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Have Terrorism, School Shootings & Racial Violence Become Our Kids “New Normal”?

French soldiers cordon the area after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

French soldiers cordon the area after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Last night I walked into my home after my weekly meditation group blissfully unaware of the horrors once again unfolding around the world.  The joy and peace that had blossomed in me over the previous two hours was quickly replaced with the sadness that is becoming far too common as violent events keep unfolding around the world and in our own backyard.

As I stared at the TV my 10 year-old walked into the room and saw the images as well – people running for their life.  She read the bulletin at the bottom of the screen – 77 dead – and said “Mom, another terrorist act?”  At that moment I realized that the world as we know it will never be the same again.  Her casual tone spoke volumes – this is sadly the new normal for us.  While we are saddened by yet another tragedy, no longer is it unimaginable as it was at the beginning of this century when 9/11 ushered in a new era of terrorism.

Recently a blogger wrote about her daughter being taught in school how to stand on a toilet in a bathroom stall to avoid being seen by a gunman.  We used to have air raid drills in school – duck and cover – now our children learn how to avoid being discovered by an attacker at point blank range.  My daughter told me about the same drills at her school.  Again, this seemed completely normal to her, it was simply routine to practice how to avoid being gunned down by an assailant who might actually be a fellow student.

My other daughter is going to a concert tonight in Manhattan.  While she’s excited she heard that there’s a Black Lives Matter protest being planned and she’s worried about another scene like Dallas unfolding.  She’s promised to text me the minute she gets there and identify the three nearest exits at the venue as I’ve taught her to do.

This all makes me SICK TO MY STOMACH.  The fear of terrorists, school shootings and violence in our streets should NOT be the normal for us or our kids.  Especially our kids because if this way of life – expecting violence and becoming desensitized -is their reality the world as we know it will truly be gone for future generations.

We can’t shield our kids from these acts of terrorism.  They need to see them and commit to peace for their future.  I’ve pretty much lost hope that this era of violence is going to change with my generation but I will do everything in my power to teach my kids that this is NOT the way to live.  I will encourage them to fight for PEACE once again being the “new normal.”

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