I am writing in response to The Michigan Daily's coverage of the incident on Saturday. While I really appreciated the care and sensitivity with which the writers approached this topic, as well as the discussions of the ways the incident particularly affected Muslim and minority students, I have to take issue with one detail — the way The Daily presented the role of word-of-mouth information during the events. While misinformation and the spread of rumors should, of course, generally be discouraged and in this particular case such rumors did more harm than good, I don't think it is wise to discourage students from texting their peers and friends during potentially dangerous situations. In the absence of official news, which, like all sources of human knowledge, is fallible, these fleeting rumors and texts are all we have. On Saturday we didn't need them, and now we condemn them. But imagine a day when we do — when there is a real dangerous situation and official sources are not responding. Word-of-mouth information, despite its easy and frequent misuse, could mean life or death in a real active shooter situation. As the famous proverb says, better safe than sorry — and better confused and scared than dead.
Ekaterina Makhnina is a freshman at the University.