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Kids’ Questions on a Lockdown Planet


#1

Kids’ Questions on a Lockdown Planet

Frida Berrigan

"What did you do at school today, Seamus?" It’s a question I ask him everyday.

"Well," my proud preschooler begins, "we did not have a lockdown drill today." And that’s about as far as he gets in the art of storytelling. Sometimes I'll get something about "bim" (gym) or how "Bambi" (Jeremy) pinched him during free play. But the thing that preoccupies my precocious three year old every single day he goes to school is the lockdown drill he and his classmates had in their first month of school.


#2

Thank you Frida. This is a wonderful heartfelt article. It brought tears to my eyes. And, in the middle of it, on the right column I passed a picture of the Donald in a space suit presumably in a rocket ship, off to who knows where, with the caption: It won't be cheap, but it will be worthwhile. Send Trump into space. I laughed and laughed.
We live in a complex, conflicted world where so much of what transpires makes no sense at all. Thank God we do have connection to each other, and to God. The more we choose to live in our Hearts the sooner everything begins to change.


#3

I really identify with Frida's kid's fears.

As a 6-7 year-old I was fear-fixated with the civil defense nuclear attack sirens (yellow square horns with the "CD" triangle logo on a tall utility pole) that were built in most school yards and parks in the DC area back in the early 1960's. There were TV commercials explaining that a one-minute steady tone meant tune your radio to the same CD logo they used to put on radio dials (63 or 1320 AM). But, a warbling tone mean attack was imminent which I understood to mean that I should prepare for instant death wherever I was - playing in the woods; sledding on the golf course - and there was nothing my mother, or father (who was working 12 miles away in the Pentagon for crying out loud) could do about it. The sirens were tested on the first Wednesday of every month at noon, and they used to scare the living shit out of me since I could not get the thought out of my mind that maybe it was not a drill this time.

Then there was that yellow booklet handed to us to by the teacher give to our parents with a warning not to read it but just give it to our parents. Of course I read it - it provided descriptions of what to expect from a 5 megaton bomb going off nearby and depicted nice backyard fallout shelters with nice white suburban families (in that distinctive 50's-60's commercial-ad-art style of the time) in them doing just fine. At the tender age if 7, it was a real lesson in the definition of "bullshit".

Wasn't the very, very real threat of nuclear annihilation of humanity through the 1960's a far more fear-worthy thing than the statistically tiny chance of a gunman or "Muslim terrorist" visiting Seamus's school nowadays? In my childhood days, the problem was a very real threat of mass human annihilation - but it was grossly downplayed the likes of McNamara and the Gen. Buck Turgisons in the government. In the present day, the problem is just the opposite. Fear-manufacturing corporate media and politicians are wildly exaggerating minor risks of the occasional nut with a gun. But in both times, the objectives were the same.


#4

This is a beautiful essay--it hits you where it hurts with the Truth....


#5

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#6

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#7

"We have to practice for this kind of thing"

I would have thought it far better to have ended "this kind of thing". I am glad I was born and went school in a civilised country where guns were not freely available and the police of those days went about their work unarmed and had the respect of the community.


#8

Have things changed...............?


#9

"It makes me so angry that he and his friends have to go through this trauma and the big men get to keep their right to bear assault weapons. "

A little girl with a little gun can stop a big man with a big gun.


#11

The real risk or nuclear annihilation has certainly become much less than during the Cuban Missile Crisis days.


#12

I too was one of the "duck and cover" kids, too young to really grok that what they were suggesting wouldn't even have protected us from a good sized earthquake, (an even more real possibility even in 1961) much less protect us from "fallout"; which I pictured as falling glass and dust, not the invisible killer rays of radioactivity, which is why it seemed so plausible that hiding under your desk would protect you. I see now that mostly it was, as it is now, propaganda designed to make us and the schools feel like they can do something, give the teachers something to do while all hell is breaking out. But mostly it is terrifying an entire nation in order to prepare them for something either unlikely to happen or unlikely to work if it does happen.


#13

Think of community's ,neighborhoods where people support each other. Kids should have space to be kids. Of course if these kids are asking questions you want to give them some understanding of the world we are living in. I think the teenage years are the time to start involving kids into the serious issues of the day. The lockdown crap is nothing but indoctrination into fear and to conform.