Friday, January 25, 2013

A moment of fear

This week started out a orml week in the trenches of the classroom, and then.... The overcom announces, "lock down. Immediately". I freeze in my tracks and think, this was not in the agenda, no word was said, this must be REAL. I have 38 students, myself, my unborn child to protect. And we're just sitting ducks in a "shoot here, crazies, please" unprotected location. I ensure the door is locked and a student shuts off the lights. I look at the door, with a tall window next to it, facing the hallway. A bullet could easily break the glass and hit a student. The glass could shatter and if the murderer is somewhat slim, they could walk right on in and kill us all. I look to the opposite wall, a wall entirely of windows facing the outside, the school entrance. Again, a bullet could pierce these windows. An entire wall as a vantage point for who to murder. Sure. We scoot to the front, perdendicular to the window-wall, hunker down, and stay silent. You know, so the killer doesn't know we're here. It will all be okay. Except....if someone is entering the school grounds during school hours, seeing cars and busses and a domino effect of lights switching off, I think they can figure out, hmm, there are children inside. Even a dumb murderer, after a casual glance in the window (missing the dark huddled masses) would eventually think, hmm it's a school day, the kids are here.

Or the murderer could think, hmm, let's just shoot through the long window and walk on into the classroom and massacre everyone. Let's angle the gun through the window wall and empty a spray of gunfire towards the floor, there are people there. Simple geometry dictates that merely pulling the blinds on the windows and hunkering down, you are still a target. Just like in pool, any part of the pool table is reachable with simple geometry. Same goes for a classroom.

So I stood there, ushering my students towards one side of the room, thinking, where do I hide? From the left, we're all targets and from the right, shoot, climb in, we're dead. There is no where to run or hide. It can take the police five, ten, fiftenn minutes to get here. Add the fact there are probably 60 classrooms, and the murderer, the survivors, the deceased, could be anywhere. It could take the police minutes to stop the violence once on campus, as they have to find the violence.

It reminds me of the duck and cover nuclear bomb drills. Like ducking and covering will save you from radiation and the incinerating blast. Like crouching against a wall, in a gun-free unrpotected zone, with huge picture windows, will protect you from death in a mass shooting.

It's all to make people feel secure, but it is anything but security. As I froze in fear, I thought, who will die? Will it be a classrooom down the hall, or will it be mine? Who will be targeted? Will I survive? Why can't I protect my 38 students, self, and unprotected baby? Why must I come here and have such thoughts and legitimate fears?

It was a drill. An unanounced cruel joke of sorts, where I sat in prayer, asking for life, thinking God it happened. My fears came true. I didn't deserve this. Our students don't deserve this. Removing guns or making gun free zones will not stop the violence of sick individuals. Protection, real, not "oh duck down kiddos" will be our saving grace.


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