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The end of the beginning

(04/27/10 4:00am)

Well, here we are. My series finale, last episode, conclusion, end, fin. It's hard to describe the feelings that have been going through my head the last few weeks, and the flood of emotions that have been contained by a force weaker than New Orleans' levees. There is no doubt in my mind that the person who drove up to UB in a blue '05 Ford Escape three summers ago is not the same lanky, scruffy-haired kid with a somewhat overbearing personality who will be walking across the stage May 9. Nope, there have been more than a few detours and bumps in the road to get to this point. I've found myself, lost myself and found myself again. I've embraced my passion, pushed it away and gone crawling back to it like an unfaithful lover. I fell in love (twice), lust a thousand and one times more than that, and in chocolate a million times more when none of the above worked out. I've learned what it means to be a friend, and what it means for someone to be a friend to you. I've embraced the joy that comes with being around people that love you and truly care as well as the miseries of friendships that are one-sided, shallow and superficial. That being said, I am grateful today to be completely surrounded by the former. It has been a privilege to have worked with some of the best professors in English academia today – my thanks and regards go out to Professors Young and Bono in particular, and Professors Milletti and Antastasopoulos for the invaluable help with making me a better writer. It's also been a privilege to work at the best darn student publication on this campus – The Spectrum. A place I thought in the beginning would be a dreary obligation has become my rock, my home and my anchor. The beautiful, impassioned, intelligent and witty women I have had the pleasure of working closest with have given me some of the most memorable of good days, and gotten me through more than a few of the terribly bad ones. It would be a sin for me to bid UB and Buffalo farewell without giving recognition to the extremely unique living situations I've found myself in during my time here. To all of you crazy people I have had the pleasure of cohabitating with, thanks for the memories – and the stories. Don't be surprised if you see a few in the novel I plan to write one of these days. And of course, what kind of graduate would I be if I didn't give a shoutout to my most constant companion, my bipolar, temperamental dearest of dears and the most consistent woman in my life … the city of Buffalo. It's true we've been on and off more than Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, but I think in our time together we've grown quite fond of each other. Sure, she's not the prettiest girl on the block, or the most sophisticated, but Buffalo is without a doubt a place with heart. Ask any of the wonderful people I've met who grew up here and wouldn't live anywhere else. The winters may be cruel and certain parts of the city a little scary, but an afternoon on Elmwood Avenue gorging yourself at one of the local restaurants is an experience that is second to none. Looking through my volumes of diaries and pages of Facebook photo albums over the past three years, I realize that despite my rocky beginning and miserably dramatic middle, I have, in the end, managed to have a pretty good life here at UB. I'm leaving this university happier than I've ever been before and looking forward to a wonderful future full of many opportunities. There can never be enough words to express how grateful I am to this campus for giving me a real start in life; it makes all the years I lived in darkness almost worth it. Now, however, it's time to make the change, move on and recreate myself for the next chapter. Some people seem to think that college graduation means the end of something great, a meaningless milestone between high school, marriage and death. I disagree. For me, graduation is only the beginning of something greater. I don't know about anyone else, but I fully intend on having fun, enjoying life and staying fabulous, whether I'm travelling the world, earning my Ph.D. or raising a gaggle of children. All of which is on the agenda, in due time, of course. The end is near, everyone. And I'm ready for the next step. E-mail: shane.fallon@ubspectrum.com


The end of the beginning

(04/27/10 4:00am)

