I guess I spoke too soon. The other day I was telling you how we'd happily found a university library to work in, thus breaking the monotony of hanging out at mom's condo. The very next day we went, the University of South Carolina locked down on reports of shots fired. Denise immediately Tweeted a photo (shown above) of the steel gate that slid down, effectively trapping us inside the special collections library, where we'd gone to access some research materials. Within seconds, she was contacted by a reporter at CNN, asking for an interview. Another reporter from ABC wrote to ask if they could use the photo. Weird world we live in.
Wi-fi was still up, so I poked around trying to get more info, but it was sparse. Police and SWAT had closed off major streets in the city surrounding the School of Public Health, where the shooting took place. Students all over the campus were doing the same thing I was doing—taking to social media to describe their experiences.
From my seat in the special collections reading room, I could peer through the gate into the central floor of the main library. Moments earlier, it was packed with students; now it was deserted.
And then, about an hour later, the cops and university gave the all-clear sign, and school was back to normal. Students flowed out of the elevators and resumed their positions with their laptops, phones, coffees, and sandwiches. I gather they had all been ushered to "safer" rooms on other floors, away from the library's glass entryway.
By then the media was reporting that a murder-suicide had occurred. A few of my Tweets ended up Storified in the Charleston Paper's coverage. The Columbia city paper detailed the slaying of a professor by his former wife.
I was impressed by how quickly the university acted. I've never been in a situation like that. Hope it's the last.
Sidenote: This library recently acquired Elmore Leonard's papers. I'm told they're not yet accessioned. I'm working on getting a peek.