The World of Man

March 3, 2006

Update: “On Saturday UNC Director of Public Safety and Police Chief Derek Poarch confirmed that the suspect asserted that his motive was to avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world. There is, however, every indication that he acted alone. Chief Poarch assures me that there is no evidence whatsoever that the suspect acted in concert with anyone.”

Today was a very interesting day. A day that showed both sides of the image of mankind.

I ran into one of my students just outside the library on the UNC campus. Actually she’s more than just a student because I’ve known her for about 10 years. She’s the daughter of a good friend of my wife. Bright young lady, with some amazing talent for knowing what she wants in life and how to go after it. She’s been all over the world on anthroloplogical digs and she’s only just turned 21. Great, great young woman. I always like talking to her because she’s interesting and interested. While she is just 21, she’s extremely mature (sounds like a cliche but it’s true) and when you’re talking with her you have the very distinct feeling that she enjoys being a part of the conversation, she wants to learn from what you’re saying and at the same time can share and contribute her own great ideas. Just a pleasure to be around.

That’s the good.

Next thing we know, two kids come barely around the corner at break neck speed. One trips over the edge of the brick walkway and sprawls out, practically at our feet. It breaks the heat of our conversation and we both can’t help but stare in wonder at what these two are doing. They’re extremely agitated and the one pushes back to his feet in pursuit of the other. At first I thought that were fighting. But shortly we learned the grim truth.

The second one gives up on the chase and slows up. He yells at us, “Did you see it!!??? Did you see it???” Logan and I are both a bit stunned and have no idea what he’s talking about. He’s a little worked up and I’m bracing myself for a confrontation.

“No,” I say, “we didn’t see it. We’re not real sure what it is, though to be honest.”

The kid is winded, and by now I’ve recognized the anxiety in his eyes is not from anger or frustration, but from fear. He points in the direction is cohort headed, “A car just barrelled through the pit at about 25 mph. It hit about 5 students.”

The pit is the common area that students hang out in between classes. It’s completely inaccessible to traffic, it’s tantamount to being in the middle of a park with no roads. Logan and I are both stunned. “What?” She says, her mouth agape.

The kid nods, “Yeah, it came out of nowhere just plunged into the crowd (at any given time there are roughly 50-300 students in the pit. Since it was right at lunch it was definitely closer to 300.)

“Did anyone get the make and model? License?” I asked as I started to head toward the pit. I’m CPR and First Aid qualified and if the sirens were any indication off in the distance, the EMTs weren’t here just yet.

“Yeah, it was a silver toyota 4-runner. Didn’t get the license but someone must’ve.”

At that point a small group of young female students was coming down the path. One was crying steadily, sucking in sobs. She was terrified. I went over and asked her if she was okay. She sputtered out several things about the car and how it had just missed her and if she hadn’t turned to go into one of the student stores, it would have plowed right over her.

Her friends were all a bundle of nerves. I got her to sit down for a minute and talk to me. It seemed to help calm her but the tears were still coming.

It takes all kinds I tell you. On the one hand, you have all these wonderful young students full of life and taking life by the horns. On the other, you’ve got idiots who decide a joy ride through a crowded public area is …. well, what? What is it. What could bring someone to do this?

The World of Man.