real fire. Probably they’d have to make sure their angry birds took out all the green pigs first.
We’d also practiced the evacuation drill, to the annoyance of not only the students but the entire town. We hadn’t warned them we were going to do this, see, because criminals are always nice enough to warn you that next week on Thursday at 4 pm they are going to set a bomb in your building so do mark that in your day planners. Anyway, people were a little weirded out to see the entire campus leave at the same time. In an orderly fashion. I’m just kidding, it was a total gridlock. Supposedly, the campus shuttle was going to transport people to cars that were parked miles away. I saw a lot of students wandering around blindly, yammering to each other and stepping in front of cars without looking. You know, the usual. But no shuttle. Oopsies.
The news had a field day with this. They managed to interview quite possibly the two dopiest students on campus who fretted “We was scared and they didn’t tell us nothin’.” Education at its finest – you can find it here, folks.
Now this is what happened when staff had warning that the drill would take place. This was not a drill, but an actual emergency so naturally no one knew what to do. We didn’t even understand what it meant. I kept reading the warning as saying the suspect had a heavy set silver short white shirt. So he had a short heavy shirt? That was silver and white? Wait, what? The fast food place the suspect had robbed was located directly across from the university – in fact, the part of the university where the campus police is located.
So we knew there was some guy who robbed a fast food place, but not whether he had transportation or say, a gun. Or where he was. Or what we were supposed to do about it. The students kept firing their birds at the pigs while the alarm repeated itself again and again. My boss, coworker and I went downstairs to see if anyone else knew what was going on. The office staff said to take cover in a room and lock the door. So we went upstairs. Then it occurred to us that there were patrons out there. What were we supposed to do with them? They wouldn’t know what was going on until the gunman actually had a gun directly against their skulls and then they’d say “Five more minutes, I’ve almost got the last pig.”
A call downstairs told us that, no, we didn’t have to go take cover, we just had to lock the outside doors of the library so no one could get in. Or get out. Hooray. Now I had started out the day with my typical anxiety that was now notched up to about 50 what with not knowing what was going on and the constant reminder from the speakers to lock down, lock down, lock down, lock down already! I started hearing that song from Beverly Hills Cop in my head – shakedown, breakdown . . . breakdown, breakdown, breakdown!
I texted my husband that there was a robber on the loose and the whole university was locked down. He replied to my urgent message with “k”. Yup. “K”. Now saying said gunman had actually managed to get into the library (the only reason I can think for most people to willingly go into the library would be to take cover from police) his last words, er word, not even a word, was “k”. He couldn’t even say “Okay”. Thanks, honey. Glad romance is DEAD.
Now I’m really hyped up. Every ten minutes we get that alert to lock down. As if everyone trapped on campus has not freaking heard it by now since none of us can LEAVE. This goes on for almost an hour and a half –until ten till closing when they finally announce the “All Clear. Resume Normal Activities.” Whatever they hell that might be. We were just thrilled we got to go home. But what about this gunman? Haha, it gets even better, guyz.
First we found out the gunman wasn’t in the restaurant. He wasn’t armed either. He just knocked over an female employee leaving the place, took some money, and ran. This has to be the stupidest idea ever. We’re talking about a tall, African American man in a town that is mostly white, robbing a woman in broad daylight across from the police station and then trying to escape on foot. What kind of moron would do that?
The same kind of moron who would decide to cover up a shortage at the register by staging a robbery, which is what happened. The girl, the robber, and another genius involved were all employees of the store and figured that instead of admitting there wasn’t enough money in the drawer, they’d just pretend the money was taken and no one would ever figure it out. Brilliant plan, Einsteins. So, in summary, because of three bozos we, for an hour and a half, locked down an entire college campus, had a helicopter flying overhead, had cops search through each building on campus in a painstaking manner, and freaked the hell out of hundreds of people.
Just another day at the library.