But, I Hope …

I saw this article today. It made me sad in so many ways … I could fill my blog for years discussing this topic. The writer, a special-ed teacher, explained, in no uncertain terms, that should there be a shooter at her school, she would not die for the children in her class as she did not want to die herself. She wants to go home to her own kids. She wants to be there for her family, her parents, her siblings. She wants to live. I mean, really, who doesn’t? She discussed at length how much she puts herself out for the kids in her care, how she worries over them, guides them, helps them … basically everything any good teacher does, that, to her, seems award worthy (okay, she didn’t say that, it was just my take on her tone).

However, when it comes down to it – when called upon to protect her charges, she would be hiding in the supply closet (her class’ go-to place in an active shooter event). Oh, not to keep the children who were lucky enough to make it in there with her safe, but to keep herself safe. She ended the article with a curt “I won’t save your child.” I have no doubt whatsoever that she means it.

I’m not a teacher. I don’t have to participate in active shooter drills or instruct a room full of kids on what to do in a life-threatening emergency. Ex-husbands and creepers aside, I’ve never experienced anything more threatening than a crowd-filled fight and being trapped in the perimeter … squashed in like cattle – no guns involved.

But.

I hope … I would sincerely hope … that if I were thrown into a sadly-not-so-unthinkable scenario, that I would do what I could to protect the children around me. Yes, I want to come home to my kids and my family … hell, I just want to come home to my dog. I have people who love me and count on me and I think, need me. Not counting those in my familial circle who would like to see me stick around, in a purely selfish sense, I do not want to die.

But.

I hope my ever-present compassion would come to the fore. I can’t imagine being in a situation where children are at risk of dying and not helping in any way that I could. I’m only human. Maybe if the time came, I would choke. I don’t know. I’ve never been called upon to do anything at all of greatness.

But.

I hope I could make a difference in this world. In my heart of hearts, I have faith that I would rise to the occasion and save a child whose life hasn’t even yet begun, whether they are mine or not, whether I know them or not.

Personally, the idea of slamming a door shut in the face of a child to save myself, not to mention a child that I see every freakin’ day … a child that I taught to read, a child whose shoes I tied, a child whose future I helped mold, is abhorrent to me. Oh, I can’t say as I completely blame this teacher for her way of thinking (I mean, I do, but still …). After all, she is living with the very real prospect of death every day, given our current climate of school shootings. So, it’s easy for me to say what I would and wouldn’t do as I go back and forth to my relatively safe job.

But.

I hope I would do the right thing. My intentions are there. Of course, we all know what road the best of intentions pave. It’s easy to say that I would jump out in front of a bus – or a bullet – to save anyone, let alone a child. However, when it came right down to it … would I make that leap? It goes without saying that if it were MY kids, that leap of faith would be as natural as breathing.

But.

I hope that when faced with an impossible decision in a horrific situation where kids were in danger, that I would make my own children proud … that I could face my death – or life – with the knowledge that I not just aspired to greatness, but truly achieved some small semblance of it through the life of a child.

I just know that when push came to shove, if I were the one coming out the other side … at the cost of a young life I, myself, could have saved and deliberately chose not to … well, I’m not sure there would ever be light or joy in my own life again. It’s certainly not a life I would want to live.

17 thoughts on “But, I Hope …

  1. the reality is a lot of people really don’t know what they would do until confronted. it’s OK for someone to exercise a “flight” reaction because the truth of the matter is there is a normal “Fight or Flight” reaction in all of us. I suspect you’re one of those women that could summon up or channel a great deal of fear into a severe Momma Bear reaction. I pity the fool that turns that on.

    • I understand. It was just the deliberate nature of her attitude that bothered me. It’s one thing to choke or run in fear, but to make such a choice beforehand … that just doesn’t seem like the actions of a good person to me. It’s usually my kids that drive me to action, more so than myself. So I guess Momma Bear is a good description. 😀

  2. I don’t even know what to say. I would take my kids out of her class, not because she might run away if anything happened but because she PLANNED ahead of time to run away. I find it horrifying that anyone can plan ahead to leave kids behind. I can’t imagine being in a situation like that but still…she sounds as if she’d throw the kids in front of her to save her own skin. Not a teacher I’d want my kids to have…ever.

  3. We all face the fight or flight response and I am sure most adults will fight for any child they see in danger (it’s evolution), and especially women. The phrase ‘The female of the species is deadlier than the male’ wouldn’t exist if the females didn’t step up from time to time to kick some serious arse when a child of any species is in danger (and sometimes just because an arse needs kicking).
    I think what is most important is the fact that a woman who teaches other people’s children would suddenly have to make a choice between her own kids and theirs. It is in our evolution to protect those of our own DNA. She shouldn’t have to choose between her children and other people’s children. NO ONE should have to make such a choice!
    I understand why she would be upset. I’m not a teacher but I’ll be damned if someone is going to make me choose between my own kids and someone else’s. I tend to create a third choice and try to keep them all safe, at least I’d hope that’s what I’d do. But until I’m put in that situation, I’m not going to know. On this I am quite happy to be ignorant about!
    BTW, we have all made a difference in the world. Even if we haven’t noticed, someone has.

