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Blown text auto-correct locks down school

A Georgia student texts: "Gunna be at West Hall this afternoon." Auto-correct, however changes the first word to "gunman." Pandemonium ensues.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The thing about auto-correct is that it happens so quickly. Indeed, one sometimes wonders if it's a neat little ruse to get you to send another text correcting the automatic error.

Yet one student at Lanier Technical College might be staring at his or her cell phone a little more closely in future. You see, this student texted: "Gunna be at West Hall this afternoon."

Auto-correct mused a microsecond at this word "gunna" and changed it to "gunman." Before anyone knew it, authorities soon believed that the students could be gonnas.

The way the Gainesville Times portrays it, the text was sent to the wrong number. The recipient, naturally concerned, contacted the authorities, which immediately placed West Hall middle and high schools on lockdown.

Hall Country Schools Superintendent Will Schofield told the Gainesville Times: "While this event caused a great deal of anxiety among students, staff, and parents, be assured that we will always err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of our boys and girls."

Clearly the authorities acted with sense and prudence.

Auto-correct has caused much human consternation since its creation. What is interesting, though, is that the student doesn't appear to have noticed his or her error. The recipient, too, doesn't appear to have contacted the sender, as often happens when one receives a text from an unknown number. One texts back: "Huh?" Or "Who is this?"

Perhaps this might have saved quite some bother, had the sender been swift to explain the faux-pas.

It has also not been revealed what kind of phone the sender was using. I just tried typing the word "gunna" into a text message. My iPhone immediately wanted to change it to "Gunnar."

This presumably refers to the Nordic first name enjoyed, for example, by the goalkeeper of the Faroe Islands soccer team, Gunnar Nielsen and the Beverly Hills celebrity fitness trainer, Gunnar Peterson.

So why would this student's phone have immediately thought "gunman"? There are times at which I feel gadgets think too much.