Wednesday, June 3, 2009

All Clear

Don't worry, FatherBlog. TigerBlog's okay.

TigerBlog was in the middle of a conference call discussing the first year of the NCAA's men's lacrosse statistician's manual, which TB had helped put together last year. The group was talking about issues such as whether or not to give a ground ball to a defenseman who gains possession during a flag down situation when an email arrived explaining that a gunman was loose on the Princeton campus.

No other details were included, other than the rather obvious advice to lock the doors and stay inside. About an hour later, a follow up email came announcing simply "all clear."

The hour between the emails was one of eerie silence, broken by some nervous humor. There was also lots of speculation, either that the incident was on the other side of campus or a hoax. Even now, little is known about it, other than it appears to be over and people are starting to come out of buildings.

TB stopped off this morning at TigerBlog Jr.'s middle school for an event, and it conjured up memories of attending public school by the Jersey Shore in the 1970s. At no point during any of that time, or even during four years the University of West Philadelphia, did TigerBlog ever consider the possiblity of a "gunman on campus."

Princeton's campus is an open one in almost every way, and that's one of the great parts of this school. To walk around here is to feel in many ways insulated from trouble, from the problems that could arise in this modern world in major cities not very far from here or from the news stories that too often occur about school shootings here or there. TB is sure the people at Virginia Tech felt the same sort of insulation, before their horrific experience of several years ago.

While it was all unfolding, TigerBlog stopped to consider the possibility that someone would be coming down the balcony with a gun, randomly shooting. Even with the reports of what was going on, it didn't seem possible. TB even joked during the call. "If something happens and TigerBlog doesn't make it, make sure you guys get rid of game-winning goal. It doesn't reflect what it's supposed to."

So now it's a little after noon, and things here are getting back to normal. A Columbine-Virginia Tech situation, mercifully, never unfolded. There's still a bit of unease around, of course. Over time, it'll drift back to that feeling of comfort and insulation.

TigerBlog will go back to writing about the subjects he usually does, such as what today's was going to be about. It was going to start out with the question of which Princeton alum in the Major Leagues has the better ERA and then say it was a trick question, since Chris Young and Ross Ohlendorf, who both pitch tonight, have the same 4.55 ERA. TB was going to throw in something about how Princeton baseball coach Scott Bradley said that Will Venable was on his way back to the Padres from Triple-A, where it seemed like he hit a home run or two every game.

And then the first email came. And the morning changed.

As for this afternoon, TigerBlog's two new favorite words are "all clear."

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