I don’t know how many of you read your news online, but on October 22nd, 2008 there was a complete lockdown of Western Kentucky University. If you don’t believe me just look it up.
The first ALERT text message I received from my school was right before my class started and it said “Armed Men have been reported on the South Campus. Please stay of the area.” I was at the very top of the Hill on the Main Campus about 2 miles away from the first warning so I wasn’t worried. By the time I got to my class everybody was buzzing about the text message.
Our professor came in and asked if everyone had received the first message. I felt like our comissioner had just entered the board room, asked if we’d read the packet and we will now be briefed on the incident. He had a really cool mood about everything, which gained him a greater respect from me, with his calm, he kept the entire class that much more calm.
He was bouncing between our class and a meeting about the expansion of students’ general ed requirements. Our TA tried to keep us focused on the classwork that was assigned to us and he made sure the class room door was locked.
The stereotypical Pink Girl opened up her pink laptop, white-girl flipped her hair back and started reading the updates through email that the Hill was sending to everybody. I don’t think she worked on a bit of her class assignment. Every few minutes there would be another non-substantial text message sent out that worried everyone even more.
Then the calls started to come through. Apparently, somebody had told the local news stations that there was a shooter on campus. The aspiring Civil Engineer beside me started receiving about 10 text messages from friends and family about every five minutes. Everyone was jabbering on their cell phones to roommates, scared to death moms and people they hadn’t heard from in five years.
I stared down at my silent phone for a while, before I decided I had better try to call my people and see if they were okay. After spending five minutes trying to call out, I cursed AT&T Mobility’s lack of experience in handling large quantities of callers focused in one geographic point. I realized finally that even though I couldn’t call out I could text message.
I was pleased to find a voicemail pop up on my phone–No the call had not come through. My brother’s fiance had called me to find out if me and my bro were okay. All she knew is what her mom had told her and being all the way at Transy she couldn’t do anything. I sent her a text message saying that I knew for sure Tom was safe in a computer lab in the next building over, I couldn’t call out and I was safe in a geology lab. In hindsight we were pretty safe because I had some 10% pure hydrochloric acid in bottles in the lab, I could always use that as a weapon. She was relieved to hear we were safe.
AT&T finally was trying to keep up with the abundance of phone calls and I got through to my boyfriend who was at work. My old boss answered and asked me how I was doing, Kentucky curteousy told me to respond “Everything is going great!” She handed me to my beau and I told him that I wanted to talk to him before he heard the news. I told him the deal and said (many times) we were safe. I had forgotten that the husband of my boss worked on the Hill, so she quickly started calling him to make sure he was safe.
I continued organizing the strata in figure 9.19 and reconstructing the geologic timeline between strata A,B,C,Unconformity, D. Then I started feeling slightly more loved, my roommate and her sister called my phone, and my brother. My brother left a message saying “Yeah, I heard there were assassins on the Hill, just wanted to make sure you were avoiding that whole gun-fire thing.” I was the only one on their cell phone who started laughing, and I got a confused look from our slightly nervous TA.
The guy in the front row of our class started (jokingly) bemoaning the fact that his mother hadn’t called to check on him yet. So I made sure that my roommate called my parents and my brother because I was still having difficulty with AT&T.
I was informed that my roommate and her sister were at our apartment chillin’ out and eating lunch. Her sister began to cry out “We wanna be in lockdown too!!” I informed them that are classroom was way too warm to have the door closed. The Pink Girl was wailing about the fact that “Shots were fired near PFT” the dorm in which she was living. She claimed she was going to move out, but I doubt she followed through with this threat.
Our professor came back in periodically, at one point he informed us that they were talking about more cultural appreciation classes, and that interpretive dance should be on the list. He began piroeting and doing erabesques throughout the room and claimed he was Mount St Helen’s erupting. Again, I shall mention the great subtlety of our professor’s technique in calming the troops. At this point our classroom had relaxed so much that they opened the door and people began using the bathroom down the hall.
Allegedly the Hill police and the SWAT team was searching for 4 people wearing black. I told my brother later than when the SWAT team starts looking for 4 A-sexuals wearing rainbow short shorts, and cereal logo t-shirts with orange mohawks I will duck under my table. Because at that point I will know that these are not socially deprived, video-game fanatical, neo-nazi, emo spawn, these are real nutcases.
By the time my 2.5 hour class ended so did our lockdown and I got picked up at the top of the Hill by my roommate. As we drove by the scene of the incident I saw no CAUTION tape, no SWAT stragglers wandering about, it was really quite dull. Just like the movies the bell tower began playing triumphant music to let everyone know that the danger was ALL CLEAR, a nice fair ending to a warm and breezy day.
The students did not quickly forget the scare though, gossip flew like wildfire over campus. There were shooters on both of our campus’ and a 30 person brawl in front of the dorms. Somebody got shot too.
–There were no guns found whatsoever
–There was a physical altercation (with no guns) in front of the dorm, this fight apparently started verbally at the South campus and migrated back to the dorms
–Nobody was shot or killed
–There were no hostages
–Somebody I know was really interviewed and it’s online.
This person was interviewed by WLKY. He’s a compulsive liar and a psychologist…Wonderful mix. If you listen to the sound bite you will hear him mention one of the rumors above twice. It is the last thing he says in the inteview, which plants the seed for rumors to begin. WLKY Carissa Lawson Interviews Joey Hudson
You can also check out the orginal page with the story text as well: http://www.wlky.com/cnn-news/17780051/detail.html
My roommate’s sister dressed up as the Western Shooter for Halloween, everyone was shocked and asked her why she wasn’t black. The weekend after the incident the Hill’s school paper published a photo with a SWAT Man pinning down a black girl and pointing a machine gun at her. The next edition to come out had a correction on the caption of that picture, clarifying that the girl was not being arrested but was being detained for not cooporating….Sure, now that the scare tactic results have worn off.
Thanks for reading :)