[story from Portland Cacophony Society mailing list member "Lance from France", as none of the online stories have any information anymore]
A man went to attend a Yoga class at Linn Benton Community College this morning, wearing a plain ordinary grey trenchcoat. It was not even black, like the ones in the movie THE MATRIX.
Yet, the sight of him caused a complete panic on the campus this morning. A student imagined that he was carrying something under the coat, perhaps a sawed off shotgun. The Linn County Sheriff's Emergency Response team rushed to the college, as well as city police officers from both Corvallis and Lebanon. The school was put in a complete lockdown.
Well, the police quickly tracked him down, and burst into the Yoga class with drawn pistols and assault rifles. It turns out the man was unarmed,
and had nothing on him. But he was immediately taken away under police escort for further questioning as to why he was wearing a trenchcoat on campus. There was video footage on TV from a news helicopter showing theofficers with him as he was being escorted. His car was also searched, but nothing was found in it either.
Although there is no indication at this time that any real threat everexisted, the college announced that it will stay in lockdown until 4:30pm today, effectively shutting the school down the entire day. Police are continuing to sweep the school as a precaution, and checking for nearby donut stands.
During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on locked door.
After the lights went out, about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said.
"I was like, 'Oh My God,' " she said. "At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out."
The first instance was a completely imagined threat blown way out of proportion by panicked school officials. The second was school officials LYING to clueless students about an imagined threat. Which one is getting all the press coverage? Which one is more outrageous?
Sure, the teachers in the second story used bad judgement and probably ought to be reprimanded somehow, but the poor guy in the first story did absolutely nothing wrong, yet was detained and questioned by the cops, and an entire school was shut down for the day. Over NOTHING
I have lots of outrage to share around, but most of it goes out towards the people behind story #1. These "better safe than sorry" reactions have got to stop.
Oh, and stop telling kids there are things to be scared of when you know perfectly well you just made them up.