Careful, smart, joyful

By Nancy Black

“Duck and cover.” That’s what my generation was taught as children. The Cold War was very real. Most school cafeterias were designated as fall-out shelters. Ducking and covering was also designed to save people from tornadoes. We actually had to duck and cover one day when I was a child at a Girl Scout meeting because of a tornado warning. 

“Stop, drop and roll.” I guess every generation since the sixties learned that one. In case your person is on fire, you are supposed to stop, drop and roll. 

But my children? Their generation had to learn “run, hide, fight.”

Active shooters are two words we never used to say, or see in the news, much less experience first-hand, when I was a kid. But the harsh reality of our society these days is, we all need to be aware of what to do in an active shooter situation.

Run! That’s the first action experts suggest we do. Forget fumbling for your phone so you can stream the situation live in hopes of getting more followers on social media. Leave your phone, purse, laptop and everything else behind and get the heck out. Jump through a window, if you have to, and over dead bodies (harsh, but possibly true) if need be and run like the wind.

Hide! My children told me about this one. In schools, the students and teachers are trained to block the doors with desks, put paper on the windows to obscure the view of the shooter and hide under tables. Most school rooms now also have high-tech door stops, which prevent the door from being opened from the outside. Students know to be silent and to silence their cell phones.

Fight! If all else fails, fight for your life. Throw chairs, hard objects and anything else you can find at the perpetrator. Three cheers for the rabbi in Colleyville who threw a chair at the gunman who attacked his synagogue, allowing the hostages to escape. Fire extinguishers make a great defensive weapon, too, and are available in most public places. 

In a state like Texas, which allows anyone to carry a firearm in public, whether they are licensed and trained to use that weapon or not, it would benefit all of us to become more aware of our surroundings. Scope out the nearest exits next time you head out to the grocery store. Scan the crowd at the next sporting event you attend to look for anything or anyone out of the ordinary. Report suspicious behavior to authorities immediately.

I’m going to add one more suggestion to the above. Trust your gut! I may not always like what my gut instincts suggests to my mind, but nine out of 10 times, that deep down feeling in my stomach (or subconscience) has been correct most of my life. If a situation (or a person) seems off, it (or he or she) probably is. 

We shouldn’t have to live in fear of an active shooter suddenly disrupting our lives with violence. But that is what life in 2022 looks like. The alarming number of active shooter and mass murders incidents occurring in our country these days are proof positive that we all need to be aware of our surroundings at all times. 

So be careful, take precautions but enjoy life anyway. We can’t let anyone steal our happiness.