Wednesday, July 25, 2012


What can we learn from Aurora Colorado?

In the early hours of Friday June 20, 2012 in what should have been an exciting and fun filled trip to the local movie theater to be the first to see the highly anticipated third and final chapter of the Batman/Dark Knight trilogy, tragedy struck…again. In what seems to be an all too common occurrence of self inflicted damage to civil behavior and living together in harmony, James Holmes a reported post graduate school drop out from the University of Colorado who had been an honor student and relatively model citizen acted out on what is at this time unknown reasons and killed twelve fellow movie goers and injuring a reported 59 others. Police reports have described a detailed and well-executed plan that suggests that no amount of preparedness could have avoided his wrath of hate and the deeply troubling event. We are left with that nauseating feeling, similar to the day after September 11, 2001, when we look at each other and say, “what is wrong with people?” “Who could do such a thing?” and the million dollar question…”What can I do to protect me and my family from such tragedy?” While there is no one answer that will solve this puzzle (short of moving to a deserted island and isolating yourself from any and all other human contact), here are a few suggestions of things that you and your family can do to minimize the impact of disasters to your quality of life.
  • BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS:  Just like when you park your car in an unfamiliar place, take note of where you are. If you are sitting in a theatre and waiting for the start of the movie, note the location of the emergency exits. This is true for church, concerts, sporting events…any public assemblage, know how to get out if the unexpected should occur.
  • TALK IT UP:  Whenever I go someplace with my family, before we get out of the car, I try to ask, “Where do you want to meet?” Meet at the car? Meet in front of the frozen yogurt store? Meet at the food court? Have a specific location that all family members are familiar with so that if for some reason people get separated, there is a designated meeting spot and time to come back together. This is not a reason to run off, but just in case there is separation, there is a plan. “If we get separated, I will meet you at the tire section at 2:00” You should adjust to your family and it’s specific needs.
  • THINK FAST, BE QUICK, STAY CALM: Expect the unexpected. Train your children to think fast, be quick, but to also stay calm. I can not recall any times that rushing, pushing and panic is better then fast, quick and calm. Have a “safe word or phrase” to let your family know that a situation is urgent. My son is seven and there are times that we like to play, but there may be times that I need him to listen right now. If I say: “Right Now!” my son understands that something serious is happening and that his mother or me need his full and undivided attention. I may explain later, but for now, no questions…just do.
  • TRUST YOURSELF: Listen to that little voice that sometimes says “something’s wrong”. “I don’t like this”.  “I’m not comfortable”. Some call this intuition, some call it a sixth sense, some call it common sense…Try not to put yourself or your family in places that harm has a higher chance of occurring. Telling our kids no can be tough, but as a parent, it’s our job. 
  • KNOW SOMETHING: Know how to be your own first responder. Get certified in CPR & First Aid. Learn about CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). Learn the proper use, storage and maintenance of a class A, B, C fire extinguisher. In times of true disaster, you increase your odds of survival and you minimize the impact of that disaster on your family and neighbors by being trained in the basics of first aid and knowing CPR. Communities, who prepare together, survive together.
The events that ripped through Aurora Colorado have left a community dazed and wounded. There is no explanation that will make sense of it, but the one thing I challenge myself to do and I present this challenge to you is to learn from it. Do not let the lives that we lost and the blood that spilled be for not. Let each tear drop that has been shed be a seed of hope that this will never happen again, but let it also be a reminder that we must be prepared to help our neighbor, our family…help ourselves. 

1 comment:

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