Thank you Twitter. Because of you, I found out on Monday morning while eating a bagel and drinking coffee before going to the gym that a man had committed suicide at my college alma mater. I didn’t even know that I followed UCF on Twitter, honestly. Probably because I had never really seen (or payed that much attention to) their tweets. But this one… it really reeled me in.
Next tweet: Tower 1 is still evacuated.
Tower 1? That was built, and opened my first year at UCF. It’s evacuated because someone committed suicide?
Next tweet: UCF classes are cancelled until noon.
Ummm…what? Classes had never been cancelled the entire four years I was there. Oh wait, I take that back. There was hurricane — what was it — Charley? No. Umm… Some hurricane I don’t even remember its name. Anyway, the point is that classes were cancelled until noon and I had NEVER heard of that happening.
It’s an interesting thing, what happens when news first breaks. We the public hear bits and pieces of information in the beginning. Officials/police/whoever are only telling so much, and therefore we are only hearing so little. These little pieces are like little pieces of bait — they attract us to it, but at the same time, it’s just not the whole thing and we don’t know what the whole thing is, yet. And humans are curious in nature, so we keep tuning in for more.
And boy, is Twitter just perfect for bait. 140 characters of bait, to be exact.
I didn’t know much. A man had committed suicide in Tower 1 was just about all I knew. And it’s sad whenever someone commits suicide, let’s be honest.
But then more bait came as the day went on. And I hear more and more of the real story. What really happened. And what really [apparently] led this man to commit suicide in his dorm. And oh my goodness, I did not like what I was hearing.
Maybe it’s because I was really upset over the Sandy Hook shooting, and I’m frankly still trying to process that one. Most of the world may have moved on already, but I know those parents are still grieving the loss of their children. And then I find out, against all odds in this world — there may have been a planned mass shooting at my former college? REALLY?
I guess it’s not that surprising, when you think about the amount of people that go to UCF. When I first arrived at UCF in 2005, they had just under 40,000 students. That was a lot back then. Then, when I graduated four years later, there were 50,000. Now, the enrollment is 60,000. It is officially the largest university in the United States and also, just to throw this out there, the number one least rigorous university in the United States. Yay.
So when you have a college that is as big as a small Tennessee town just north of Nashville (Clarksville, to be exact) where I used to live, the chances of having a psycho within that populous are higher.
But gosh, this whole thing has been bothering me for days.
I’m still skeptical on whether or not this person actually planned on killing anyone — because you never know with these people. Maybe he just made it look like he was going to do that so he would get national recognition for his suicide? We all know these people love the attention they get when they do this. If there was no “plan” discovered for a possible massacre, he’d just be another person that committed suicide in his room. Unfortunately there are a lot of those and yes, while they do make the news, they certainly don’t become the top story on “World News Tonight” two nights in a row.
But, no matter what, when you buy thousands of rounds of ammunition, have multiple guns, a check list ending with “good luck and give them hell” — you can’t help but think, geez, this could have been very, very bad.
Now that I have more than just little pieces of information, and I hear (what appears to be, at the moment) the whole story, I feel absolutely disgusted, and sad. But also thankful because there were things that happened that were absolutely God’s doing and seriously, THANK GOD.
My only questions, beside “Why would someone do this” which is the obvious question, would have to be: 1) what was a 30-year-old doing living on campus in a dorm? And, 2) What made him “change his mind” and not fire that gun at his roommate?
The fact of the matter is, if he had shot his roommate, there would have been much more destruction. He could have taken another life besides his own, at least, and possibly gone into the hallway and shot more (like what they think was his plan when setting off the fire alarm).
After reading more about it this week, I also feel as if he really did pick the right person NOT to shoot. As obvious and crazy as that may sound — it’s true. This roommate, from what I’ve pieced together (from reading the news and also doing some web-sleuthing of my own), was in the Air Force and is now at UCF [probably] on the GI Bill. He has military training, he’s been in the presence of guns, and he’s been around violence before (all things that your average college, and particularly UCF, student just don’t have experience with). I’ve also found that those who enlist in the military, or are officers, or go to military academies (or just any young adult in the military in general) mature very, very quickly. This man was all of those. And he was the one that called 911. His military training, history, and background were the reason that he was calm on the 911 call. It’s the reason he hid in his bathroom and away from the door and the shared wall, where he was afraid he could possibly be fired at by this man. It’s the reason, frankly, that the police came in time to stop it.
There could not have been a better person to be in this position if you ask me. Arabo Babakhani, or “BK” as I’ve heard you go by, if you’re reading this, I can say with absolute confidence and certainty that you a hero and a excellent representation of this nation’s great military. You did everything exactly right. And you’re incredibly brave.
What made this situation even more real to me was watching the 10-minute long police video of the UCF police raiding the dorm to find James’ lifeless body on the floor. It was morbid, but it was unedited and it was real. So real. And so sad, at the same time. I feel sad for him and for his family, really, because my real question is, what could be so bad in your life that this is what you decide to do? I just don’t understand it. I can’t begin to comprehend it all — but it is so, so upsetting to me that he chose to do this to himself and to his family. (And that goes for every other shooter that is responsible for taking so many innocent lives) Just watching that video, and seeing the lower half of his body on the floor of the dorm next to a small hand gun, and a huge rifle near the door, with the blood splatter on the wall, his television still playing and the horrible florescent light on overhead, and the fire alarm still blaring — that was a terrible sight and an image I can’t get rid of. It is all so sad to me, but I also realize it could have been so much worse.
I’ll conclude this ramble by offering one piece of advice: do not watch that police video.