By Jacque Reid-Editor in Chief

Exit signs have become an important part of my day to day. I am not sure when this came to be, but I am thinking it was somewhere between the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in New York and the Emanuel African Methodist Church shooting in Charlotte.  While mass murders in the US are far too common, but the particulars of two incidents haunted my heart. The thought that the last moments of those precious 6 and 7 year olds were spent running and hiding and then feeling the bullets from a madman brings tears to my eyes even as I write this.  And to me church is sacred ground, so for someone to gun down worshipers during Bible study is deeply disturbing.  Both incidents make me realize that I could come face to face with a gunman any day, any time and any where.

The impact of these mass shootings has had on me is that I am often planning my survival.  Whether  am a work, on the subway, in a restaurant or movie theater, shopping, etc… I often ask myself what would I do if a gunman came in and started shooting.  That thought then becomes me actually planning out what I would do.  One of the first things I consider is how to escape to safety.  So, I look for exit signs.

It does not  hurt that over the past few years, I  have become a huge fan of the zombie apocalypse genre.  It’s not really the zombies that fascinate me as much as the survival skills of the living.  In my mind, if I encountered a gunman, I would handle myself and the situation much like Carol on AMC’s The Walking Dead.  Let’s hope. What I’ve learned most from these shows and movies  is that you can’t let your fear paralyze your body or your mind.

When Orlando happened, I watched and read countless reports.  Among all of the horrific details, I needed to know how the survivors survived.  And then of course I began to play out in my mind what I would have done if I had been in that club in that moment.

I think those who encourage us not to live in fear and to live as normal as possible, are correct.  I try to do that, but I must admit I can’t let go of my fear completely.  I think it is wise to keep my guard up for what seems inevitable.