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Today I hid in a closet with my coworkers

On Wednesday, May 17, a virtual panel meeting of the Kentucky Arts Council was interrupted by an alarm, and PA announcement that there was an armed intruder situation in their building. Kentucky Arts Council Executive Staff Advisor Emily Moses recounts what happened next.

Today I hid in a closet with my coworkers. We tried to be very quiet. We were told there was an armed intruder in our building, to shelter in place. Some of us cried quietly. I did. We were eventually evacuated. It was beyond terrifying. The words won’t form. This is life in America, in Frankfort, Kentucky, in a state office building. This is life in elementary and high schools and in banks in Louisville and malls and movie theaters and clubs and concerts and churches and EVERYWHERE in our country. Why do we continue to allow these things to happen in our country? I am shocked and confused and so sad, especially for our babies, for my baby who will start school in the fall. Something’s gotta give, y’all. We cannot live with this fear, this violence. We cannot live quietly in closets waiting to see the shadow of a person with a gun outside the door. We deserve better and we can do better as humans. There’s more, more, more but I’m too tired to write it. Today we were fortunate there was not a shooter. Today I am more thankful for my coworkers than ever before. Today I feel blessed and grateful it wasn’t worse. My greatest hope is that today is a lesson for tomorrow. In case you don’t know it, I love you. Thanks for reading.

The situation was ultimately determined to be a hoax, a Swatting incident. The terror was real. We’re grateful that in this situation there were no injuries, and to Emily for sharing her experience. In future posts, she’ll talk with NCAPER and our readers about how their agency readiness plan worked, and didn’t, and what public arts institutions need to think about when it comes to the safety of their staff, artists and visitors. Emily is a member of NCAPER’s Programming Working Group.



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