As a child, I remember my parents talking about growing up during the “Red Scare,” and preparing for nuclear war. It was hard to imagine them as children in their Buster Brown shoes, innocent and vulnerable, crouched under cheap metal desks and waiting for what seemed inevitable. My father remembers his family’s makeshift fallout shelter, stocked to keep a family of six alive for a few weeks. Growing up with the constant threat of nuclear annihilation had a profound effect on my parents’ generation. While every family’s survival plan differed a bit, one thing was constant: The enemy was the USSR.

This morning, as I filled out registration forms for my daughter’s pre-K program, I received an update: Our local school, the one my daughter will attend, is closed today because of a phoned-in threat from a potential mass killer. Today, I try not to imagine my daughter in her sparkly Frozen shoes, innocent and vulnerable, crouched under a cheap metal desk and waiting … and waiting. I try not to imagine all of the school children and their teachers who have actually hunkered behind doors, under desks, in closets, and waited … and waited. I can’t, because this is the reality we live in, the reality we have created for ourselves.

I think back to my parents and their common enemy, contained on a continent thousands of miles away. I look at my daughter and I realize that the “enemy” is no longer on another continent.

Kristen Roos

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