Reading the news, it’s extremely easy to feel jaded. Every day someone is hurt, schools never have enough money, and Donald Trump does something offensive. It doesn’t take that much insight to guess what topics will surface.
But on Monday, there were “violent threats” against “a Philadelphia university”. Violent threats? What violent threats? No idea. A Philadelphia university? What Philadelphia university? Again, no idea.
So when there are violent threats against a Philadelphia university, and your fiancé happens to attend classes at a Philadelphia university, you start to really pay attention to the news.
And in my case, you have a panic attack.
I tend to be a worst-case scenario type of person. So naturally, I started assuming that if L went to class, he wasn’t coming home that day. I couldn’t get that thought out of my head.
He was thinking that he should go to class. After all, he had missed the last class due to fleeing the Pope, and was eager to be part of the conversation.
He happened to have class at 2 pm, the exact time that these “violent threats” were supposed to occur. And that scared me absolutely to death.
I couldn’t shake the fact that I would never see him again. I didn’t actually tell him to skip class, however, I kept rambling on about how one class in the grand scheme of classes wouldn’t make a real difference. I couldn’t shake this feeling that something terrible would happen. It certainly wasn’t my most dignified argument. There were lots of tears.
He didn’t end up going to class – his professor pre-empted fears such as this, and gave the students an option of completing an extra homework assignment instead. I hope that other professors did this as well, as no universities in Philly closed.
In the end, nothing violent happened at any Philadelphia university yesterday.
Brian Buttler, a professor in Philadelphia, wrote: “I realize[d] that bullets won out over brains today, that it has become a world where we fear getting an education because we might get shot, or stabbed, or blown up in the process.”
The university students in Philly were safe. My love was safe. But what about the days when there is no warning? Like in Oregon, where people went to class as normal and never came back home?
The bottom line is that you can’t ever predict when something bad is going to happen. And that’s particularly stressful when you have so many people in your life to worry about.
It’s enough thinking that they could suddenly have a heart attack or slip and fall and break their neck, but to be worried when someone goes to a class is completely ludicrous.
Just like worrying when someone goes to church for prayer.
Or worrying when a kid goes to elementary school.
Is no place really safe anymore? No place at all?
Of course at the end of the day, this blog post really hasn’t done anything to solve the problem. As President Obama said in his address after the Oregon shooting, “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage being repeated somewhere else in America.”
Still, I have to say something. Because being jaded isn’t working for any of us.