Well, here we are. My series finale, last episode, conclusion, end, fin. It's hard to describe the feelings that have been going through my head the last few weeks, and the flood of emotions that have been contained by a force weaker than New Orleans' levees. There is no doubt in my mind that the person who drove up to UB in a blue '05 Ford Escape three summers ago is not the same lanky, scruffy-haired kid with a somewhat overbearing personality who will be walking across the stage May 9. Nope, there have been more than a few detours and bumps in the road to get to this point. I've found myself, lost myself and found myself again. I've embraced my passion, pushed it away and gone crawling back to it like an unfaithful lover. I fell in love (twice), lust a thousand and one times more than that, and in chocolate a million times more when none of the above worked out. I've learned what it means to be a friend, and what it means for someone to be a friend to you. I've embraced the joy that comes with being around people that love you and truly care as well as the miseries of friendships that are one-sided, shallow and superficial. That being said, I am grateful today to be completely surrounded by the former. It has been a privilege to have worked with some of the best professors in English academia today – my thanks and regards go out to Professors Young and Bono in particular, and Professors Milletti and Antastasopoulos for the invaluable help with making me a better writer. It's also been a privilege to work at the best darn student publication on this campus – The Spectrum. A place I thought in the beginning would be a dreary obligation has become my rock, my home and my anchor. The beautiful, impassioned, intelligent and witty women I have had the pleasure of working closest with have given me some of the most memorable of good days, and gotten me through more than a few of the terribly bad ones. It would be a sin for me to bid UB and Buffalo farewell without giving recognition to the extremely unique living situations I've found myself in during my time here. To all of you crazy people I have had the pleasure of cohabitating with, thanks for the memories – and the stories. Don't be surprised if you see a few in the novel I plan to write one of these days. And of course, what kind of graduate would I be if I didn't give a shoutout to my most constant companion, my bipolar, temperamental dearest of dears and the most consistent woman in my life … the city of Buffalo. It's true we've been on and off more than Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, but I think in our time together we've grown quite fond of each other. Sure, she's not the prettiest girl on the block, or the most sophisticated, but Buffalo is without a doubt a place with heart. Ask any of the wonderful people I've met who grew up here and wouldn't live anywhere else. The winters may be cruel and certain parts of the city a little scary, but an afternoon on Elmwood Avenue gorging yourself at one of the local restaurants is an experience that is second to none. Looking through my volumes of diaries and pages of Facebook photo albums over the past three years, I realize that despite my rocky beginning and miserably dramatic middle, I have, in the end, managed to have a pretty good life here at UB. I'm leaving this university happier than I've ever been before and looking forward to a wonderful future full of many opportunities. There can never be enough words to express how grateful I am to this campus for giving me a real start in life; it makes all the years I lived in darkness almost worth it. Now, however, it's time to make the change, move on and recreate myself for the next chapter. Some people seem to think that college graduation means the end of something great, a meaningless milestone between high school, marriage and death. I disagree. For me, graduation is only the beginning of something greater. I don't know about anyone else, but I fully intend on having fun, enjoying life and staying fabulous, whether I'm travelling the world, earning my Ph.D. or raising a gaggle of children. All of which is on the agenda, in due time, of course. The end is near, everyone. And I'm ready for the next step. E-mail: shane.fallon@ubspectrum.com



Appealing to the English gods above

(04/11/10 4:00am)

