To Whom it may Concern:
Note to self -- next time, 'opt out'.
Today was a planning day. We had some training and warning and our campus was going to participate in a full scale Active Shooter on Campus Sceniro and follow up -- with real guns shooting blanks and real people calling 911 and so forth. We had other training as well. I instruct students. With recent statistics, it seems that since the Sandy Hook incident - there have been over 20 other active shooters on campus -- so, we must be prepared. I am really proud of ALL the people it took and how professional our active shooter drill was today -- but....
I had decided to take a sick day. I was NOT going to participate. I just had this feeling it was not going to be a good thing for me.
But...I came to school today.
Again, I said, I had the chance to 'opt out'. After the training, and being told I was going to be a person that was in 'shock'...I figured that I could handle it.
We had our planning day from 8am - 11am. Then we had lunch. Then we gathered in our groups and were instructed on the WHAT we were to do and then we were put into our spots. I was one of five, that had to be in the open court area and to sort of hide and stand in shock. We poked fun and made light of the situation but, but after more instruction, my head began to think of EVERY possible thing that could go wrong. I know now -- I made myself so anxious...but still.
My purpose was to poke my head around the corner when the 'good guys' got on campus ( the police) and then I may or may not be shot depending upon how they reacted. They did not know it was a drill until they GOT on campus and had to rid themselves of their real guns and get 'training' guns. I knew it was a drill. I knew they were blanks. But -- it did not FEEL like a drill - it was TOO real.
Note to self -- next time, be the bystander.
When the first shots were heard and THEY WERE LOUD, and the screams....my knowledge of it being 'a drill' left my brain -- it became really real and I immediately began to feel pain.
Now mind you -- my husband has no sympathy for me and won't even listen to what I want to express ( thus THAT is why I am blogging - I HAVE to release these thoughts! ) ...so if you don't care either - you are free to stop reading, I won't be offended, but don't tell me I am being silly or a baby cause I will still tell you -- it seemed pretty real to me.
My mind raced to what the kids would think...how those teachers in Columbine or Sandy Hook -- or at the Oklahoma bombing...my heart raced. And again, in hindsight, I created MUCH more anxiety within my head and heart than maybe I would of experienced in a real situation or then again, maybe this is exactly how I would of reacted - I would of frozen in shock and been killed -- as I was RIGHT in the line of the shooter and he looked right at me and turned down the corner of the building. That certainly seemed REAL to me. Tears. Full out tears - and screaming and with EACH shot, my heart jumped and I jumped and cried even more and God I prayed and prayed that it would stop -- pretty sure THAT was a real as it gets.
Anyway, within a minute I could see the active shooter and as he walked towards the area I was 'planted' my head quickly went into self-preservation mode and then I dropped to the ground as he was within 10 feet of me....and I had NO control. Helpless. And as he stood 6 feet away from me, I kept waiting and waiting for him to 'shoot' me...with blanks of course -- but, later I found out that was not my purpose -- I was to obstruct the 'good guys'.
Note to self -- if I decide to ever do this again , wear waterproof mascara.
Back to the scenario -- it was awful, hard to be a part of, real and yet -- I don't believe I have EVER been so SCARED in my life -- literally scared. I had gone to the bathroom 4x already that day, but probably would of peed my pants. That feeling of helplessness, was so powerful and so moving. Again, I began to weap for all of the people that have had to endure such a real event.
I am just saying - the drill was good. The exercise revealed MUCH. I believe and pray that God will protect our little school -- but I know this for sure, I will never walk on my campus again without asking God to please protect us...and it will be a LONG time before I get the imagine of that 'shooter' wearing jeans, grey blue t-shirt with black rimmed square glasses out of my head...out of my thoughts. And I am pretty sure that any gunshot that I hear over the next few days will be met with a jump and a slight scream. Just saying.
After the ambulance people came to 'survey' the casualties....we regrouped for questions and...
Then we did it again - a different scenario. The 2nd time was NOT much better. I think it was worse. It was different, and again - the tears rolled. It was too real again. I was in a different location this time but the anxiety of being able to see the active shooter at first was something I just did not expect. Like I said - my head knew this was a drill, but when those shots were fired ....something else became reality.
Now that I think about that -- that is a bit weird. Post Traumatic Stress? Is that what this is?
Many others-- laughed. Several allowed me to vent and cry on their shoulders and I got the best hugs. And still, I am sure many others -- probably like my husband-- looked at me and felt - 'get over it'!
I am finally able to 'talk' about it now -- I came home, popped two Extra -strength Tylenol and then laid on the couch and cried and finally fell asleep. Two episodes of Seinfeld and a big glass of milk and a bowl of cereal were comfort! Even as I type and try to express these thoughts....my heart is racing.
The bible verse I had in my pocket was Psalms 126.5 "those who sow in tears shall reap in Joy"...so tomorrow is going to be a GREAT day...and lots of JOY will be coming!!
But seriously ...Lord -- the best thing-- would be that -- YOU just keep our campus safe. God I pray that NO more schools would be attacked -- maybe this year -- there could be NONE - in Jesus name. Amen.
By the way - I seriously considered calling in sick tomorrow -- but I don't think my excuse of 'Post Traumatic Stress' would fly ....especially since -- I signed a waiver before we did the exercise ....stating that I would not hold anything against the school/organization if anything went wrong. LOL.
But note to self, next time, 'opt out' or call in sick!
Thank you for allowing me to ramble and express my thoughts -- !!