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Living in Fear?

 

Today is the perfect day for a birthday party. The weather couldn’t be better here in Elysian Park, Los Angeles. Scarlett’s classmate Yair turned 7 years old today. The cake taste like heaven and the bouncy house is such a big hit. Everyone is so happy.

As I look at my family through my camera lens, I can’t stop but to think of our safety. Mass shootings in this country is so common now a days. It can happen anywhere to anybody. How do you protect your family from all these danger? How did we end up being in this situation, where we live in fear?

 

tell your kids the truth

Growing up in the Philippines made me a strong person. I have seen some horrific things a kid should never have to see. Right around 12 years old through high-school, I had to commute to school. Public transportation in Manila is no joke. It’s very crowded, polluted and yes, it rains a lot there as well. I have a memory of me coming home from school riding a tricycle; It was a sunny day, my ride was moving really slow as it enters our gated community. Then, I saw bunch of people staring at something. My tricycle came closer to the scene and I saw a dead body laying in a puddle of blood. The person was shot by our security guard for stealing. (sorry for the graphic detail)

Anyways, that was just one of the bad things I’ve experienced as a kid. There were other things I’ve seen that made me realized life is no fairy tale. I grew up not being a scared kid, instead I was more aware of my surroundings type of kid.

Here in the USA our kids are more innocent. They go to school and come back home after school. They don’t commute to school or left alone with no adult supervision, which is how we keep them safe. However, our kids live in a bubble, where they don’t get to see what is really happening outside of their world.

Let your kids watch the news with you. Explain to them that all the things they see in the news are really happening. I find it more effective when I compare humans and animals. Here are my exact words to my kids;

“Animals live in the wild and get eaten or killed by bigger animals everyday. They always have to find ways to protect themselves to survive. It is the same thing with human beings. We live in a world, where there are bad and good people everywhere. We have to protect ourselves from bad people by staying away from them.”

 

what to do when an active shooter shows up

Planning is the key. Always be ready. Don’t be a “this will never happen to me” type of person. I tell my kids to find cover, look for the nearest exit away from the shooter and run as fast as possible.

We assess the place, wherever we go. Where is the exit? Where is the best place to be seating, if an active shooter shows up?

 

keep living life

Life is beautiful. The sky is beautiful. Your family is beautiful. I can’t express enough the good things we have in this world. While there are bad elements out there, there are more good in this world than bad.

 

what we can do

Fight for change. We can get back that feeling of safety in our communities by advocating for common-sense gun legislation.  We need to demand policy that will keep everyone’s kids and all of us safe. Join organizations fighting gun violence.

 

www.everytown.org

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