Oh! America!

Earlier this morning, I received a text alert from my school that the school delayed opening until 11am due to bad weather, which meant that all the morning classes were canceled. But, of course my classes were in the afternoon, so I had to go to school anyway. The school alerts are very accurate. When notifications are sent out, they are usually true. I trust them. So, I chilled out at home, did my homework, worked out, and prepared my lunch box. The weather was so depressing with freezing rain in the morning and rain all day and I mean all day.

Anyway, I got to school for my first class at noon. As usual, I sat in front of the door. At first everything went so well. We had a quiz, group work, discussion, and the professor started lecturing. Then, a girl in my class kept looking back and forth between the door and her cell phone. I wondered what was wrong with her? Why she kept looking at the closed door behind me with a worried look on her face? She raised her hand in the middle of the lecture, interrupting the professor and announcing that she got an alert warning of “firearms on campus.” Everyone looked awkward after hearing the “firearms on campus.” The first thing that came to my mind was that somebody was shooting people outside.

My professor remained so calm. He instructed us to lock the door, turn off the lights, silence our cell phones, and close the blinds of the windows. So, we did all the things that he told us. At this point, the classroom was dark, and everyone had moved to the corner of the room far away from the door. It was so quiet. Everyone was with their phones, and I too, I looked up my best friend, Google. I googled “firearms in Montgomery County.” Nothing showed up. So, I googled again “shooting in Montgomery County today.” Nothing showed up on my screen about shooting in my school area today.

I was not sure if it was a real thing or a joke because I didn’t get the text nor did my professor. But, some students had received the text. I freaked out. I was scared. I just sat there with all the “if” questions in my head. I knew about gun shootings in the U.S. that accrued at schools. Those were terrible tragedies. And, this afternoon, I experienced that fear. I thought somebody was out there shooting people in the hall. Maybe he would reach my classroom soon. It was a terrible feeling. I had not felt that way for years. But, you know what happened next? After about 10 minutes in the dark and silent classroom, another student in my classroom laughed out loud and said that it was an “error.” For God’s sake, an “error” of a text alert about firearms? I got so mad. I didn’t understand how someone could make such an error. It was not a joke, it was life and death. It is not April 1st, it is only early February.

Then, I was relieved. So, we turned on the lights, went back to our seats, and continued the class as if nothing had happened earlier that hour. But, the door remained locked until the end of class.

PS: The next day, I received an email from the school apologizing for the erroneous alert which was due to a human error. I guess it is so dangerous to have a red botton to push.


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