Wednesday, May 01, 2019
Just This Week
This week has had a theme to it that I never want to see again.
On Wednesday, we devoted a chunk of the Cabinet meeting to discussing various measures to ensure or improve the physical security of everyone on campus. By necessity, that involved discussions of some pretty awful scenarios.
The police chief was called away from the Cabinet meeting upon getting word that our Long Branch location was on lockdown “due to a gun situation.” When he returned, he reported that someone apparently had a gun “somewhere between our location and the elementary school.”
I have a hard time when the word “gun” is in the same sentence with the words “elementary school.”
The situation was eventually resolved peacefully. Thank goodness for that.
On Tuesday I saw this video on Twitter. It’s of a young girl delivering a well-rehearsed talk on active shooter preparation at an adult workplace. The adults clearly weren’t expecting someone her age. The man at the 1:30 mark pretty much captured it.
Of course, also on Tuesday, someone at UNC Charlotte shot and killed two people and injured more, for reasons unknown. On Wednesday we learned that one of the people killed was killed while in the process of trying to stop the killer, following the “run, hide, fight” instruction that has become this generation’s version of “stop, drop, and roll.” His sacrifice apparently saved others’ lives. The hero, Riley Howell, deserves to be remembered. The killer, whose name I will not use, doesn’t.
My kids, the older of whom turns 18 this month, don’t remember a time without lockdowns and active shooter drills in school. That’s not an exaggeration. Here’s a post I wrote at the time about The Boy’s first active shooter drill, when he was five.
His first active shooter drill, when he was five.
He’s on his way in a few months to UVA-Charlottesville, which made news a couple of summers ago when Nazis in Dockers stormed the campus, and later, one of them sped a car into a crowd, throwing several people airborne and murdering Heather Heyer.
I’m okay with sending him there because the Nazis don’t get to win. We refuse to let them.
At one level, I’m glad that TB and The Girl see lockdown drills as normal enough that they don’t get traumatized by them. But at a more basic level, I hope that none of this ever becomes normal for them, or anyone else.
It doesn’t have to be this way. For a long time, it wasn’t. It’s this way because somehow, we’ve made the choice to allow it.
We have to stop allowing it. This is madness, and, worse, it’s voluntary.
The way to pay tribute to Riley Howell is to make his sacrifice the last one. Let this week be the very last of its kind.