Friday, June 6, 2014

Close to Home

The instant that Aaron Ybarra's face flashed across the television screen, I recognized him.  I'd seen this young man dozens of time, passing him in the corridor at the college where I teach and he studied.  His family live in the same suburban neighborhood that I do. He always looked like a nice enough kid, perhaps a bit more unkempt than average.  I never spoke with him, but we exchanged friendly smiles at least once.

Apparently he'd had a history with the local police for minor, non-violent offenses and been taken to the local hospital for "evaluation," but there seemed no reason to believe he was a potential danger to himself or others.

Chatting about the case in the elevator with another teacher, I remarked (not for the first time) that maybe we needed to think about locking our classrooms while teaching.  An instructor from another department jumped in, told me to "chill out" and said something to the effect that I was fear-mongering.  Then she flounced off, her sandals slapping the floor as she strode down the hall.  I was a bit stung by her response.  

I'll admit I can be something of a "nervous nellie."  Perhaps I do suffer from a degree of PTSD, having, years ago in Teheran, experienced shots being aimed in my direction and seen slogans painted in blood on my garden wall.  Blithely turning a corner to find oneself facing the business end of a row of firing rifles leaves a person with a certain degree of hyper-vigilance, and an enduring awareness that awful things can happen most randomly.

Of course the possibility of being caught in an event like the shootings yesterday is scary, however remote the statistical probability.  Some people like me respond by anxiously pre-calculating how to reduce the odds; some people respond with angry denial. Meanwhile, the official administrative recommendations (to run away if possible, hide if escape is not possible, and fight if cornered) are so obvious that they hardly justify communicating.  

Not to mention that they seem to ignore the fact that the only reason that the shooter's tally wasn't greater was because at least one person on the scene did not follow the "official guidelines," but instead risked his own life by overpowering Ybarra, wrestling him to the ground, and subduing him with pepper spray until police arrived.


  1. A small correction, isn't his name Aaron Ybarra? There are a lot of Adam Ybarras out there, so don't confuse them with the actually guilty person.

    That said, the guy who brought him down, Jon Meis, is a legit hero IMO. The death toll coulda been much higher if Mr. Meis hadn't stepped in. I hope they give him a good reward for what he did, he's certainly earned it.

    1. And also: yes and yes. Thanks for identifying the 'legit hero' here. Where would we be without brave spirits like Jon Meis?

  2. lol you should do a post on this cinzia:

    Fuck humanity

    1. Every time I read that only ten percent of men are getting access to all the "fertile" women, I think, "What planet do these guys live on?" Almost everyone I know is married and almost all of them have produced the requisite 2.4 offspring. There aren't many Ottoman sultans or rogue Mormons in my neck of the woods.

      And every time I read that women are responsible for motivating men to achieve all the great things that men achieve, I think, "Fuck you: inspiring your poetry is not my job. Now quit your bitchin' -- I have my own poetry to write."


Thanks for commenting!