I drove to the parking lot and parked, and saw a man walking through the lot. He was around 50 years old, so not your traditional student. And he was wearing a green army jacket–not typical of faculty. He didn’t seem to be DOING anything in particular, I just thought he looked out of place. But really, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice under normal circumstances. The real thing that caught my attention was what he carried. He didn’t have a back-pack or a brief case or any kind of binder of notebook, or even a rake or something that screamed student, staff, or maintenance. All he had was a crow bar. And he walked down the row of cars, and sort of meandered further into the middle of the parking lot, instead of the road or exit he had initially been approaching.
And I thought he looked like he could try to break into cars, smash windshields, or worse shoot up a campus. He just didn’t seem to fit the environment. And I thought some desperate homeless person or veteran with terrible PTSD could have come from the train tracks behind us or from downtown very nearby the campus. I didn’t especially WANT to find out what he was doing, and being the only person in the vicinity I did not want to become victim #1, so as I walked I kept an eye on him. Even through he was now sort of behind me, I just ignored the flashcards in my hand and glanced back every few steps. And he watched me too. So I was a little suspicious and unnerved.
I didn’t want to over-react in any way, and certainly I was not alarmed at this point. BUT if the guy was up to something or intended on some horrible crime, I didn’t want to be that person that everyone interviewed afterward who looks all dumb. Dumb because they saw something that wasn’t right, realized it, then ignored it and let tragedy ensue. So I planned on reporting the incident (or non-incident as the case may be) to the front desk when I got inside the school.
But before I made it, there were 2 guys who looked like part of the school’s landscaping crew. I said excuse me and asked if there was a third man working with them–which confused them greatly. So I just mentioned the unusual man carrying the crow bar through yellow parking. I didn’t want a scene or anything, in case the man had been doing something perfectly legit, but I didn’t think it would hurt for someone to ask him what was up either. And I think landscaping headed over there to check it out, but I’m not sure if they followed up. So I didn’t report it to anyone else–that felt like over-kill. And luckily, no one shot up, bombed, or vandalized the school that I know of.