I still maintain a child will feel far more secure thinking that perhaps some teachers have a gun and will protect them than thinking they have to hide in a box, under a desk, or pray that the police arrive quickly and pray even harder that they actually enter the school when they arrive.
“There’s always at least one kid in tears, as they huddle under their desks in the dark. Still Beth Manias, an early-elementary literacy teacher outside of Seattle, tries to act upbeat and relaxed.
“I have them whisper about their favorite candy, dinner, books, movies—whatever, as a distraction,” Manias told me. She tells the kids they’re practicing to stay safe in case there’s ever a bear on campus. Though, she admits, “They always see through this. The older they get, the more savvy they become, probably because they are exposed to more of the news.””
This is something very real to consider. Are we gaslighting children into a world of fear and mental illness that becomes, perhaps, a self-perpetuating world where they become the thing they were taught to fear as a means to show they are stronger than the fear itself?
“Active-shooter drills came into existence after the Columbine massacre in 1999. What is known of their long-term psychological effects comes from the reports of people now in early adulthood.
Ryan Marino, an emergency-medicine physician at the University of Pittsburgh, recalled that his school had adopted the drills during that period, after a student was found to have a “death list” and access to guns. He told me the drills didn’t seem real until he was 12, and a fellow student coughed during one of the drills. “The teacher told us that if this had been real, we would all be dead.”
“That single experience shaped my childhood,” Marino said. “Having to practice and prepare for a peer coming to my school and shooting at me and my friends was something that really changed the overall atmosphere. Looking back, it was a major shift in how the world felt.””
Today I watched a training video on what people should do in case of an active shooter in their building. Not specifically a school, an office building in this case. It was the typical “Run – Hide – Fight”. I’ve included it below. Please take a moment to watch it. I think you will find it most interesting.
My first thought was how like turkeys the people were. Huddled together in a corner. They seemed somehow not fully human. I couldn’t help but think that rather than deal with the situation as instructed if a few of those office workers had guns the matter would be concluded. “Shoot – Run – Shoot – Hide – Shoot – Fight”. A lone gunman is no match for 3 or 4 or 5 people with firearms of their own. I’m really not even sure why this point of view is controversial. It just seems so logical. Law abiding people with guns are no danger to those around them. Why not allow them to equip themselves for protection? Who really has the right to tell someone they won’t protect themselves? Why would a parent want to send their child to a place that offers no protection?
Parents are often heard to say after school shootings something like, “I thought my child would be safe at school!” Why? Why did you think that? Just because it’s a school doesn’t make it inherently safe from intrusion. Safety is something we actively participate in not something that randomly happens. Safety is a product of choice. Accidents happen of course but we take precautions to prevent them and prepare for them in every other part of our lives. Why not in a school?
This is especially true if the flight training we are giving children causes them emotional distress. An actual shooter probably won’t ever happen to your child but a drill about a shooter will. So in order to teach a child how to hide in that unlikely event parents and teachers put the children through stress on a regular basis. That seems cruel. I would rather a teacher have a gun, several, and be able to tell the children, “if someone tries to harm you, don’t worry, I will protect you.” and then go on teaching. That kind of confidence is what children need. Even if the teacher isn’t so sure in their own mind, the children need it. Instead they get herded into a box and taught how to run for their lives. It is time for a change I think and the solution is to allow people to protect themselves rather than rely on cops and bulletproof rooms.
Active-shooter drills came into existence after the Columbine massacre in 1999. What is known of their long-term psychological effects comes from the reports of people now in early adulthood. Ryan Marino, an emergency-medicine physician at the University of Pittsburgh, recalled that his school had adopted the drills during that period, after a student was found to have a “death list” and access to guns. He told me the drills didn’t seem real until he was 12, and a fellow student coughed during one of the d