There has been an epidemic of school shootings, but you think, it will never happen to me, right? My kids are safe, my kids school isn’t in a bad area, you will be in denial, fooling yourself it will never happen, then it does to you kids. I know this… Because it happened to Daughter.
Today, or Tuesday, March 20, 2018, the first day of Spring, my Daughters school, Great Mills High School in St Mary’s County had an active shooter situation. Yes, you read that right.
This is our new frightening reality, a reality our children must face, just by going to school and educating themselves, they are now a target, and it isn’t a thing that should be a thing for our children to consider.
At 8.05am I got a phone call from my Daughter, a little unusual as kids are more likely to text than call. I was at work, but was free at that moment to take the call, which is unusually for me. She was crying, so I immediately scurried into our conference room and I heard these heart stopping words.
”Daddy, there is a shooter in our school”
I am 100 miles away and listening to my little girl beg me to help her, helpless is one of the many things I felt at that moment. So what did I do? I don’t have superpowers, no way of instantly being there and stopping this shooter, to shield her from danger, I was unable to protect my baby… So, I went into survivor mode for her and asked her situation questions, so I could think for her.
Are you in a classroom? Yes (Okay that means she best off hiding not running)
Is their a Teacher there? Yes (Good, hopefully like me, the Teacher had to experience active shooter training and will at least do the basics, and an authority figure will reduce the panic in the room)
Is the door locked? Yes (Locked doors are more likely to be ignored by an active shooter)
Go to the far side of the classroom, away from the corridor side and sit down on the floor, can you do that for me? Yes, I can. (Keep her away from the corridor side of the room to reduce her chances from ricochets)
Now, listen to me, you are going to be alright,but I need you to do this for me. I need you to lay down and keep as many desk and chairs between you and the corridor side of your room that you can. Can you do that for me? Okay. (This was the worst part of this phone call, I am telling her to basically hide and praying there is enough furniture to protect her from view and to stop any bullets that may come through the wall.)
She was as safe as I could make her, so I asked more questions about her situation, thinking if I had too I could somehow relay this to the Police.
Can you hear any loud bangs? No (Shooter could be roaming or has been stopped)
That is a good sign, (keeping it optimistic even though I am screaming in terror inside) can you hear anyone running around outside? No (Shooter may have left for easy targets or again has been stopped.)
This is also a good sign (means the shooter is either gone, or has been stopped) Did you try to contact your Mother (who she lives with)? Yes, but she isn’t picking up. (I will contact her then)
I then put the phone on speaker and text her mother, giving her a minute before finding another phone to call her. Her mother answers and states she is on her way to the school. Leaving me to keep talking to my Daughter.
What do you see now? I just saw Police move past our windows.
Good, (I am now very relieved) that means you are safe, stay down and do what they say then they come to your classroom. I am going to remain on the phone with you until you don’t need me too.
What is happening now? The Teacher took a call and says we are locked down, and to wait for an Officer to come us. (Safe finally)
Over the next couple of hours my questions were a mix of what is happening now and asking where she is. I did all this to keep her busy and thinking. I live two hours away from her and the best protection I could give until I got there was to keep her active and think for her.
Please remember my Daughter was already trapped in the school, and had to shelter in place. If they can always tell your child to escape and to get as far away from the event as they can, and then keep going. Think for them.
I hope I did the right things today.
It Is Not Right
Today my Daughter faced a situation that no one should be a participate in, an active shooter real life scenario. At this point, I had to keep my head clear for her, hope for a little bit of luck and for a fast Police response. Remember by Daughter was stuck in a classroom with only one exit and this was a very dangerous situation, that so easily could have been even more lethal than it was.
These mass shootings should not be a thing, but they are and our children are now targets for any asshole with a gun, who has had a bad day. There are no easy answers to gun safety and it is obvious this is a conversation this nation is not ready to have with itself.
And I don’t know what to say about that.
But… I know this, it will be my Daughters generation that will change the course of this conversation. They are brave, bold and tired of paying for our mistakes. So, we can help our kids take those first steps, just like we did when they were toddlers, call your local State Senator or Representative and ask them, just what are they really doing about gun safety.
We owe our children that much at least.