On the way home yesterday, I listened to a piece on NPR about school lockdowns. NPR had interviewed a six year old kid who was talking about how lockdown drills scared him. He worried about not closing something and having an intruder shoot into the classroom. This young boy was glad to practice lockdowns because he wanted to learn how to stay safe. This piece made me very sad and I turned off the radio in mid-interview.
We talked about this at dinner. My husband remembered doing drop drills as a young kid during the Bay of Pigs debacle. According to Bob, there was at least one drop drill every week, often more. And this went on for months. They were timed on how fast the kids could get under their desk. Instructions were put your hands over your neck to protect from flying glass. Close your eyes and don’t look at the flash or you might go blind. Open your mouth wide to protect your ears or you might become deaf. He remembers worrying that his eyes were not tightly closed or his mouth was not open enough.
Maggie talked about intruder drills–climb under your desk and crouch into a ball. She had the added attraction of getting the doors locked and lights turned out. The code words were “there will be a staff meeting at 5 pm”. When those words were said, the kids had to drop. I missed the nuclear bomb drop drills, we did them in school for earthquakes. But the instructions were similar–drop under your desk, cover your neck, close your eyes, and wait for the debris to stop falling. And I think it was my mom that talked about drills against japanese fighter planes during WWII in California. She also had to watch for balloons with bombs.
What kind of society do we have where generations of kids are inculcated with fear? I don’t want to live in a society where we have to carry guns, I don’t want to touch a gun. But there are serious proposals about arming teachers and staff for all grades of schools because shootings have become commonplace.
But not all is gloom. I eventually turned on the radio yesterday and listened to one of my lectures for the Bardic Course on the nature of water. Very nice talk about the role of water in our lives and how we can do more to appreciate this resource. The final statement was a quote
May the waters of life carry you gently wash towards a life of purpose, passion, and beauty. Phillip Carr-Gomm
I like the thought of living a life with purpose, passion, and beauty. If I can find a way to show that to others, perhaps I can do a little bit to counteract the ugliness of guns and school shootings.