Here & there: My unexpected conversation with my kids; what to do in a school shooting

Photo by vchal iStock / Getty Images Plus; St. George News

OPINION — There are certain regular conversations I counted on having with my children.

Conversations about not fighting with their siblings, about eating healthy food, about how chores help them learn responsibility, about picking up garbage at the park even if they weren’t the culprits, about standing up for the little guy, about manners and brushing teeth and making beds.

I even understood that I must have regular conversations about underage drinking, drug use, peer pressure, sexual consent and sexual abuse. The latter two have been the subjects of especially frequent dialogues of late with the rise of the #metoo movement and with the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Not to mention the new tech-born conversations about screen time, social media and ridiculously easy access to porn.

A lot of it isn’t easy but all of these conversations are necessary. However, I never thought I’d need to have regular conversations with my children about what they should do if they are caught in a mass school shooting.

Wednesday afternoon, among the myriad of horrible facts emerging from the shooting in Florida, several news outlets reported that the gunman pulled the fire alarm to get more people exposed in the hallways. The resulting conversation with my high school freshman went something like this:

Me: If you ever hear a fire alarm at school, ask the teacher if it’s a planned drill before you even think about leaving the classroom.  If it’s not, stay put.

Him: Um, mom.  You’re forgetting something.

Me: What’s that?

Him: What if it’s an actual fire? The teacher wouldn’t have advance notice about that. If I stayed put I could die.

He’s right. I hadn’t thought about that. What I was thinking about were the new facts from this latest school shooting and how to react to those.

But that’s old news; not in a callous sense but in the sense that this exact school shooting won’t happen again. Any future school shooting would have a new set of facts –  facts we aren’t prepared for or, perhaps, ones we only think we’re prepared for.

Our neighborhood elementary school principal confided in me while standing guard at the school crosswalk on Thursday that he was especially disturbed about this school shooting.

“They (the school administration) did everything right and still 17 people died,” the school principal said.

The anxiety I thought I heard in the principals voice was confirmed when, minutes later in our conversation, a student came running from outside his peripheral vision to thrust a teddy bear at him for inspection: The principal visibly jumped.

The same night of the shooting, I’d been invited to see “The 15:17 to Paris.” The film chronicles the heroic American threesome who helped stop a potential mass shooter aboard a Thalys train bound for Paris in 2015. While the film primarily focuses on the American three, the actions of other ordinary people also contributed to the avoidance of tragedy on that train that day. One such passenger first noticed something out of place and sprang into action.

Many TRAX trains in the Salt Lake Valley display posters with the message, “See something, say something.”

I’m not advocating for vigilante justice, but I think we need something more. It’s not enough anymore to just observe and report.

“See something, do something.” Like the passengers on the 15:17 train to Paris.

Run. Hide. Fight. Pray.

And for heaven’s sake, let’s all keep talking to our kids. Maybe one day soon we’ll figure out how to make conversations about school shootings a thing of the past.

Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Posted in Columnists, Opinion / Columns / ShowsTagged , , , , , , , , ,

29 Comments

  • theone February 18, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Here’s a conversation for you. Ban all assault weapons (more definitively, penis enlargers) is the only rational thing to do, no one needs these killing machines period.
    More than a 15 minute background check would prevent the purchase of any firearm by those who should not have one.
    It should be mandatory to have a six week waiting period while you get enhanced training and licensed to own a firearm.
    Oh and as far as the right to bear arms argument goes, we’ve heard them all, along with the misinterpretation of the Second Amendment. They are arguments made of playdoh that are molded to circumvent common sense and rational solutions.
    It makes me sick that most believe in defending the right to own a killing machine far out weighs the life of a child because it’s deemed accepted collateral damage.
    Enough already with all this paranoid nonsense of protecting yourself and being ready for an imaginary government invasion.
    The only tyranny we suffer from is the lack of gun control and the disgusting blemish we call the NRA!!

