Thursday, September 30, 2010

Code Red: A Spoiler Slips Past

I still check email. I do this even though email (as has been noted by many) tends to make us technological serfs.

Seven days a week, multiple times per day, it sends us into the in-box fields to harvest spams and other missives for low personal wages while we pay the high cost of all the time that is excised from our lives. That said, the Van Winkle Project has never been about removing email from my life.

Necessary evil and all that.

But email just gave a sudden jolt to my placid news-less, weather-less, sports-less, entertainment-less sleep. I opened a message from our university president. Why not? Technically he's my boss. The subject line was innocent: A Message From.

Here's what I read...

To faculty and staff:
Monday's shooting incident on the The University of Texas at Austin campus is an unfortunate but timely reminder about the importance of emergency preparedness.

No, no, wait! What shooting? I'm not supposed to know anything about that kind of thing until Sept. 11, 2011!

The rest of the email was benign. Information on how our institution is prepared if, worse case, some horrible act of violence takes place in our midst.

A tiny ding had been made in my peace of mind and complacency . And that dent wanted to enlarge into a full-blown hole. I panted to know more.

Who got shot? Was anyone killed? Who was the shooter? Why did he do it? Why is it always, always a "he"?

The fragment of information I now owned was like stooping down and picking up an empty shell casing in the middle of the street. All I knew was what that shiny brass cylinder I held in my hand silently implied. A weapon had been fired. The missing lead bullet that had once snuggly fit into the casing had traveled in the direction of a fellow human being at a velocity capable of causing it to do terrible damage.

I assume most readers of this blog--even without being news addicts like myself--know more than I do about what happened at the University of Texas on Monday. One way or another news travels. Which leaves me curious about one other matter.

Are you glad you know? - V.M.

1 comment:

  1. I do not watch TV news - in fact I really don't know the last time I turned my TV on except to watch a Netflix movie. I have barebones cable in Houston to have access to breaking pictoral info about our occasional hurricanes! I do selectively read & listen on the Internet, to NPR radio, enjoy email and Facebook with family and friends. Late in the afternoon I signed on to FB and saw a post from my niece that was my alert. I'm not Rip van Winkle but at age 77 I work to keep up healthy boundaries about what I take in. By the way, I am enjoying and keeping up with your blog!