We were all in a classroom. One faculty member acted as the professor, the rest of us were in desks as students. And then the police officers and security personnel doing the training acted like different variations and levels of human threats.
It was terrifying.
Honestly, I thought that I'd go and hopefully learn something, but also slouch in the back and be snarky with a couple of my friends. (Basically the same approach that my students take to class.)
I certainly didn't expect that my adrenaline would shoot up, that my heart would be thumping, that my eyes would be sweeping the secondary-story classroom and wonder how long it would take me to bust open a window with a desk chair (the windows don't open).
At one point, I crouched in a tiny closet, my heart in my throat, listening to the computer-tech guy on campus yell-whisper for all of us to get down because he saw a gun.
During another scenario, we managed to escape the classroom (the goal is ALWAYS to escape--nobody stays alive by crouching down under a desk), but the exercise science professor in front of me paused on the way to the "safe zone" of the stair landing. Fueled by adrenaline, I actually SHOVED her with both hands and yelled at her to run.
When the shooter surprised us by being in the room, one of our "classmates," my instinctive reaction was to vault over a desk--literally, like I put my hands on it and swung my body over it (in wedge heels). And then I wondered about how much my choice of footwear could handicap me in a life-or-death situation.
Afterward, I talked with my colleagues about what we would do if we were in our offices and heard shots in the building. My office door has frosted glass, and my windows open out onto the roof. It's a bit of a drop, but I might try to block my door by shoving over a bookcase and then exit that way because in these big old buildings with plaster walls, it's hard to tell where the shots are coming from. And when people are running in panic, it's hard to know which way to go. I don't want to think about it.
I don't exactly feel safer having taken the training. I'm also not living in fear every time I'm in the front of a classroom. But I do think about door locks and barricades and the fact that the training--which I KNEW was fake--was so freaking scary.
I think about the fact that David's elementary school practices intruder drills and lockdowns. I think about the fact that he's in the front office and would probably try to be a hero. I don't want to think about it.
I think about the fact that Zuzu will be in elementary school in a year and a half. I think about her doing intruder drills. I think about her being scared and away from me. I don't want to think about it.
I think about the fact that Coco's daycare, which has babies from 6 weeks to preschool, has a lockdown drill. I know Coco and her baby-friends are oblivious, but I don't want to think about it.
I don't want to think about these things.
I read this article http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/please-dont-get-murdered-at-school-today
and it just about brought me to my knees.
The thing is, I grew up in a rural community where a lot of people hunt. A lot of people I know (including my immediate family) own guns. David has a shotgun--not loaded--in a case on the top shelf of a storage closet in the basement. My favorite sister-in-law is an avid and responsible hunter. You all know I can't do killing animals, but I've had fun shooting at tin cans balanced on fences. I'm not anti-gun.
(And the people I know who own guns are good citizens who would still be able to purchase them even if such purchases were well-regulated.)
But still. I'm scared of what guns can do. And I'm terrified that the people I love most in this world could become targets for some psychopath's misplaced rage.
I wish I had a solution, but I don't. I am joining the conversation, though. Even though they're talking about things I don't want to think about.