Giggling at hell

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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8 Responses

  1. Rebekah Mercer says:

    Most beautiful and true thing I’ve read in ages. Please publish a book of these. I will have my Christmas list for everyone taken care of in one fell swoop.

  2. Brad Willis says:

    Thanks, Rebekah. Not a terrible idea…

  3. Jennifer Neeley says:

    Oh, Brad! “. . . today’s inescapable reality is that we equate mass murder with a natural disaster to be endured rather than a disease to be eradicated.” This is the most powerful statement I have encountered in a long while. It resonates so deeply–as a mother, as a teacher, as a human. You’ve quite a gift, my friend. I enjoy your writing immensely.

  4. “But today…today we know there will be someone in a school with a gun with just enough frequency that it’s worth our time to practice how to hide from him.”

    I guess that what’s “worth our time” is ultimately a subjective decision. But I am firmly convinced that it is NOT worth our time for kids to practice hiding like this. Statistically, the average school will have to go thousands of years before it sees an active shooter, at current rates. That’s just too rare for widespread drills to be a rational response.

    I think this is especially so when you take into account three other factors: (1) There is no evidence that these drills do one damn bit of good. How many children at Sandy Hook were saved by hiding? Zero. (2) There are real, substantial costs: Millions of kids are frightened. Education is interrupted. Once in a while somebody gets hurt in the drills–having a panic attack or a seizure or whatever. (3) Having drilled the kids, paranoid school administrators feel the need to deploy the techniques with a rapidly dropping threshold. A bank was robbed across town? Lock down all the schools! Something bad might happen!

    It’s all a manifestation of mass paranoia, unjustified by the magnitude of the actual threat, which is minuscule.

    You would be doing your kids and the whole community a great service by leading a movement by parents to demand that the schools stop subjecting your kids to these things. Because the truth is that these drills are not a remedy for the problem of endangered kids. They are a remedy for the problem of frightened parents. Frightened parents do not, in my view, have the right to relieve their anxieties by foisting them off onto their children. Yet that is precisely what these drills do: make the parents (and school administration) feel better because they’re “doing something,” at the expense of the children’s sense of security and safety.

    If it actually accomplished something worthwhile, you could maybe justify that. But it doesn’t.

  5. Beautifully written. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  6. I’ve recently been trying to figure this out in my mind. I’m British, and because of our tight gun laws since Dunblane (1996) school shootings don’t happen here, so I’ve struggled to understand how they happen with such increasing frequency in America, and yet the gun laws are never tightened.

    Having debated the issue with American friends, it seems to me that Americans accept the school (and other) shootings as an inevitable price which has to be paid for having the right to bear arms. These things are tragic, but the second amendment is so important that they are acceptable collateral damage. In a country with as many guns as there are people, this sort of thing is to be expected.

    So that follows that if you expect it, you should prepare for it. Personally I think it;s shocking and terrible that this type of Lockdown procedure should be practised, but it makes sense for the culture. Similarly, we don’t have practices for tornadoes here because they don’t happen.

  7. Maisie says:

    But Anna it isn’t just because of the huge number of guns that this happens. Other countries have lax gun laws and these things don’t happen on the same scale. Part of the problem seems to be that, in order to get enough people to buy enough guns to fill the coffers of the weapons manufacturers, Americans have been reduced to living in a permanent state of abject terror of each other. The response to a mass shooting is not to ask how can we avoid this happening again, as it would be in any other developed nation but to use to horror generated by the outrage to instill more fear and sell more guns.

    That this can happen means America has lost her way. It is a disaster. There is no sense of right and wrong in this argument.

    I live in the UK and I have a child of a similar age. Even though the author writes so eloquently of his horror at this reality that America has made for herself I cannot comprehend his acceptance of it. I know that the odds remain small in relation to finding oneself victim to a mass shooting but I could not live in a country where it was deemed acceptable to respond to the likes of the Sandy Hook massacre with a ‘shit happens’ shrug.

    I hope one day that sense prevails but guns seem too deeply embedded in the culture for that to happen.

  1. November 10, 2015

    […] Giggling at hell: Children practicing how not to get murdered […]

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