I'm an English major. It is part personal choice, part lifestyle and part destiny. Since as long as I can remember, I have eaten, breathed and pooped books. If it were possible to have literature pumped into my veins, I would be first in line to do it. Since I arrived at UB in the fall of 2007, there was never any question of what my major would be. My working relationship with the English Department and its staff at the University at Buffalo has been second to none. I believe from the bottom of my soul that UB has one of the most distinguished and brilliant English staffs, which has inspired and showed me how to become the teacher and writer I want to be. That being said, here are a few constructive ideas and suggestions for the UB English department, for both the course selection and the major requirement itself. Number one: Make more English courses, especially prerequisites, exclusive to English majors. Right now, there is only one course that is solely available to those registered for the major: ENG 301, Criticism. The wide availability for any student, ranging in majors from communication to mechanical engineering, to register in upper-level English classes is silly. These classes are usually very small and required by English majors for graduation, and unnecessary lack of seat availability causes a lot of drama and panic every semester for those who want to graduate on time. Number two: Expand the infamous Earlier Literature and Author courses into two course sequences. At the moment, the only course offering a two-part sequence is Shakespeare, taught by the incomparable Barbara Bono. Many students cringe at the thought of having to take other literature courses before 1830 on authors such as Chaucer or Milton, due to the excessive amount of reading, which leaves people more resentful than appreciative of the material. Personally, I loved my Milton course with Professor Hammill, but would have appreciated the content a lot more if we had had more time to discuss the author's work over another semester. This same suggestion goes for author courses on such literary leviathans as James Joyce. A semester of Joyce's earlier work, followed by another semester focusing on solely Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, would be divine. Number three: Diversify the course offerings and the curriculum. Milton, Shakespeare, and the Bible are great, but what about the international lovelies and giants of literature? Where is The Tale of Genji, a Japanese work thought to be the world's first novel, in UB's whole English catalog? Where is a course on the fabulous Russian writers, with an author's course on Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy? What about the delightful Thousand and One Arabian Nights? the fairy tales of Hans Christan Andersen? the fables of Aesop? Number four: Please offer more creative writing classes. The creative writing workshops currently offered by UB, usually taught by husband-wife team Professors Milletti and Anastasopoulos, are fabulous, but they are offered once a week and usually in the evening. I took courses with them both and had a great time, but would have loved it if more writing courses were offered at different times and different days of the week. With that in mind, I'm ready to take the next step in both my personal and academic life. The last thing I hoped to do when I wrote this column was discourage anyone from pursuing an English degree; I'm simply offering my hopes to the department for future generations. E-mail: shane.fallon@ubspectrum.com


Taking out the trash

(04/11/10 4:00am)

Student volunteers were scattered across the University Heights area Saturday morning for the bi-annual event UB Gettin' Dirty. The event, run by the Student Association, involved dedicated students picking up garbage and other litter spread around the South Campus region. Jennifer Harb, a staff writer for The Spectrum and community engagement liaison to the Student Association, coordinated the event. "UB Gettin' Dirty is a [bi-annual] event to clean up University Heights, and this was the first year it was held [in the] spring semester," Harb said. "[The event] started at 9:30 a.m. Students signed in at the Main St. Circle and spread out in opposite directions from Main St. to Bailey Ave … to Kenmore Ave." Chad Burlee, a junior political science major and club services coordinator, explained UB Gettin' Dirty's working method. "We supplied garbage bags and gloves and worked to pick up the trash for about two and a half hours," Burlee said. Harb explained that the trash-gathering volunteers covered locations such as Englewood and Winspear Aves, as well as Heath, Flower and Tyler Streets. "We wanted to expand [the event] to new places this year," Harb said. "[So] we contacted Minnesota block clubs and worked with them, along with Buffalo Reuse, the United Way and the Center for Student Leadership & Community Engagement." Harb was very pleased with UB Gettin' Dirty and the efforts by UB students and community to make the South Campus neighborhood more beautiful. "I thought we were very successful – we had a great turnout and the clubs are always very enthusiastic about participating in [the event]," Harb said. Harb estimated that some 150 to 200 volunteers turned out for this year's grimy work, and hopes the numbers will only increase when the event is held in the future. "It really served our purpose to see [the 150 volunteers] working together – it was great," Burlee said. Even though the number of student turnouts this semester was considerable, Burlee admitted that having UB Gettin' Dirty scheduled the morning after SA's Spring Gala might have affected attendance. "This is the second time I have been involved in this event, and you can see the difference with [the number of] people showing up, when compared with the Gala schedule," Burlee said. Mary Monahan, a sophomore business and international studies major and intern for Student Affairs, agreed. "There was reduced attendance because of the busy event schedule [such as Gala and the Nick Orrange run], but it was still inspiring to see kids help out around the Heights," Monahan said. Despite the reduced attendance when compared to other semesters, Burlee was pleased with what UB Gettin' Dirty stands for and the benefits it brings to the city of Buffalo. "I was really [happy] with things and how it turned out. It's really great to work for a good cause and give back to the community," Burlee said. To reward their hard work, SA provided volunteers with free pizza and T-shirts to commemorate the event. Harb hopes that the ideals promoted in the UB Gettin' Dirty campaign will continue and that it will be an event student volunteers can look forward to in the future. "I hope [that UB Gettin' Dirty] will become a mainstay on campus and that participation remains [high]," Harb said. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