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly. No one should have to make the choice of dying and never seeing their kids again or saving the life of another child. It’s a horrific choice for anyone and I wish to goodness we could come together as a nation to do something about it. My whole thing was, I just couldn’t abide by her deliberateness in making a decision beforehand … “I won’t save your child,” and somehow rationalized that by saying I’m a mother, I’m a daughter, I’m a sister, I’m a friend and therefore wouldn’t make the choice to reach out to save someone else. She’s making a deliberate choice, not one borne out of fear or adrenaline. That was my whole issue with her essay on this subject. I can’t imagine going to work everyday with the possibility of making that choice. But I also can’t imagine being the type of person who would deliberately plan out ahead of time how I would shut someone out in order to save myself.

  4. Very well said – I would like to think that the majority of us would choose to save children (ANY children) before ourselves when faced with that split second decision. But I know that it’s not really true, and I know that I don’t really know why my own decision would be when faced with that test.

    But how sad and horrifying that we have to be having these conversations in the first place, to be thinking through these “what if” scenarios in our heads. How do we change our society, how do we change what’s acceptable, how do we change what’s tolerable so that these insane situations never have to be dealt with again?

    • I cannot agree with you more that we should not be forced into these conversations in the first place, let alone discuss what our “plan” would be. You know my views … I could discuss them at length here, but then it would just make for an angry day.

  5. It’s a helluva choice and it would be best if one could save them all but sitting here, I can see that wanting to save our own kids first, and ourselves, would be natural. i.e. Self-preservation and Family before others. It’s not that we don’t care about others but as the sayinggoes: Charity begins at home.

    But it also gets me thinking about something else. You said:

    But—-

    I hope i could make a difference in this world.

    While, yes, at the end of our lives, it would be good if we could leave something positive behind. But—

    I can’t help wondering if this is “too much of a good thing.” NOT the saving the kids part but just the whole idea ( period) of “making a difference”. My gawwd! It’s All-the-Rage these days! “Everybody and their dog” is all gung-ho to “MAKE A DIFFERENCE” -(should i barf now orlater? Really. As if it were the Oooonly thing that could give anyones life any meaning today. It’s todays “Next Big Thing”, or current-Fad thing and they do it—(wait for it)–

    1. “For the—“Community”
    (as if everyone is somehow obligated to sacrifice their individuality for “the group”. That sucks.

    2. (For the community so that: we can all feel—–
    Empowered!
    A constant Buzzword. Gawwd, yes! Who doesn’t wanna constantly feel “empowered”? It’s like an addict needing their “fix”.

    So ask yourself:
    If a good person were stranded on an Island…..alone, and could not do acts of service “for the community”. Or anyone else. Or “make a difference”. They probably don’t feel to “empowered”, either. And they died. Are they going to Hell?
    Is Heaven just for community-activists and those who log-in the most “Volunteerism” hours?

    While kindness never goes out of style, nonetheless “service” may not really be “the highest good” or the most enjoyable life.
    One man’s (or woman’s) service, is another one’s drudgery. We can’t all be Caregiver’s, will we go to hell if we consciously choose not to be?
    You may know someone at worked who “gave back” (by the way, funny how no one ever bothers to question: just what has!, The Community, ever given TO you, individually, first, so that you ecould need to “give back” but thats another story). So,…..

    someone at work “makes a difference” and “gives back” BY “Racing for the Cure” –but you can bet, the next day, they WILL!, absolutely!, wear the ribbon or pin they got for doing so, to work. so that everyone can see it, ask them about it, so they can BE NOTICED, (and then feel “Empowered”) because they “made a difference” and showed how they “Cared” (more than you did) and “gave back” (more than you did) for “the Community”. Ohhhh, brother…its 95% look-at-me, 1-upmanship, i-care-more-than-you-do attention-hogs. But that’s “the Big Thing” these days.
    How much Volunteerism and service would people still do if they couldn’t tell anyone they did it?? Good question.

    • PS– i want to Clarify. None of what i said above is intended as any sort of attack or shaming if you personally. Not at all! Rather, i am being “armchair philosophical” and considering the whole Concept at-large.

      • I always love your comments! I appreciate having your opinion very much and I love the “armchair philosophical” viewpoint as I often do that myself … and I like being drawn into those conversations. So thank you for commenting and please keep it up! 😀

      • Thank You!, for those kind words. 🙂

        I very much enjoy your writings. You pick interesting topics and make them thought-provoking. KEWWL!

