Monday, August 31, 2015


Last evening I received a call from my nine-year-old granddaughter, Brenna. She's been in school for a week and a half now and had lots to tell me. We talked about who was in her class, who her teacher was, and what was her favorite subject so far. A number of her friends were in the same fourth grade section, her teacher is the same one her brother had, and she likes IM best of all.

"What was IM, I asked?" 

"Instrumental music," she explained in a way that somehow I should have known that."

"Why IM?"

"Because it's fun!"

"What's fun about it?"

"Grammy, when the instructor shows me how to play a note on my trumpet, and then tells me to do the same, I do it but it comes out like a sick elephant's painful moan!" 

"So what's fun about that?"

"It's so funny, that's what! Brenna says as she laughs hysterically.

Kids, you gotta love em!

Somehow we got on the subject of lockdown drills. With all the shootings that have occurred in schools over the past ten years, these type of practices are mandatory now.

"What exactly do you do during these drills?" I asked.

"If the gunman is in our area, the teacher locks the door and tells us to hide in a closet, or use our desks as a shield. We're supposed to grab things we can throw at him if he should get in and be ready to run out if a pathway becomes available."

"And if he's not in your area?"

"Then we are supposed to follow the teacher to the nearest exit and run away from the school as fast and as far away as we can."

"The thing that bothers me the most, Grammy, is that we never know when these drills are going to happen and if they're real or just practice. That makes me so nervous I almost want to cry."

"I'm so sad you have to go through that, honey, but it's better to be safe than sorry," I said.

"Grammy, who does that anyway? Why would somebody want to come into a school and shoot kids he doesn't even know? If he's so miserable, why doesn't he just shoot himself and leave us alone?"

"I don't have the answers to your questions, Brenna, but this is what I think. He probably is so angry he can't think straight. He's in a lot of pain so he wants to inflict pain on others. Going after children assures him he can succeed because they are the most vulnerable. People with his type of problems are usually cowards, and wouldn't target grown-ups for fear of retaliation. Funny thing though, most who commit these horrific crimes take their own lives afterwards."

Again Brenna lamented, "Who does that, Grammy?"

I wish I knew how to answer her mournful query, but I don't have a clue. The fact of the matter is anyone can become the shooter of innocent people. The variables that drive a person to act in such a terrible manner are countless. The ones that immediately come to mind are severe depression, being constantly bullied, being antisocial and a loner, seeking a thrill, being high on drugs, and the reasons go on and on. Yet there are those who plan and execute  murder without justification that are described as great folks who have never shown any of the signs I've enumerated, but have been described as pillars of the community, helpful to their neighbors, church people, volunteers in all sorts of needy programs, and just your everyday nice guys who wouldn't hurt a flea.

"I don't know who does that, Brenna. If they could be identified before committing their ugly deeds, many unneccesary and hurtful instances could and would be averted. Unfortunately at this time I can only pray that you and all children are never put in such a situation, yet if you are, thank God the schools are being proactive in reducing the number of casualties by conducting lockdown drills.

Being anxious actually is a good thing, it keeps you on your toes and ready to fight if you must, and take flight if you can!