Uniting for a common goal

(04/09/10 4:00am)

Students and faculty alike gathered in the Student Union Thursday to bring awareness and raise money for Haiti. The event, called Carnival for a Cause, was held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the SU lobby. Proceeds made will go towards the Haiti Relief Fund, which is run through the American Red Cross. The carnival portion featured a combo slide, a jousting ring, popcorn and pizza, all of which could be enjoyed after purchasing a certain number of tickets. Participants and passersby could hear the yelps of mirthful jousters, blaring of fun music, and crunching of popcorn across the SU. The Campus Ministry Association was the sponsor of the event. The CMA incorporates all recognized religious chapters on campus including Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Jehovah's Witness. "Our goal of the event is to benefit all students. All proceeds [we raise] will go to Haiti relief," said Joe Davis, Co-convener of CMA and Director of the Hillel chapter on campus. For a campus that usually appears so divided, the community and camaraderie of so many different faiths working together towards a common goal was both refreshing and inspiring. The CMA attempted to draw students into the event by displaying graphic images of the devastation in Haiti, and the great deal of assistance the small island still needs. Many attending the event were inquisitive as to why an event aiding Haiti would be held now, a considerable amount of time after the earthquake. Tim Stewart, the campus director for campus ambassadors, explained why. "We want to raise awareness, because Haiti has [recently] fallen below the radar. The situation is just as bad as it was, if not worse," Stewart said. "We want to make [their situation] known as best we can." The students that were enjoying the festivities and visiting the concessions appeared to have no complaints. Others, however, disagreed with certain aspects of the event and the entertainment costs not equating with the poor turnout. "[I think] it is an irresponsible waste of money," said Jennifer Thompson, a freshmen English major. "The cost to rent everything [the rides, games, and supplies] won't even out with all the money they raise. I know it's for a good cause, but with the [recent University at Buffalo] budget cuts, I don't know how they can want to spend and raise all this money that doesn't really affect myself or UB." Tim Lewis, a freshmen nuclear medicine technology major, agreed with Thompson's views to a point, but considered a different angle. "I do see [this event] as a bit of a waste, but it's important to help [Haiti] out. After the earthquakes in Chile, Taiwan, Thailand, and Mexico, as well as the volcano eruption in Iceland, [Haiti] has gone out of focus," Lewis said. "[I didn't see] a lot of people participating, and [from the looks of it] there are going to be a lot of leftover supplies and food." Lewis explained that he has donated some $50 to Haiti and the other recent disasters through separate on campus events, most notably the Latin American Student Association. "I don't always see college students being active or donating [to international charity relief]," Lewis said. "It's always the same people from the same clubs on campus, that's probably why this event didn't take off." Despite the criticism it garnered, some students, such as Mark Shehata, a freshmen biomedical science major, took the event for what it was and had a genuinely enjoyable time. "[The carnival] was a lot of fun. It's for [an important] cause, and that's always good," Shehata said. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


Getting around town

(04/01/10 4:00am)

