Colorado Shoot-out Senseless killing of innocents- 05 ways to ensure your kids remain safe at movies and screenings
It is unfortunate that one fine day when the most awaited movie of this year is is released- “Batman- The Dark Knight Rises” which is no less a frenzy in itself, that a schizophrenic, disoriented young man walks into the theater jam packed with fans of the Batman- including kids,shoots at them randomly killing 12 of them and leaving several grievously injured, emotionally scarred for life.
The motivation behind the Colorado killings is murky, but the horror Is crystal clear. And it is this truth that we have to address with our kids who now cannot innocently walk into a movie theater and pay for a ticket to snuff out their life. It is believed that James Holmes, the perpetrator of this heinous deed had come dressed in a gas mask masquerading as a part of the whole cinematic experience of this Batman flick. Holmes allegedly walked into a midnight showing of the Batman movie, unleashed a gas canister and then opened fire, making it one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
Now what are the lessons to be learn as parents whose kids are excited about the whole theater experience. What should we do under such trying circumstances?
Talk out Aloud to your kids about recent acts of violence at public places:
There can be no better approach than to talk openly about this heinous act. Talk about the insensitivity of people who can so carelessly gun down and kill others for no apparent reason. Talk about how important lives are and keep you child grounded to the fact that public places can be unsafe, but no place can be too safe either. Accidents can happen at homes too. But a healthy dialogue with them is welcome. Awareness of the surrounding is never a bad idea. You may or may not wish to divulge too many details, yet keep them informed of the wolves in the woods. Including movie theaters. For people who thought the entire act was a part of the movie at first(sic!), children should be taught to be sensitive to out-of-the-normal behavior in the surrounding, even if it later turns out to be an elaborate spoof. Better silly than sorry!
Build a safety network with other parents:
Like neighbor hood watch, you must have a closed group of parents- fathers and mothers who volunteer to take the kids out for picnics, museums, movies alike under their scrutiny. An adult can make a fast decision that will help save lives. Children should never go alone or in a group all by themselves or unattended. We want a child’s movies experience to be the best ever- not the last ever!
Give the child safe # to call and stay in touch:
Have you always handed your kids identity badges or “where to reach mom- always” numbers? Leave a backup number so that they are aware that they are securely tethered to you even though you are not there with them. Teach them to call and get in touch in case of an emergency- big or small, without exception.
Teach the child to deal with the situation:
They are in an uncomfortable spot and you need to teach them to keep their nerves. As adults we lose ours, they are after all kids- Home Alone movies are only entertainment. Children are not equipped emotionally to stay calm and serene, But as parents we can teach them out of our personal reactions and actions. You stay calm and composed and they will be too. Simple!
Do not be a helicopter parent:
Do not “Shanghai” your kids about the ill effects of going out in public, being kids, playing in parks, or just being themselves. it is not their fault that the world has suddenly become unsafe. We ought to use our power of discerning to determine how each situation can be judged for its face value and not on the general beliefs held. As I have earlier said, no place is safe enough for our kids, so are we going ot keep them in closets next?
Theaters are places where families hang-out to have a good time, enjoy, walk hand-in-hand , eat some ice-cream, popcorn and watch movies with kids and friends. Lets keep it that way!