    • bikeandfish February 18, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      We often agree but dismissing a constitutional ammendment outright isn’t a solution. Dealing with the nuance of its meaning is fine but we are constitutional democracy and its the final hurdle for any legislation no matter what we feel about the matter.
      The obvious solution would be to ammend the Constitution if so many people agree with your premise. But we definitely don’t have the votes in Congress and I doubt we can get 2/3 of the state legislatures to call a constitutional convention. So that leaves us having to pursue other methods.

      We could pass a federal law but that requires Congressional interest and compliance which seems unlikely.

      And then there is the sticky fact that the last Assault Weapons Ban was emperically analyzed and showed inconclusive support for its potential benefits or success. It also doesn’t account for or influence the vast majority of homocides that rely on handguns, though it has been the go to choice for mass shootings.

      It also doesn’t deal with the fact that there is a positive feedback cycle that has expanded knowledge and planning resources for mass shooters. Simply put, they are getting smarter and more efficient as they study previous massacres.They know how to train, prep and move through scenarios with greater success at killing as many people in short order compared the shootings before 2010.

      I’m a gun owner that supports thoughtful, precise legitimate that accounts for these type of events. But we aren’t getting there by dismissing the Constitution and case law/precedent.

      • comments February 18, 2018 at 3:36 pm

        theone seems a lot more emotional than rational, which is a trademark of extreme leftists.

        I don’t know if “he’s” a woman

        but that’s usually the type of thinking we get from females.

        no offense to females

        it just is what it is

        • theone February 18, 2018 at 4:40 pm

          If it makes you feel better to view an appeal to common sense has to be from a women so be it.
          Your comment reveals who cares about the lives of our children.

        • theone February 18, 2018 at 4:57 pm

          I’m sorry, let me rephrase that Bob. Apparently you are pretty much a misogynistic bigot. Trying to belittle someone by gender is as weak as it gets.
          It’s obvious you care little about women let alone the wellbeing of our children. Time for you to sit down and do some self examination of life.

          Do you own an assault weapon? If you do I would love to hear one valid reason you have other than playing shoot em up as to why you do.

          • comments February 18, 2018 at 5:59 pm

            I have an AR-15. I abhore the thing. I only took it out one time and that was to sight it in and make sure it functioned properly from new. Whenever I look at the things I think of a bunch of 1st graders being massacred by that autistic psychopath.

            But if the BLM and the forest service, fish and game, on and on etc etc have these (near) military-grade weapons then citizens should also have a right to them. Any of these gov’t clowns could just as easily go postal and massacre a bunch of innocent citizens. How much do you trust every low level gov’t employee w/ access to an AR? Trigger happy cops?

            Your way of viewing it is a feminized view of human nature. And an overt faith in gov’t and law enforcers. I know better.

          • theone February 18, 2018 at 9:32 pm

            And there you have it.
            Delusional

          • comments February 18, 2018 at 10:51 pm

            Oh, we’ve reached the point of name calling already?

            I’ll take it as a compliment from Ms. “theone”

            someone calling herself “the one” is calling me delusional. ‘the one’ what? ‘the one’ special snowflake?

            u have a good night 😉

          • Striker4 February 19, 2018 at 9:38 am

            Prophet Bob ( comments ) hates women they’re just objects to him as is anybody that doesn’t agree with his idiotic and delusional comments

        • bikeandfish February 19, 2018 at 10:38 am

          Tell me more about this prophet thing? Might help me put context to the old school misogyny.

          • comments February 19, 2018 at 1:22 pm

            I wouldn’t normally engage in “sexist” type dialogue to any great extent. A woman like ‘the one’ just seems to bring the worst out of a person and be extremely irritating in the process. I actually respect and value women’s opinions most of the time, so long as they aren’t extremely emotion driven and from a radical feminist perspective like “theone’s”

            I know a lot of you leftists like to think the sexes are absolutely interchangeable in so many ways, but even accounting for great variation among individuals, the differences in how male and female… I was thinking of the best way to say this… The ways men and women think are very different, and this is at the biologic level. The brains are very different. This should be common sense, but a lot of leftists have taken this egalitarianism stuff to the extreme and will fully deny it. A lot of leftists will try to rewrite proven scientific facts if they don’t suite a leftist agenda. Would this be you, bike?

