The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus went into lockdown on Saturday morning after reports of a man wearing full body armor and carrying a long rifle surfaced.
Ever since the Virginia Tech campus shooting, colleges and universities have been especially sensitive to any kind of report of someone on campus with a gun.
Part of that sensitivity is because of the senseless loss of life that occurred that day. Part of the sensitivity is because the inaction of Virginia Tech as the beginning of the tragedy has been pointed to as a contributing factor to the deaths that day.
MIT certainly took the reports seriously, locking down the campus and immediately filing a report with the police. According to the Detroit Free Press, the school issued a statement saying that they had called police and that teachers and students were ordered to stay inside.
As of now, it appears that the alleged MIT gunman was more hoax than threat. The Atlantic Wire reports that police responded promptly to the call and have yet to find any evidence of the man.
The reports of the gunman start to seem more and more like someone’s idea of a bad joke, the more the story is investigated. The initial report was apparently sent to Cambridge police from an IP address that originates in New York City.
It is unclear how someone from New York City could see what was going on at the MIT campus. In a world where social media is king, it doesn’t take long for one wrong report to balloon into something that becomes a headline on every top news site in the world.
OMG My grandson goes to MIT. #SoWorried
— DebsKeeler (@DebsKeeler) February 23, 2013
At the moment, the MIT campus and Cambridge police are treating the initial reports as viable and are investigating. Though at this time, no one matching the description has been found.