        I should probably write more, in my own Blog, but its sooo easy to feel sucked-in and “obligated” to always need to post something. I ended up quitting Twitter altogether over that. It took up tooo much of my time. My own fault.

        Its fun for me to read when someone writes about:
        spirituality, or….
        “why do people…? or,
        most anything “armchair philosophical”. On my own blog I post Music-tunes, Books, Comments/questions on religion, Personality/psychology and more.

        I pretty-much write, and hope that folks will see (and read) it. Too make that easier, thats why I usually always include 6 or more TAGS to my posts. Sometimes, I will log onto WordPress and click on a TAG (in my list of tags) to see what it brings up. At least it’ll be a category I am at least somewhgat interested in. Things like:
        Boundaries
        Personality/”Myers-Briggs”/16 Types
        Question/Comments on Religion/spirituality,
        Music
        Occasional travel, road trips
        Star Wars movies

        I’m at a point now with my own posts, where I’m trying to keep things actually “down” to 2 or 3 times of posting per month (ha! so he says).

        I am frankly amazed at how so many individuals focus on ONE Topic and write over-m-over about it. But hey!–it’s their Blog (shrug). I don’t feel that way about your Blog, it’s better. And yes, I will continue to check-in, –and comment. Congrats! You are the most-interesting-writer-i-am-following-on-Wordpress. As they say: Content is King (or Queen, haha). Rock on!

    • I don’t believe in a true Heaven, or Hell for that matter (despite my apparently having a “special place” reserved in the latter). I think a person should strive for greatness, just to make life in our current world better … not for the rewards offered in some ethereal paradise (or fear of punishment in a fiery pit). In my opinion, if everyone did this, the world would be a lot happier and a lot better off than it is now and the idea of Heaven wouldn’t be so tempting. At any rate, I agree not everyone knows how they would respond in a dire situation where action is needed … sometimes emergencies bring out the best in a person, sometimes they bring out the worst. However, this woman (the writer of the original article) was pretty damn clear on what she would do, and that would be to save herself … the kids around her be damned. She has a set plan going in. Self-care or selfish? I know which side of that I fall on.

      As for your other points, well made! I believe that a great number of people work behind the scenes to do what they can for others. Some, as you say, want the attention. Others deliberately wear the pins, the shirts, etc., to draw attention to the cause and start a conversation … which is important to raising awareness.

      Doing good without the need for fanfare, whether it’s the hope of heaven, fear of hell, or just the attention from our fellow humans … while it may not be the most altruistic attitude, their actions still make a difference in the world. And isn’t that the point?

      • Ahhh, yes, the AfterLife. Is there a heaven? a hell? Christians say yes, people like Robert G. Ingersoll (died 1899) did not believe in the Christian hell. But was Ingersoll wrong? Who can say? I, myself, do not go to Church. I used to. (maybe I should get my butt back to it) but—

        I don’t like the waaayyy too LOUUUD Music in today’s “contemporary” services, and I can’t believe in “total depravity” but hey, i might be wrong, and then people like Joel Osteen seems so phony to me, and todays severe over-emphasis on it’s all about “love” and “Grace”–they are nice to have, but in my opinion it causes folks to be disgustingly LAX and all-too-casual about God. No sense of Awe or Reverence. It’s as if Jesus or God and “Joe Christian” are ol’ college frat-buddies. Maybe they’ll go out for beer and catch a flick (sarcasm)…but thats where things are today. However—

        I think Atheists are wrong, too.
        Important Note: stop and realize, even if there IS a God, it is not an automatic guarantee that that is the Christian God. Atheist are nearly always to quick to freak-out and not take a pause and deep breath to realize that. But anyway—what I wanna get to here is—the question nobody ever asks Atheists: IF there is no alive, intelligent God…IF there is no Aware and Conscious Creator, then how is it that we humans DO have any self-awareness or intelligence at all?? C’Moonnnnn! HOW can we possibly get it (ourselves) from something that never had it??

        But no one bothers to ask. On the other hand, if there were/is some creative-intelligence i.e. God that made everything, then it’s “no-big’deal to create something else (us!) that also has a smaller spark of awareness/intelligence/consciousness, ourselves. This still isn’t Christianity, but it may explain how we have any awareness at all. We got it from something that already had it. But where did God get it (yes, i knew that was coming), he was always there and always had it. And then folks say, but why the Universe have always been there and always had it” Answer: Because, in everyday Life, people almost never think of the Universe as “alive” or thinking, or aware, or conscious. And since WE ARE, and “it can’t come from nothing”, then, its more likely that somehow, intelligence was always here.
        I may be wrong, but, this seems reasonable and “more likely” to me. So God is probably there, but this doesn’t tell us much ABOUT him. What next? It’s fun to question and think about at times.

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