          • bikeandfish February 19, 2018 at 1:43 pm

            Ugh, the amount of fallacious logic in your post is astounding.

            First, assuming someone’s sex because of your interpretation of emotion in their post is most definitely of form of prejudice. I would agree its misogyny as it seems designed to keep women in their lane and socially regulated.

            Second, I would love to see all of the scientific evidence that justifies your statements about biological determinism. And to highlight, biology is my field so I expect something pretty substantial to back up your claims. And not just some odd qualitative analysis but something that shows “significance” in evidence for such profound ideas about sex-based determinism.

            If you don’t want to be called out for sexism than don’t engage in it on the forum. That can be best accomplished by not engage in ad hominem attacks or assumptions. Judge someone’s ideas by the idea’s accuracy and support not your assumption about the poster’s gender/sex. And don’t engage in gross stereotypes about people based on the same. Its rather simple and standard expectations of civil discourse.

            I could care less what sort of gross stereotypes you have about liberals. Given my stance on this thread , regarding gun control, its fair to say that I’m not representative of the stereotype nor do I consider myself a liberal in general.

          • comments February 19, 2018 at 3:20 pm

            “Ugh, the amount of fallacious logic in your post is astounding.”

            this is just your opinion

            “First, assuming someone’s sex because of your interpretation of emotion in their post is most definitely of form of prejudice. I would agree its misogyny as it seems designed to keep women in their lane and socially regulated.”

            this is also just your opinion

            “Second, I would love to see all of the scientific evidence that justifies your statements about biological determinism. And to highlight, biology is my field so I expect something pretty substantial to back up your claims. And not just some odd qualitative analysis but something that shows “significance” in evidence for such profound ideas about sex-based determinism.”

            I will leave it to you to show me the evidence that i’m wrong. I’ve never seen it. Does it even exist?

            “If you don’t want to be called out for sexism than don’t engage in it on the forum. That can be best accomplished by not engage in ad hominem attacks or assumptions. Judge someone’s ideas by the idea’s accuracy and support not your assumption about the poster’s gender/sex. And don’t engage in gross stereotypes about people based on the same. Its rather simple and standard expectations of civil discourse.”

            Sometimes these discussions move beyond what we could consider politeness. I think allowing us to express ourselves can be a positive thing, even if it comes to ‘theone’ resorting to name calling. It may childish on her part, but as adults I think we can handle it. 😉

            “I could care less what sort of gross stereotypes you have about liberals. Given my stance on this thread , regarding gun control, its fair to say that I’m not representative of the stereotype nor do I consider myself a liberal in general.”

            i don’t think u are that stereotype, bike. i still consider myself a liberal but def not a leftist or “sjw”. a lot of this sjw stuff seems to be based on fallacies, lies, and even hidden agendas so much of the time.

          • bikeandfish February 19, 2018 at 5:15 pm

            Burden of proof is always on the person making the claim, ie you. I haven’t countered your idea, I just ask you to justify your claims. Is your unwillingness to do so an indication that you don’t actually understand biology, especially the rare cases of biological determinism in individual human behavior?

            Had to laugh that you used the phrase “social justice warrior,” ie “SJW,” in response to someone highlighting your sexism and misogyny. Too ironic. You keep providing more evidence to the accusations.

            And its not “just my opinion” as several others here are calling out your behavior as sexist, prejudiced and misogynistic. And the “women are more emotional” stereotype is a well-established and recognized form of sexism and/or gender prejudice. And using it as a poorly formed critique of another poster is a form of misogyny. You aren’t engaging Theone’s ideas but sidestepping them completely with assumptions about gendered emotionality to discredit them. Its a dog whistle to others who understand the sexist coding. Because why take the poster seriously if you assume women are more emotional and emotionality is construed as a negative and incompatible with reason? So if Theone is coded as a women and emotional there is no reason to interact with them meaningfully. Its lazy rhetoric that abandons anything resembling good faith dialog, ie sexist and misogynistic language that attempts, and fails, to sanction Theone.

