Duck & Cover, Run-Hide-Fight

I was born less than a year after atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki — the first and only only times that those weapons of mass destruction were used in war. So I grew up in the now-notorious days of duck and cover.

If memory serves, we got a pass in kindergarten, but starting in the first grade , around 1952, we conducted regular fire drills and A-bomb drills. In the fire drills, we walked in calm lines out of the building, Creighton Elementary School in Philadelphia. In A-bomb drills, we had no bomb shelter, so all we did was line up, leave the classroom, and seat ourselves in orderly fashion along the walls of the corridors. I had no idea then, and still have no idea, how that would have helped us in a nuclear bombing.

Some my age remember learning to crawl under their desks — again, a seemingly useless thing to learn. Those in wealthier neighborhoods had bomb shelters to go to in their A-bomb drills.

We laugh now at those days. Although there’s nothing funny about the possibility of a nuclear attack, and there was nothing funny about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the idea of small children conducting useless drills seems unnecessarily alarmist.

This week, I’ve been remembering those days as the fear of terrorism in the United States has spread, which is, of course, exactly what terrorists want — for us to be afraid, regardless of the real threat. Our chances of dying from flu are more than 100 times greater than out chances of dying from terrorism, but fear is not rational.

So I was shocked, although not terribly surprised, to read this news release today from the Loudoun County (Virginia) Sheriff’s Office:

LCSO: Be Prepared to Run, Hide, or Fight in Active Shooter Incidents
Loudoun County, VA- In the wake of recent active shooter incidents and acts of terrorism, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is joining law enforcement agencies nationwide in reminding residents how to best handle these situations in the workplace or in public.
Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman is encouraging residents to watch and share a video titled Run > Hide > Fight. “The video demonstrates the actions you may need to take to survive an active shooter incident,” said Sheriff Chapman. “You need to be prepared to make quick decisions such as fleeing the area, hiding or taking measures to fight the attacker to save your life and the lives of others,” Sheriff Chapman added.
The video can be viewed at
The video was produced by the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security (Ready Houston) as part of a Department of Homeland Security Grand Funded Project of the Regional Catastrophic Planning Initiative. The video was developed to educate residents on how best to respond during an active shooter incident.
Please be advised that the initial sequence of the video may be disturbing to some viewers.

So as a public service, Melting-Pot Dharma brings you the video:

Here we go again. Only this time the heightened awareness plays right into the hands of those who want to harm us. There is much that could be said about the video, and the news release, and more I’m sure we’ll all be seeing. But I’ll settle for one word:



I like to end my posts with music. This 1951 Civil Defense (think Homeland Security) film begins with a catchy tune that will help you remember what to do if an A-bomb falls near you. But feel free to watch the rest.

Copyright 2015 © Mel Harkrader Pine

3 Comments Add yours

  1. vellissima says:

    I, too, grew up in the duck and cover times. I lived in Miami during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and we had drills regularly, fighter jets raced overhead, and there were tanks at the beach (if I remember rightly). I had nuclear nightmares for years, and still do on occasion. What will be the nightmares of today’s children?

    Liked by 1 person

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