Students relying on public transportation to get around will be pleased with the new opportunities offered by the University at Buffalo. The UB Stampede, which until recently travelled only between North and South Campus, is expanding its route to include features in the surrounding suburbs. The infamous Mall Bus, which operates Wednesdays and Saturdays and stops at Tops on Maple Road, Wegmans, and the Boulevard Mall, will soon include the Walden Galleria. The bus will run every 15 minutes and can be recognized by the market and mall signs on the bus's exterior. Maria Wallace, director of Parking and Transportation Services, is pleased with the Stampede's new transportation routes. "We've had these plans in motion for a long time, but we wanted it to be a surprise for the students. I know how boring North Campus can be, and without a car I understand how students sometimes need to get out and go somewhere," Wallace said. In addition, the Anti-Rape Task Force safety shuttle will be expanding its services to include any and all destinations in Amherst, the city of Buffalo and Canada, as far as the Toronto city limit. This new travel plan is a vast improvement over the old rules, which limited eager travelers to destinations in a 1.5 mile radius from South Campus. Jane Fischer, director of SBI Health Services, which runs the ARTF shuttle, spearheaded the new transportation plans. "[The ARTF van] is famous around campus, but we get a lot of complaints about not being able to take students as far as they want to go. By expanding the range of the van, we can please a lot more of the student body, as well as promote safety," Fischer said. PTS and Health Services have come up with an efficient way of making this new program run cohesively, without too much money coming out of UB's budget. "With the money that came from [Methods of Inquiry] being shut down, UB had a surplus, and it was handed over to us. We thought, ‘What's better to do with our money than help students get from party to party, bar to bar, safely?'" Fischer said. Understandably, student response to the new transportation opportunities on campus has been very positive. "That sounds really great. I used to take the Stampede to the Boulevard Mall all the time when I was a freshman and thought it was totally lame. The Galleria is so much better, but since I don't have a car, it's pretty hard for me to get there. It's a great improvement; the Galleria has a much better selection of corsets and petticoats than the Boulevard," said Jane Austen, a junior English major. Courtney Thompson, a senior communications major, liked the new Stampede and ARTF routes because of the easier accessibility to UB and Buffalo's party scenes. "That [stuff] is hot," Thompson said. "You don't know how many times my girls and I will be partying it up and all of a sudden we're like, ‘We have to call the rape van, but they don't come that far.' Then we need to call all these random guys we never talk to and hope they'll come get us at 3 a.m. and all this annoying [stuff]." Many UB students are eager to embrace the new ARTF shuttle route in order to become better acquainted with Canada, UB's neighbor to the north. "It'll be so nice to get to know Canada. They have such a rich history and culture, and the citizens aren't annoying at all," said Carol Atwood, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. "I love Toronto, and if UB is getting me there on their dime, why shouldn't I take advantage of it?" Additional funds for these new bus and shuttle routes have been said to come from the School of Nursing, the school library budget and the charter from Generation magazine. The new routes for the Stampede and ARTF shuttle should go into effect sometime after the apocalypse of 2012. UB students are urged not to seek more information on this transportation change. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com









A modest proposal

(02/24/10 5:00am)

Dear Diary, City of Buffalo, Buffalo Police, University Police, and anyone else who will listen: I've got a bone to pick with all of you, and I know I'm not the only person who wants these questions answered. The second amendment and the Queen City would appear to be on a collision course. The past month has shown more than enough evidence of that. The shooting in the Allentown restaurant Merge in January by a deranged dishwasher left the proprietor wounded and his 18-year-old son dead. Not long after that, there was a shooting outside of the Hotel Marriott in Amherst, right outside of the University at Buffalo's doorstep. Trinity Place, also in Allentown, was the site of a nearly four-hour hostage situation that left Eric Ocasio, 27, of Buffalo, dead. Ocasio succeeded in shooting and injuring a police officer before committing 'suicide by police' by pointing his gun in the wrong direction – at the remaining SWAT teams and police officers. Four days later, Jason Ocasio, brother of the aforementioned deceased, took his own gun to Buffalo's police station and pointed it at an officer. After a wild car chase, James Bond-style, he was apprehended and remains in custody. And of course, who could forget last week's complete fiasco right here on North Campus? No one could forget the disaster that wasn't – the frantic search for Lockwood Library's invisible gunman with his magic bullets. The drama of the downtown Buffalo area would not appear to be contained within the city limits. It's been a crazy week, an exhausting month, and a grueling round of fear and anxiety, and it all goes back to one thing – guns. Frankly, before all of this drama happened, my interest in a person's Second Amendment right to possess weapons of the firearm variety was minimal. Of course, I cried when hearing about the massacres at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech, and make jokes about the card-toting members of the National Rifle Association who mostly reside in and around the Texas border. My modest proposal, however, is this: leave it at home, everybody. All of it – especially your guns. And if that doesn't work, then maybe we should do away with the entire Second Amendment. One of the most absurd sayings I've ever heard is the tag phrase, 'Guns don't kill people, people kill people.' Yeah, people do kill people – with guns. What a revolutionary concept. What use does a resident of urban Buffalo or a student at UB have for possessing a firearm? We live in a society where information is so easily accessible you can order a gun off the Internet and find blueprints for a bomb on Google. All of these avenues for information would seem to be used as more avenues for the crazies to plot their next act of insanity and murder against innocent people. Guns belong to a certain demographic of people. Those people are members of law enforcement, whose job is to protect innocent civilians. I'm not saying that people should blindly and senselessly hand over all of their freedoms to police and other authorities. That is a recipe for disaster and a dystopian universe. What I am saying is that those with power also have a responsibility to protect us. Therefore, the police and other law enforcement officials, who have been specially trained, should have the Second Amendment reserved for them. Seriously, people, the school and street-shooting craze has really gotten old. It's time to take a progressive step toward a more peaceful society by eliminating a threatening object from restaurants and school libraries and investing real faith in those who can and will be able to protect us. It's a step I'm willing to take. E-mail: shane.fallon@ubspectrum.com


