Yesterday was one that the people of Columbus, Ohio would rather forget. It often sounds cliché but it truly does not feel real until it happens to you. Students were just returning from a holiday break in which many of the 60,000 students returned home to celebrate with friends and family. Many were still riding the emotional high of the double overtime victory that the Buckeyes provided over Michigan. Unfortunately, this Monday was not going to go quite like the rest.
An attacker rammed his car into a crowd of pedestrians outside of Watts Hall on the campus of Ohio State University. As he got out of his car he then began to attack people with what has been reported as a butcher's knife. Due to a swift and immediate response, OSU Police Officer Alan Horujko neutralized the threat and saved countless individuals from more injury and potentially death.
As a former student of Ohio State, yesterday was a tough experience. I spent an incredible amount of days and nights at Watts Hall and around the general area of the crime scene. I have the privilege of knowing some wonderful people who work on and around the campus area. In fact, my roommate was right across the street from the Lane Avenue garage which was one of the hot spots of activity around campus.
Anyone who has had the honor of attending Ohio State will tell you that it is more than football and tailgating. At Ohio State you meet people that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Drawing on my own experiences, I have met most of my friends through the old apartment building I lived at for two years, and I still keep in contact with most of them. My professors were wonderful as well as they genuinely care about your success or your failure and they want to help you every step of the way.
That being said, I did something that I never hoped or pray that I would have to do, much less see my friends do it. I "checked-in safe" on Facebook. This feature was introduced last year as a part of the terror attacks in France and it allows your family and friends to know that you have eluded danger and made it to a safe location. I always thought that was an excellent feature, and useful if the situation called for it. Things started to become real when I had a friend use it the night of the Pulse shooting in Orlando and she marked herself safe. That night is was a bit too close for comfort.
The second that I heard of the events on campus, I began to make phone calls to account for my friends and my loved ones. Thankfully, everyone was present and accounted for. I began to see other folks marking themselves as safe and I began to rest a bit easier, but I noticed a few missing which became alarming. Thankfully, they marked themselves safe or returned the text message that I sent them.
Regardless of your political leanings, please let the investigators do their job and make their conclusions. I saw a ton of false reporting and ignorance from people on twitter and reddit. Many were quick to perpetuate hate towards certain groups of people and that isn't what is going to help us all heal. We need to take this one day at a time and show everyone why Columbus is one of the best cities in the midwest. Be kind to one another, love one another and for goodness sakes hold a door open for someone today. Just be nice, and tell your family you love them.