            And tend to hesitate calling individuals sexists or misogynists until I see an overwhelmingly pattern. But comparing your gross stereotypes and assumptions to Theone labeling you a name based on sexist and misogynistic comments is just lame. At some point its only reasonable to label comments and users when they derail conversations with bad faith stereotypes. It seem ironic but being intolerant of the intolerable is fair game.

            Best of luck, comment, it seems like you are going to need. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m probably a radical feminist by your definition. And I’ll have no problem calling out your prejudice.

          • comments February 19, 2018 at 6:57 pm

            everyone is prejudiced in one way or another bike, you included.

            And I don’t believe you’d be able to prove anything I’ve stated as untrue. It’s just easier for you to label it in unfriendly terms, in this case: misogynist, sexist, and prejudiced. And in theone’s case: delusional. It’s a bit of a cop out I’d say. It’s what we see extreme leftists do when they don’t like the truth, or when the truth doesn’t fit their agendas.

            And I suppose if I was truly delusional I wouldn’t even know it, right? hahahahahah

            too funny

          • bikeandfish February 19, 2018 at 7:48 pm

            Comments,

            https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof

            As such, their is no validity to your claim until you provide the proof. Its not my job to disprove it. This isn’t the behavior of “extreme leftists” but that of ones who value logic and reason, which isn’t partisan.

            Until you provide sound biological, scientifc proof (your standard since you claimed it was scientifically true) that emotionality is biologically determined its not a concept worth engaging beyond highlighting its a common tool in the sexist and misogynistic repertoire.

            Best of luck, you are going to need it to get out of this hole.

            PS….the fact that you believe everyone is prejudiced in some fashion is not a counter to your comments being labeled sexist and misogynistic.

          • comments February 19, 2018 at 9:07 pm

            news flash, bike, men and women are very very different in many ways besides the whole penis/vagina thing and all the other secondary sexual characteristics.

            Isn’t that common knowledge? Feels like I’m in the twilight zone sometimes.

            Even the most masculine of bulldykes is still a woman at the end of the day, bike. As much as they want to be men. Women tend to crack and fall apart under extreme high pressure situations, even the most masculine of bulldykes. I actually have a personal story about that, but I’m not gonna go into it tonight. Women’s brains are different and their psychology is different from that of men. This used to be common knowledge and common sense. Extreme leftist ideology has created a fantasy world. Feels like i’m teaching elementary basics here.

            cheers bike 😉

          • bikeandfish February 19, 2018 at 9:56 pm

            Keep digging that hole deeper, comments, it just adds more evidence to the accusations.

            You still haven’t provided one shred of scientific evidence about biological determinism in regards to women. You set that standard. Until you actually show me the scientific evidence than you are just posting sexist drivel, ie unsubstantiated opinion. Nice try on trying to change the subject to another set of sexist stereotypes though.

            Would also love to see the scientific support for your claim that women “crack and fall apart under extreme high pressure situations”. But I’m guessing you’ll just triple down on your failing strategy.

            Feel free to prove me wrong.

      • theone February 18, 2018 at 4:37 pm

        I didn’t dismiss the constitution by any means. Looking at my comment it says nothing about disarming the people. I see nowhere in our constitution where it says you can’t make laws of reason when it comes to our safety. You’re dicing hairs my friend.

        • bikeandfish February 18, 2018 at 7:56 pm

          Definitely not splitting hairs:

          “Oh and as far as the right to bear arms argument goes, we’ve heard them all, along with the misinterpretation of the Second Amendment. They are arguments made of playdoh that are molded to circumvent common sense and rational solutions.”