"Truth, deception, and heroism"

(02/24/10 5:00am)

The 2004 film Hotel Rwanda was nominated for three Academy Awards, and continues to be widely rented. The American Film Institute has named it one of the 100 most inspirational movies of all time. Yet fifteen years after the Rwandan genocide, details of the event are still causing controversy. Dispute has arisen concerning the validity Hotel Rwanda and the credibility of its title character, hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina. In most public appearances, Rusesabagina prefers to be introduced as a man who 'single-handedly prevented the slaughter of more than 1,200 refugees' during the Tutsi genocide in 1994 at the Milles-Collines Hotel. Edouard Kayihura, a native Rwandan, survivor of the genocide and resident of the hotel, sees things differently. 'I was in the hotel. Mr. Rusesabagina did not save my life. Mr. Rusesabagina saved less lives than anyone who was in the hotel,' Kayihura said. United Nations General Romeo Dallaire also met Rusesabagina during the genocide. 'Indications are that the hotel manager [Rusesabagina] did everything in his power to have U.N. soldiers removed from the hotel. I also received unconfirmed reports that [Rusesabagina] had given General Bizimungu [a chief architect of the genocide] a list of hotel guests and room numbers,' Dallaire said. Fortunately, the U.N. altered the room numbers of those who were in the most danger. Another army member, General Dallaire, also had no knowledge of the film's existence until after it was released. Yet, there was a character in the film that was based on him, played by Nick Nolte. Within the walls of this 'Hotel Rwanda,' other travesties are said to have occurred. '[Paul Rusesabagina] cut phone lines … forced us to pay for rooms and food, and those who had no money to pay were removed from their rooms. That money either went straight into his pocket or else was used to buy high-end liquors, which he then tried to sell back to us for even more money,' Kayihura said. The film Hotel Rwanda, starring Don Cheadle and Sophie Okenedo, depicts Paul Rusesabagina as a politically connected but neutral Rwandan who defied the Hutu authorities and fearlessly provided shelter to Tutsi refugees without considering the consequences. 'Rusesabagina was [not only] both politically active in Rwanda, but a member of the Democratic Republican Movement, the ‘Hutu Power' party that carried out the genocide … given his proximity to these radicals, it is reasonable to conclude that he knew more about the events to come than the movie would suggest,' Kayihura said. In the years since the genocide, Rusesabagina has established an international reputation as a figure of peace and inspiration for the oppressed. He is frequently requested to make paid appearances in the United States and abroad. However, to Kayihura and other survivors of the genocide who have kept track of Rusesabagina's career, facts both past and present are still being overlooked. 'I want to throw up because he's using [the movie] to forward his own political agenda,' Kayihura said. '[Since 1994], Rusesabagina has used his platform to champion and reinvigorate those same ethically divisive Hutu Power politics, raising money for causes that have less to do with helping survivors than revenge … most flagrant is his attempt to paint the murders committed by the Hutu Power extremists as simply a byproduct of civil war and not genocide.' However, Kayihura expresses good sentiments about the movie's creation, regardless of the future of Rusesabagina's career and historical legacy. Nevertheless, Kayihura still feels that people should know his story. 'I am happy the movie was made because it bought awareness to what happened, but [Rusesabagina] has used it to run his own political career. No one who was [at the hotel] can say he was a hero,' he said. Kayihura promises that he will continue to spread his story and make sure that 'people know the truth.' E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com





