Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Safe in Pine Plains

There was a horribly scary hostage situation in a school in upstate New York this morning... Maybe you saw it on the news.

That's my high school. I graduated from Stissing Mountain, the Pine Plains high school in 1993 (that's me at the top of the pyramid!). Myself and every other kid in town thought it was hands down the single most boring place on Earth. But this type of excitement isn't what we were hoping for.

The short story, if you haven't seen the news, is that former student Chris Craft (I think he's about 42 years old) snuck into the school with a disassembled rifle when the kids were coming in, hid in a bathroom while he put the gun together then took the middle school principal Bob Hess - my mom used to babysit his daughter -  hostage (the middle and high schools share a campus). After about two hours the gunman surrendered and thankfully no one was hurt.

Pine Plains is a tiny town in the middle of the Hudson Valley. There is one single traffic light. The townspeople fought each other for years and years before deciding to allow a convenience store to open. There are more cows than people. My school bus ride took an hour each way because of all the weird, windy back roads we took to pick up kids scattered all over the county. I don't think anyone anywhere ever expects what happened there this morning, but you really don't expect it someplace like that. In fact, that's the place you move to when you want to avoid things like that.

The good news is, as I said, Mr Hess was released unharmed and all of the kids are fine. I'm sure they will be very glad to go back to being boring tomorrow, when boring equals safe.


drollgirl said...

i am so glad the ending wasn't tragic. there are so many lunatics out there!!! my hometown has been in the news this year for some AWFUL stuff. the guy who abducted a girl, and she lived with him for years and years and years, gave birth to two of his kids, and finally escaped. i like to think that most of humanity is GOOD, but the bad apples out there are really scary.