          You used the above to support a goal to ban AR-15s. You said arguments based on the Constitutional “right to bear arms” are “Play-Doh”. Multiple court rulings disagree which is why several states have backed off of appeals recently to support their legislation that has been ruled unconstitutional. A federal assault weapons ban will most likely be challenged.

          And how do we ban them considering they are really just semi-automatic long guns? Do we ban all such weapons? Ever been duck hunting? Very common weapon for it and upland game is semi-automatic long gun, ie shotgun. Are you going to tell me these psychopaths won’t just use the next most deadly and effecient weapon that is readily available? And do we really think its the pistol grips and other accessories that make an semi-automatic weapon deadlier as the previous ban outlined?

          And then there is the hurdle of all of the existing ARs that would still be available for owner sales. Unless we are talking a law that denies such sales or even more restrictive requires confiscation. Those are non-starters so we are talking hundreds of thousands to millions of ARs on the market still available to these killers.

          And even existing law only stops individuals of a certain age from purchasing certain fire arms but they can still own them.

          Without a major legal overhaul the AR debate is one of the biggest legislative hurdles in recent history. The previous ban existed before the most recent and ground-breaking law that further supported the right to bear arms. Its not impossible but its a non-starter to call the strong legal precedent behind the “right to bear arms” arguments “Play-Doh”.

          We are on the same side but I honestly don’t see a noticeable path through the issue.

          • theone February 18, 2018 at 9:31 pm

            You’ve given in to willful ignorance. I refuse to lay down another life in defense of an outdated concept.

          • comments February 18, 2018 at 10:55 pm

            “the one”, you’re not laying down any lives, don’t worry. don’t stress yourself into a nervous breakdown, hun. Go read your huffingtonpost, and calm down.

        • bikeandfish February 19, 2018 at 9:14 am

          Please do share and expose how I have given into “willful ignorance” in my statements. Thats a hefty yet unsubstantiated claim.
          I get being tired or frustrated with the issue but wishing away the 2nd Amendment does absolutely nothing to change the legal hurdles in the way of your idea.

          I actually think we are long overdue for another Constitutional Congress but I don’t think its feasible. We likely agree that the 2nd Amendment is outdated in context and purpose but I’m not convinced we’ll ever have a Congress or state legislatures that could create a better compromise.

  • Not_So_Much February 18, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    The best defense against a bad guy with a gun, is a trained good guy with a firearm.

    • comments February 18, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      so is a firearm the ‘good guy version’ of a gun?

      😉

  • comments February 18, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    There were failures on so many levels with this shooting. The guy had been reported to FBI. Cops had been to his house 20+ times they said. The boy was an obvious psychopath to so many who knew him, and yet nothing was done to prevent him from access to a near-military-grade assault weapon. Everyone is so wrapped up in their own little going-ons and their iphone 10s (are we still on 10?) that I suppose the prevailing attitude is simply “it’s not my problem, let someone else will deal with it”. Apathy, self-indulgence, selfishness, obliviousness, indifference, or uncaring– all are moral diseases of our modern society.

  • riccie February 18, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    I have been hearing the debate from all sides about rights and banning. This whole shooting is a mess. I am sorry that it ever happened and hope it never happens again. With that being said. how did this kid sneak past the main office of the school with all the people there go to another part of the school and do his dastardly deeds without being noticed, stopped, and halted? Yes he had a back pack but you cannot put an AR15 in a back pack this thing was about the same size as a guitar even if it was concealed . Why did not the school personnel notice him? How did he get past locked doors, gates, cameras, security? Why isn’t the school, the school district, the security people, etc showing any type of responsibility? There had to be several people notice him on the school grounds before he started shooting.
    It appears that none of these areas are being investigated nor accepting partial responsibility.

  • ladybugavenger February 19, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Can y’all go one month without calling people bigots?

    • comments February 19, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      I’ve never called anyone a bigot

      I’m beginning to think maybe it’s not a bad thing to be called that in these contexts 😉

      if it’s hysterical, unreasonable people calling you a bigot then do take it as a compliment 😉

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.