Hit or Miss

In which Matt reflects where he was five years ago today… Where were you five years ago?

I was a Junior in college at a small university in a small town. We always joked about the “DePauw Bubble,” the phenomenon in which we would get caught up in our busy lives on campus and be oblivious to what was going on in the outside world. Our campus paper only came out twice a week. I didn’t subscribe to the local paper. I didn’t have a TV. I didn’t have web access on campus.

I just happened to be walking through our campus media center and passed the television, which was always tuned to CNN, when a report came on that the Federal Building in Oklahoma City had just been bombed. I instantly stopped in my tracks, as did the few other people in the lobby. There were just a few clips of initial footage, but it was enough to scare the bejesus out of me.

I half-remembered that I had a uncle who worked in Oklahoma City for the local government. I raced home and called my mom to ask her if he would have been in the building. Fortunately, he and his family had moved elsewhere two years earlier (see, I really got into that “bubble” during college).

For the next few days, I stayed shocked. I asked people around campus what they thought about the bombing. Many of them, even days later, heard about it for the first time when I asked them.

But sadly, the day I think I’ll most remember is the Columbine School Massacre.

My younger brother had recently entered a phase of wearing black trenchcoats. A hunting fan, he’d often come home from school and go downstairs to his makeshift basement shooting range. My parents had caught him with marijuana not a few weeks or so earlier.

When I began to hear all circumstances surrounding Columbine, I have to admit I thought of my brother. I hope Columbine shook him up a little. At least he doesn’t wear that trenchcoat anymoer.