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Paranoia, Paranoia

October 8, 2008 - Wes Burns
Everybody's coming to get me!

Paranoia indeed. For those Strangers out there living away from M-Town I'm going to fill you in about some breaking local news.

Remember how we all had early dismissal on Wednesdays? If you don't then let me remind you: on Wednesdays everybody gets out of school an hour early. This extra hour was always a reprieve from the doldrums that is Hump Day so everybody looked forward to it. Unless of course you had to wait for a ride.

I can remember a lot of Wednesday afternoons where we would have that ubiquitous hour where we were free from school but couldn't leave due to lack of ride/friends with cars/spinning our wheels until after school activities. A lot of times this hour would be used to converse with friends, walk over to Hastings (when that was still around) or meet for some kind of extra curricular.

Why wasn't Marshalltown able to keep a Hastings? It was a great store for last minute gift purchases and over-priced DVD collections. I believe their downfall was giving away free coffee. Since nothing makes a kid feel older than drinking coffee, and coupled with their close proximity to MHS, the book section was flooded with kids sipping hazelnut coffee with 4 creamers all the while not bothering to read, let alone purchase, a single book.

Hasting's failure aside the free hour on a Wednesday lets students do a lot of things. Some kids even used the time to get into trouble: drinking, vandalism, cavorting...all the usual clandestine activities.

Today the school went on lockdown after a custodian reported seeing a black handled gun. The custodian called the principle who called the police who surrounded the school like they had found Bin Laden. I'm talking cops, sirens, and adding Iowa credibility to the whole situation-New Chopper 13.

With the helicopter hovering overhead and the eyes and ears of all the gawkers upon them the police began to search for this weapon. They got the name of the kid they suspected. They found the room he was meeting in. Then they found...his Bible.

That's right. The student, Andy Worsfold, is a former graduate of MHS and had come back to his high school to attend a Bible study group being held after school hours. Somehow either his Bible or his hat, the only two items he carried according to his mother, was mistaken for a gun.

How, exactly?

At first I laughed at the situation. A lot. Of all the kids to bum rush: the Bible study? Where they going to make some threatening assumptions about Paul's letters? Maybe a radical discussion about Judges?

I don't blame the police for getting all geared up for nothing. They were told there was a weapon and reacted accordingly. And good job to M-Town PD for being on the ball.

Far and away the most disturbing thing about the deadly-Bible incident was the public reaction. The comment board here at the TR (Home on the Ill-Informed Rant) lit up with people claiming that they were relieved that the situation turned out okay. How wouldn't it have turned out okay? It was a Bible!

The rest of the Commentators That Tact Forgot seemed to have confused MHS with Michelle Pfeiffer's school in "Dangerous Minds". People talking about being afraid to walk down the halls? At MHS? "Oh, it's gotten so bad in the last couple years. Kids are terrible nowadays!" Every time I hear this argument I see an old man on his front porch screaming at kids to get off his lawn. I remember not wanting to go down the hallway by wood shop but not out of fear of my life but rather fear that the overwhelming smell of stale beer cans would prevent me from making it to my next class on time.

People get paranoid. I just don't know why but people here in M-Town seem to have it worse than others; maybe that's just because I live here that I notice it more. But this is ridiculous. And if tomorrow someone asks you about the lockdown tell them that over reaction is always more dangerous than under reaction.

And if they ask where you got that: just say you never met me.


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