The other day I was on a rant about the dangers of grief porn. Today I ran across an article that illustrates my point.
For some context, Exeter is a community of about 8,000 people with one high school in the middle of the Central Valley of California.
Exeter police say a rumor at the city's high school Thursday grew until dozens of students and their parents feared an on-campus shooting spree like Monday's Virginia Tech shootings.And trust me on this. Exeter is the type of town where someone might have shot first and asked questions later. And you know that this story is being repeated all over the country. An imprint will be left from the hoopla made of our "national nightmare" that will not be easily erased.
"It's really not what everybody's blown it out to be," Police Chief Clifton Bush said Friday.
He said that, somehow, something said by an Exeter Union High School student about the Virginia Tech assault became twisted in the retelling. Eventually, other students were saying that someone had threatened to come to school with a gun.
"It wasn't a threat. It was a comment that was made — typical high-school stuff — that hit the fan and grew like wildfire," Bush said. "It's really a nonincident."
Still, school officials were swamped with calls Friday morning from parents fearing for their children's safety.
"We're trying to calm everybody down," Tamara Taylor, secretary to the school's Principal Don Brinkman, said Friday morning.