There is a word that every school-age kid knows now that my generation did not experience.
No, not that one. I'm talking about the word "Lockdown."
Unfortunately, the lockdown drills, "Code Reds," etc. are a part of every kids' school year. I came on the cusp of the nuclear attack drill, so I never experienced that, but if you grew up in the south all of us know about the tornado drill. That was the one where you crouch on the floor, put your head between your legs, and kiss your *** goodbye.
But it's a little different fearing Mother Nature than it is fearing someone carrying a gun who wants to kill you.
Before I get too carried away, let me be clear that my experience with this school system on this subject has always been that the measures are precautionary, and often, false alarms. Meaning that someone said "maybe" this, or someone else thought they saw something that appeared to be a threat. I Thank God we have never experienced an actual school emergency of that sort.
But there have been lockdowns, and I'm sure that it is best that they took those precautions rather than not take them, so they are to be commended.
Since my kids have been in school, I'd say they've been through something like a half a dozen lock-downs, usually because of foot traffic in the area. I remember an unstable woman outside the elementary school a couple of times, there was a rumor at the high school about a rival teen seeking vengeance, and, most recently, the guy whom the motorist spotted who may or may not have had big knives, a machete, or a gun, depending on which rumor you listen to.
And that's where it gets crazy. Those kids are locked in their classrooms, huddled between the doors with the lights off (keep in mind it's still daylight outside, it's not like they are in the dark), with their cell phones, and the rumors start flying immediately. The parents get the texts, and are left to helplessly decipher what exactly is going on.
"Someone has a gun at school."
"I'm scared, Daddy."
"Great. Another lockdown."
"I'm okay just thought I'd lyk."
"All I can hear is them telling us to turn the lights off."
"There's a crazy guy at Pizza Hut."
School personnel is at the doors telling the kids who are just getting back from lunch to run to their classrooms. It is an adrenaline rush at the very least. And when the parent gets the text that says, "Someone has a gun at school," that's the sickest feeling ever. You sit there for a minute, processing the possibilities. It can make a Mamma want to go Rambo in an instant.
We know, logically, that it's going to be okay. We know that it is most likely something small, a false alarm or kid drama that will end harmlessly. But we also know of other communities that have gone through the same scenario, with tragic endings.
How is it that things have changed so much in one generation?