The last time I wrote about death, I rubbed my eyes so hard my sight started to blur.
My head was pulsating and my throat became dry.
It physically encompassed me, and I still hadn’t typed anything on the page yet.
I’ve realized that ever so often, I’m reminded of death in both subtle and extreme ways.
Yesterday was the brink of the pendulum swing.
At 8 a.m. I said bye to my roommate on the bus and got off at the bus stop on the corner of 21st St. and Whitis Ave., in front of the Dobie dormitory. I’ll be honest – I was too lazy to walk to work.
I kept trekking on 21st, with my feet shuffling towards the Main Tower, as if already programmed to do so.
I crossed in front of Littlefield fountain, trying to remember what assignments were due, trying to file away everything I was responsible for that day. Up the Six-Pack, like always, to the Tower. I was in the office in 3 minutes.
After working for about 15 min., I received the same text that thousands of other students received – that a shooter was on campus and everyone needed to stay put. Then I heard sirens wail, a man’s voice spewing out some inaudible words. I didn’t feel the jolt of nervousness that people would usually feel. I was three floors up – no one could come near me. It didn’t feel real.
If the timeline of events are correct, the shooter, reported as wearing all black with a ski mask, started firing shots from his AK-47 at 21st St. and Whitis Ave., before 8:10 a.m. Witnesses said he was waving at them and smiling, and fired another round of bullets at 8:15 a.m., opposite Littlefield fountain.
My mind still can’t wrap around it fully. I had just strode on the exact same pavement that he was sprinting on, with only a few minutes apart. I didn’t hear anything. I didn’t see anything. And Thank God I didn’t.
He didn’t hurt anyone physically. But I’m certain he hurt people mentally. The aftermath of this tragedy has the UT community split between those pitying the obviously maniacal math major and those glad he’s off the face of this earth. And those that are of course apathetic – they got a free day without classes and that’s all that matters.
I’m on the side regretting that this guy didn’t seek help. He probably thought it was all too much, and he didn’t know how to deal. Or maybe no one listened. Or he didn’t think anyone would understand.
And now, I apologize in advance for being so emotionally preachy, but this sort of thing isn’t something you brush off your shoulder. Again, it’s a reminder that life is short and can be taken away in a moment of desperation.
If you know someone or you yourself have thought about suicide, browse these sites. They can help: