Filling In The (Generation) Gap

Recently, there was a gun scare at my son’s middle school.  Thankfully, the report of a man with a semi-automatic weapon on campus ended up not being a threat.

That afternoon, his backpack hit the floor and I asked, “How was your day?”

Shoulder shrug.  “Fine.”

“I heard there was a lock-down at your school.”

Another shoulder shrug.

“Well, were you scared?”

“Figured it was another drill.”

“You didn’t think an hour was long for a drill?”

Yet another shoulder shrug.

“Where do you go when you’re in lock-down?”

This time I got an irritated sigh; a step up from the shoulder shrug.  “We sat under our desks.  What did you do when you were in school?” (Said in his snarky ‘you’re-an-idiot-please-tell-me-I’m-adopted’ tone.)

I paused.  “We didn’t have lock-down.”

This realization spotlighted the gap between our generations.

Yep, this is me... in all my 70s glory!
Yep, this is me… in all my 70s glory!

Back in my day (now that doesn’t make me sound old, now does it?) I remember “stranger danger” as the big threat.  Some pervert offering candy or asking us to help find a lost dog was something our parents feared.  Now we hear about home invasions where someone breaks into the house and takes a child while the parents are home.  Oh, and it’s often not a stranger.

We didn’t have cell phones or the internet (now I REALLY sound old!) but we were able to leave bullies behind when we left school grounds.  These days, meanness has taken to social media where it stalks victims 24/7.

All this got me wondering if school shootings really happen more frequently, or if more media coverage makes it seem that way.  Google led me to Wikipedia, where I found a lengthy list of US school shootings dating back to 1760.  (We’ve come a long way from Dewey Decimal System-filed card catalogs.)

I scanned the list and made a list of shootings that have occurred on elementary, middle and high school campuses since the 1970s, when I began attending school.  In my counts, I didn’t include suicides at school or teachers/adults shot by students or exes.

1970s= 9 shootings

1980s= 18 shootings

1990s= 19 shootings (interestingly enough, sixteen of these incidents occurred BEFORE Columbine)

2000s= 18 shootings

So far in the 2010s, there are 19 shootings.  This is disturbing, especially since we aren’t even halfway through the decade.

I worry about my childrens’ future, but I have to laugh because each generation laments the next generation’s journey to Hell in a hand basket.   The dangers seem more pervasive from one generation to the next.

Maybe there’s something to that.  Maybe each generation can rightfully lay claim to owning the “good ‘ol days.”

02-20 80s-couch

Then again, I believe there’s always room for improvement.

30 thoughts on “Filling In The (Generation) Gap

  1. Jim Lawlor February 20, 2014 / 5:22 AM

    ‘Back in the day,’ is just the start of it….
    I recently took a second look at someone who told me they were taking their ‘motorcar for a spin.’

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:25 PM

      😛 We all have a ‘back in the day’ I guess! Thanks for stopping by, Jim!

  2. suzicate February 20, 2014 / 5:41 AM

    Those incidents are so so scary! I think much happens as often now as way back but gets more media coverage…and then you get the copycatters due to media coverage. I remember getting the college drill messages while my son was several hours away at college…is a scary thing for parents to be separated from children when they know they could be in harm’s way.

  3. nrhatch February 20, 2014 / 5:59 AM

    We had fire drills ~ line up at the door, flip off the lights, single file out to the playground.

    A few years earlier, children drilled by climbing under their desks to protect themselves from nuclear destruction.

    Now, we have ridiculous “drills” at TSA checkpoints whenever we fly.

    It’s the “illusion of safety and perceived control” we’re after . . . SAFE doesn’t exist.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:30 PM

      We had fire drills too, Nancy. (Of course had there really been a fire, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have evacuated calmly in a single-file line!) We never had nuclear threat drills.

      I do think we like the illusion of safety because it’s scary to think there are threats that we have no control over.

  4. nrhatch February 20, 2014 / 6:01 AM

    At least life is better in some respects . . . better covers on our sofas and no more 8-track tapes. :mrgreen:

  5. gene3067 February 20, 2014 / 6:44 AM

    I’m glad nothing happened at your son’s school. That’s a scary moment.
    My high school was in lockdown back in ’87/’88. Being that it was Detroit, nothing was reported.

    Personally, I think there’s more pressure on kids today. We need to teach them how to unplug and relax.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:33 PM

      I’m glad it all ended well, too, Gene. That must’ve been scary to be in lockdown. I’ve never been to Detroit but have heard it can be rough. Kids do have a lot of pressure. Not only is there the usual ‘kid’ stuff, global worries have become more of a concern (I think 9/11 changed things there.) Thanks for reading and sharing your comment!

  6. Kathy Combs (@KathyCombs16) February 20, 2014 / 7:29 AM

    I think you are right that shootings get a lot of media coverage these days making it seem like they happen all the time. It is kind of like plane crashes. We hear about every single one of those thanks to the media making some people afraid to fly, but if we heard about every single automobile accident no one would ever drive. They would be afraid too. Thought provoking post! ♥

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:35 PM

      I’ve noticed that on plane crashes – even though I’m statistically more likely to die in a car crash, I still prefer driving over flying. Although there is more media coverage, just counting the number of incidents, they do seem to be increasing. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Kathy!

