Thanks for the emails and texts that I received asking if all is well here. The shooting at the State Oil Academy (think MIT training those for the oil industry) was tragic today and very shocking to all the sensibilities that Azeris have about violence, guns and death. SOA as it is known..was and still is the leading university in the country and in fact this region...training most of the leaders of Central Asian, USSR (back in the day), and Africa oil executives...well, it looks like a former or current student who is from the country of Georgia walked into the building at 9 am this morning and started shooting..by the time the police and miliatary arrived..he shot and killed 17 and injured 10....he later shot himself.
For me..and unfortunately, most Americans, this sounds way too familiar but here access to guns and this level of violence is unheard. The President Aliyev has announced an investigation and it probably a day of mourning. The gunman..shot the security guard (think campus police without a gun), the cleaning lady, a professor and students...just anyone he encountered in the hallways.
I've not been in the building but we did recruit there earlier this year and I know the neighborhood...walking distance from my campus and my apartment. It's sad and I'm sure it will define some of my time here...my colleagues understandably are upset...and I spoke to my boss (who is the former Azeri ambassador to the US)...just say how sad it is but he's not surprised and of course, no one here understands the level of school shooting in the US...but even more profound we talked about how the news traveled around the world about this so quickly...and whether it is a global financial crisis, a flu, or violence...the world is flat and more like and more connected than we think....eh?
Unluckily Tammy and the kids didn't hear about it before I told them...otherwise, I think Tam would have been freaking out...again, everyone thanks for checking on me...