Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Killing At The University


                                  (UCLA June 1, 2016)  

This morning, while I was at the library at UCLA, the police announced there was an "active shooter" on campus, and all about 70,000 people on campus got locked in where ever they happened to be. The police call taking this precaution "lockdown".

Everyone checked the internet for news. 2 people had been killed in the Engineering building. No details. 

In the library, the student security service went around the floors ordering everyone into the bathrooms and meeting rooms. I drifted off down the stacks of books before anyone could try to herd me into these small spaces. 

A student I passed going the opposite direction asked me why I seemed so calm. I answered that it looked like the police were deliberately not giving out any information so as to create panic. Literally hundreds of police from all over the city were now on campus. You could hear shouting from outside the library even up on the 5th floor where we were.

I went on with reading (the novel "Elizabeth" by Coetzee, the South African writer). A few minutes later, a SWAT team in riot gear (helmets, armored vests, etc.) moved through the aisles of books on the 5th floor, rifles in their hands. The library's own uniformed security guard arrived saying that there had been a report of "shots fired" on the 5th floor of the library.

Internet news reported that police were emptying the engineering building of students, ordering them out "their hands held in the air". 2 hours later student library security staff arrived on the 5th floor to announce that a SWAT member was outside and wanted everyone to leave the library. That turned out to be untrue. True instead was the "lockdown" was over and people could leave. No more information was given. 

It was another hour before the police revealed to the news media that "apparently" there had been a murder suicide; there was some kind of note. Now 5 hours later the police still have not said more.

On the basis of 2 dead bodies being found in the engineering building, along with an apparent suicide note, 70,000 people got locked in buildings and led to believe they were in utmost peril. In many buildings students had barricaded themselves in classrooms blocking up the doors and windows with furniture.