Britain’s New Video About Terrorism is Similar to What American Kids are Taught
When I am meeting people from around the world, many people ask questions about the United States. As I open up to these people, it is easy to see there aren’t many differences between the United States and the rest of the world. I am happy I am I can do this through a study abroad program. We do notice our differences quickly though and stand out when spoken about. Recently, a conversation regarding terrorism made this clear.
A new video from the United Kingdom government gives advice to vacationers on handling themselves during a tourist attack. The advice on terrorism is essentially “run, hide, tell,” which the people around me see as ridiculous. The thought of being in a terrorist attack does not occur to many people. People do. While the video might be helpful as well as the advice, I find the video oddly similar to do what I did growing up in my public schools.
Growing up, since grade five, I remember doing lock downs. As a child, it meant closing the doors and putting your head down. I was told this was just in case someone gets into the school that isn’t supposed to be there. However, as I grew up and went to middle school, junior high and eventually high school, these procedures appeared increasingly more.
It was learning how to use our desks, which were bulletproof, as shields and how to quickly stack them. Our high school, newly built at the time, came equipped with quick locking doors and these special desks. They easily sat on top of each other until they reached the ceiling. While doing this, we had to be silent. Other people closed the blinds and the teacher locked the door. Then for about ten minutes, we stayed on the floor in the dark as people ran around the high school trying to get in.
This happened about once every semester, not as frequent as our fire drills but more frequent than our tornado drills.
Many students believed it never would happen. Thankfully, it never did. Increasing my fear was the need to find my nearest exit. I also panicked if I was in the hallway when we had a lockdown. No longer was it a stranger coming into the school, but it a classmate who might open shoot us.
I told this to my counterpart students from around the world, and they stared at me dumbfounded.
“And this is, like, normal?” asked an Australian student.
“Yeah.” In our American lives, why wouldn’t it be?
With the increase of mass shootings, especially in schools, there needed to be an increase in awareness. That meant doing drills. It meant the debate over arming teachers. Already in our high school we had an armed police officer.
There are arguments from parents about when kids should start doing these shooter drills, and my parents didn’t like when I was younger doing these things. When I was in grade 10, my parents were happy for the drills. This is because when I was in grade 10, the Sandy Hook Massacre happened, where 20 children and 6 adults died. This information is still pertinent towards terrorism and being prepared for a mass shooting.
It was never too young to start learning how to act in mass shootings.
All of it is true that if I am ever in a mass shooting, I may not have control over my body. I may not have the time to think. Survivalist skills come out, and that is when your body decides fight, flight or freeze. It may be some training, though, which terrifies many because this training has made me a bit more scared to go out in public. I always find the nearest exits. I hate feeling trapped anywhere, like movie theaters. The trapped feeling is the reason I do not like movie theaters.
While other people spoke about the United Kingdom video with disgust, in truth, American students have been going through it for a while. We might be the best trained at handling the situation, but the point is that it should never have to come to that.