Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What Does It Say About "Us"?

I try not to be political or controversial when I write on this blog but the tragic events over the last month or so throughout our country sparked a question in my mind. I need to ask it and I will later in this post. Let me give you a little background as to how I came to this query. 

First, I consider myself naturally paranoid. Not in the sense that I think someone is after me or anything like that. But in the sense that I am always considering, if not preparing, for the worst case scenario. 

Whenever I am in a public place, such as the movies, in a theater, church or an arena, I always make sure I know where the exits are. I plan out in my mind what I would do if I needed to get out in an emergency. It's just something I've done all my life. It's just part of my personality. 

When I say "emergency" I mean a fire, gas leak, earthquake, tornado, or some other "incidental" or "accidental" event. Something that requires a quick but calm and orderly exit. 

 Of course, the odds of something happening while I am in a public place are low but not impossible. 

But after the terrorist attack on 9/11/01 the world changed. The possibility of having to get out of a public place as fast as possible for a much more dangerous and urgent reason was introduced into the equation. While the threat had increased it was still somewhat remote because the likely perpetrator of an attack was a radical religious individual from foreign countries.  

But over the last couple of years even more has changed. The frequency and location of the deadly attacks and the type of people behind them has expanded. More and more often people with extreme mental or emotional problems are driven to diabolical acts of evil. Individuals who live in this country are radicalized through the propaganda of Isis on the internet convinced to take deadly action with the promise of "great reward". Domestic attackers are, unfortunately, becoming more and more common.   

The possibility that something could happen in your town or where you go is higher now than ever. 

How many people attending a concert in Las Vegas, riding on a New York City bike path, or attending a worship service in a small Texas town thought anything would happen while they were there? 

I've written all of that to write about this. 

Yesterday, I found myself in a public place, in this case a museum, with a lot of individuals crowded into one relatively small place. 

It was a very pleasant experience and I will write about it in an upcoming post soon. 

But there was one short moment during my time there, I must mention. About an hour into my wait in line I took this picture. 
It does not encompass the entire room but it does convey the fact that there was a lot of people in a relatively small space. 

At the time the only accessible entrance/exit to that room was through this door. The one I had come through about 30 minutes earlier. 

With the tragedy of the mass shooting in the Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas still fresh in my mind and the emotion of it still churning in my gut, I looked around at the adults and the children in that small room. 

A wave of paranoia shot through me and some chilling questions came into my mind. What if someone came in and started shooting? What would I do? Who would I save? Would I just look to get out of there or would I try and help people?

I did my best to calm down and get my anxiety under control by telling myself that I would do what I could to save/help the children first and then the adults. Then I took a deep breath and came back to reality.  

The sad thing is that those questions and the thought that sparked them are no longer that irrational for an average citizen of this country to consider when in a public place. 

These days, court houses, public schools, college campuses government buildings, corporate offices, all have security measures, procedures, and protocols in place to protect, employees and students as much as possible in what has now become known as "an active shooter" situation. 

My question to you is what does the fact that people have to think about this kind of stuff on a daily basis now say about us as a country? As a society? What are the answers? 

This not just one issue. The problem covers multiple areas including: gun control, mental health, treatment of military veterans, pop culture, social media, public education and a whole lot more. 

I ask again, what do you think about this whole issue? I have put up a Facebook post advising everyone about this post. Put your comments and or answers to my questions in the comment section of that post. Or feel free to send me an email:

So there you have it. Not my usual blog post. But I just had to ask the questions behind the experience. 

In my next post I will get back to my usual writing style, I promise. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to this one. God Bless.    

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