Shelter in Place


shelterThe Cold War brought us the term Duck and Cover. Who in their right mind, thought that ducking under a small school desk was going to really protect me from the atom bomb?

Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan famously  said “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Clever and pithy.  Like the term originating in the midst of World War II when chaos was more reliable than not,  SNAFU [situation normal/all f**ked up] works with Reagan’s comment–government is unreliable by its nature.

The twenty-first century has brought us SHELTER IN PLACE. Shelter in Place, originally meant for emergency preparedness, was for  biological or radiological or chemical contaminants or weather related incursions. Now, when I hear it I think what the government is saying is  stay indoors, don’t go to work, we have no idea where the bad guys are, this is all we can do! 

What does Shelter in Place mean to a kid? Is it like Duck and Cover for the mid twentieth century kid? Will it haunt them like it did for friends of mine? Impact the way they see the world, make them cynical, jaded? Will it be a joke?

Will it stand, like Duck and Cover, for the inadequacies of government in protecting it’s citizens? Why is it that something that should mean safety and protection now sounds like failure?

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