  7. vishalbheeroo February 20, 2014 / 11:00 AM

    It’s scary Jannat when you think of such sickos that endanger lives in schools and public places. Sad that the world has reached such a stage and I get a chill when I read about it.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:37 PM

      Schools should be safe zones, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in reality, Vishal. I have to find the positive in the world, or it will just get me down.

      Thanks for stopping by today!

  8. Debbie February 20, 2014 / 11:53 AM

    Janna, I’m so glad your son was okay and so were his schoolmates. What disturbs me a bit is his cavalier attitude. I know it’s a “guy” thing, and my son would’ve done the same thing (anything to keep Mom from freaking out!), but maybe it’s a “sign of the times” that kids don’t get too balled up about what could be a totally frightening situation. I suppose both Domer and I were blessed that we didn’t have to endure school lock-downs. Oh, and I’ve got to say, I love your little red shoes!!

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:40 PM

      It was a very anxious hour, Debbie. (It didn’t help that just the night before, I’d read a magazine article about the Sandy Hook tragedy!) The teachers didn’t tell the kids anything about what was going on- he didn’t know there was a report of a man with a gun until I told him. His lack of words is just his way 🙂

      And my red shoes… apparently my affinity for the color began at a young age!

  9. Sean February 20, 2014 / 11:55 AM

    I’m sure the top picture was adorable until that black blob came in 😛 and there was nothing wrong with that couch. I’m sure memories were made there at some point. I remember my parents blue couch that was a pretty good match to that one lol. I remember having a pocket knife on me at all times and there were occasions that guns were brought to school but it was due to them being used after school to just go out shooting. Not sure how many times I had one in my truck at school, just didn’t think about it much. I do think that media has a lot to do with not only the number of shootings happening but also the coverage which each one gets. Sorry, I need to rant a bit. News today is about what bad and awful things are happening in the world instead of focusing on the good that is done. That’s one reason I stopped watching the news. Ok anyways, kids are awesome the way they respond to questions from their parents. I’m sure you came right out with everything that happened at school when you went lol I’m sure he will talk about it when or if he feels like it. You are doing a good job in raising your kids and staying active in their lives. This will speak volumes later in life when it matters. Plus, kids really do make for some good stories at times.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:46 PM

      I have to disagree, Sean – everything was wrong with that couch!

      I don’t watch the news often, either. It really skews perception of the world. I don’t expect there to be any more discussion of the event because he truly doesn’t seem bothered by it at all. The elementary school had a practice lockdown after this came out, so I got to hear all about it from my younger son!

      As for how they turn out when they are grown, only time will tell 🙂

      I appreciate you taking time to read my post and share your thoughts on the subject!

  10. David Allen February 20, 2014 / 1:04 PM

    I tutor at a local high school and it’s amazing how much has changed in just the ten years I’ve been out of high school. It’s almost as if the separation between the outside/real world and the schools are getting blurred. The kids are growing up a lot faster and facing challenges that they used to be sheltered from. It’s really interesting and complex, and it’s hard to put into words. But public schools are definitely changing.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:49 PM

      I suspected things had changed, but I’m disappointed to find it’s happening so fast (it’s been over 20 years since I graduated.) It might be worth checking into home schooling…

      Thanks for reading and sharing your perspective, David!

  11. Lance February 20, 2014 / 3:15 PM

    I don’t want to mess up your wonderful blog with over-the-top divisive politics but I think the availability of guns is the biggest problem.

    We have to get serious about gun control and conflict resolution with youths and adults that doesn’t involve weaponry.

    Thanks for such a hard-hitting and important post

    • nrhatch February 20, 2014 / 6:54 PM

      When men see a mosquito landing on their privates, they realize there is a way to solve problems without using violence. :mrgreen:

      • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:52 PM

        Ooh. Now THAT’S a vivid mental image 😯

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:52 PM

      Availability could play a part. But I do think there are underlying issues, besides the guns themselves. There seems to be more angry people who react impulsively. It’s like we’re losing the ability to exercise restraint.

      Thanks for reading and offering your 2 cents, Lance!

  12. diannegray February 20, 2014 / 6:19 PM

    I’m so glad your son’s school was spared from an awful incident like this. It really IS a worry 😦

    I said I was listening to the ‘wireless’ the other day in front of a 7 year old and they thought I was talking about a new internet ap 😀 (deary me – I AM old!)

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:54 PM

      I’m glad it all ended up okay, too, Dianne! Too funny about the 7 year old… it’s a different age, that’s for sure!

  13. agjorgenson February 20, 2014 / 8:25 PM

    Yikes! I can’t quite imagine such a scare. Here’s to the decade when the count is zero…

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2014 / 11:57 PM

      Zero would be wonderful, Allen. From the 1850s on, there hasn’t been a decade without school shootings in the US. We can still hope for a change, though 🙂

  14. Sandra February 21, 2014 / 9:55 AM

    What a scare that must have been for you! It’s sad that we must place so much trust in each other, our communities, our humanity, when such danger is becoming more and more prevalent. The data you sited is really unnerving.

  15. pattisj April 1, 2014 / 11:18 PM

    That’s a lot for a kid to deal with at that age. We only had fire drills.

    • jannatwrites April 2, 2014 / 8:26 AM

      I don’t dare think about what the next generation will have to contemplate, Patti.

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