Home sweet home

(02/08/10 5:00am)

It's been said you can never really know your neighbors. This past Monday morning, Eric Ocasio, 27, of Buffalo, a sheet metal worker apparently going through a divorce, took a gun and barricaded his Trinity place house. At 10:45 a.m., police were called. SWAT teams and hostage negotiators arrived soon after. Both access points to Trinity were sealed off during the situation as well as the surrounding West Tupper, Edward and Virginia streets, and both Delaware and South Elmwood Avenues. During the ensuing four-hour standoff, several dozen shots were fired. The situation ended with Ocasio dead and Detective John Garcia of the Buffalo Police Department injured. Garcia suffered pellet wounds to his face and chest and was rushed to Erie County Medical Center. Then on Friday, the day of his funeral, Eric's brother Jason showed up at the Buffalo Police Station at Franklin and Church Streets with a gun. After pulling it on an officer, he fled the scene, which culminated in a car chase that ended at the same place on Trinity where his brother died. He is now incarcerated. This turn of events would be shocking to anyone. It's a bit more disconcerting when you live across from the scene of the crime. I moved onto Trinity Place this past August. My friend was graduating and needed someone to take her room. I needed roommates and had a desire to get out of University Heights, so I packed my books and loaded up my car. Three or four trips later, I was settled downtown. From the beginning I loved the neighborhood, the arts scene, and the new face of Buffalo that I was seeing. Taking the train to school was the only visible setback. From all outside points of view and reputation, Trinity is a quiet residential street, far enough away from the constant bustling of Elmwood and the debauchery of Allen to provide peace and quiet, but not too far to travel to for entertainment. And now, in the span of a week, two dozen fired shots have turned that around. This Monday I was feeling exceptionally lazy and wanted to skip class and sleep in. Due to reasons I can no longer remember, I dragged myself out of bed and was out of the house by 9 a.m., a little later than usual. You can imagine my surprise when I was told the news of the shooting later that day. It really is something to come home from school and see that police officers are monitoring the house across from you. I could see the fluorescent crime scene tape across the front of the house from my bedroom window. This is not the first time I've been associated with scenes of violence in proximity to my living quarters. The night I moved into Trinity last fall was the same night UB alumnus Javon Jackson was shot and killed outside of my University Heights apartment. I had hoped to escape from some of that this year. The drama of the Ocasio family would seem to have reached a boiling point just as the minutiae of my average middle class life was reaching equilibrium. The question: where do we go from here? I learned a long time ago how ridiculous it is to live your life in fear. Fear is one of the most crippling, irrationally unsettling emotions of the human psyche. It's like a pimple on the normally fresh face of a bride – small, but with the right amount of hysteria, it can reach epic proportions. That being said, I will continue to live across the street from the proverbial scene of the crime. I will pray for the soul of Eric and for Jason Ocasio to get the help he needs. I will keep good thoughts for their family in my heart. And as for Buffalo, I'm not going to let our final months together leave me as a quivering, fearfully complacent victim – far too many trials before this one have tried to do that. You'll still find me carousing at the various locales of Elmwood and Allen. It's all we can really do. Graduation and the future is looming, as is the end of my lease. Let's make these last few months count. E-mail: shane.fallon@ubspectrum.com