In the early hours of Tuesday September 28, the ivory clock tower of the University of Texas at Austin was again the setting for chaos- an unknown number of shooters appeared on campus, driving the Texas National Guard to action with an armed military vehicle. The initial “report” issued to students and faculty VIA text message stated that there was at least one shooter sited across one of the major dorms and other(s) outside the Calhoun building.
Luckily, the shooting did not pose a big enough threat to send any Austin-area schools into red alert, but several of MacArthur’s students and faculty felt the repercussions sever the approximately 90 mile distance.
Class of 2010 MacArthur graduate Ryan Laskowski (UT class of 2014) feels the media exacerbated the danger; saying “The media coverage didn’t help. They took every piece of hearsay and turned it into an official report. Hours were wasted searching for a second gunman thanks to irresponsible rumor-mongering. Further, the sheer force of effort brought against a single gunman who was known to have committed suicide was astounding. The rought in an armored personnel transport AFTER the gunman was reported dead, on the off-chance that an unconfirmed second was hiding somewhere.”
Senior Hannah Beck disagrees, her sister Olivia (class of 2009) attends UT’s engineering program and feels that the administration “did the best they could do for her in the situation”, adding that “they handled the situation quickly and effectively, putting the campus on lockdown pretty quickly.”
Olivia Beck, though, paints a grim picture, saying “Most people are still talking about it but they’re taking it as a joke. No one seems to know or care that a person took his own life on Tuesday… [I think] that people acting so lighthearted about a school shooting is sickening”.
UT graduate (class of ’85) Madame Amy King agrees, her daughter Becca is currently a student at UT and her son Andrew is a class of 2010 graduate. Having received a mass- text on Tuesday morning from the administration, she says “[it was] the most amazing thing to me! It kept me from panicking… I was just so impressed with that! I would have gone into a blind panic had it not been for the phone tree.”
While the student body may not be handling this humanely, after all is said and done, the only casualty was the shooter. The students’ hats are tipped to you, UT administration.
As for our district- Principal, Dr. Bobbie Turnbo, states that the district will have the same communication capacity within the next four months, “It puts us way ahead the curve on emergency situations,” she says, “but my hopes are that we’ll never have to use it”.