So here’s what this blog is.
A little wisdom. A little whimsy. A little pathos. A little whatever. Nothing necessarily special, although it’s often the nothing necessarily special which is the most interesting part. And all of it scribbled from the point-of-view of a retired person.
In this blog I do not write much about the news. And I never write about or will write about politics. But I do write a bit about the past.
But first…let me write about the present…
This week the United States witnessed a high school shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead. It was horrific and will leave too many people scarred forever. A high school day was interrupted by injury and death and lives will never quite be the same.
And unfortunately, since the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, there have been 208 school shootings, accounting for 281 deaths.
Since 1999 students in American schools (from elementary to high school) have, at the least, been drilled on what to do should there be a shooting incident at their school. They have been taught what lockdown means, how to hide in corners and closets, and what code words signal all clear.
I recently read the following account by a mother.
“Do you know what it’s like to get the call that your child’s school is on lockdown due to a gunman? I do.
Four. Age 4 is how long in Finn’s life he made it before having to hide in his classroom due to a possible shooter. Or as he told me..’played a fun game where his teacher pushed the desks in front of the door while the kids played the quiet game.’ He’s four.”
Now…let me write about the past…
I was reflecting over the last two days about why when I was in elementary and high school there was never even the slightest concern about school shootings. Never even once. My years in elementary and high school extended from 1953 to 1965. I did not attend kindergarten because in those days my school district did not have kindergarten. (Yikes, am I old or what?)
Nationally, during my time in school there were 15 school shootings resulting in 14 deaths. But I was never aware of any of those. And I do not believe my parents were either. At least no one ever mentioned them.
I don’t have solid answers on why school was safe back then.
My own school experience occurred in a steel mill town of about 50,000 people, located outside Pittsburgh, PA. My high school had about 2500 students. The school day started about 8:15 a.m. and ended about 3:30. There were no school uniforms, but neither did anyone wear jeans. Girls wore skirts or dresses. Boys wore slacks and collared shirts. There were obviously some fights between students, and in my elementary school there were infractions that could result in a paddling by the principal. But I do not recall police ever being called. And I do not recall even any words about guns or knives…not ever.
My elementary school was about a mile from my house and I walked there and back every day, either by myself or with friends. For many of those years I walked home for lunch as well. I do not ever remember a moment of fear or worry.
It was, to me, a good time to be a child. And I imagine anyone who was a child back then will, to a large extent, agree with me.
So I end with one question.
Why then…and not now?