By Heidi Stevens
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As columnist Heidi Stevens reports, we’re wired to connect. Over something, anything. Community is our instinct.
We had active shooter training at work recently.
That’s where safety experts teach you how to try to survive an armed attack inside your building, similar to the instructions children learn, routinely, at school now.
It was surreal and, I suppose, necessary and, obviously, demoralizing. Mostly I felt sad, knowing how completely we’ve woven the expectation of gun violence into our daily lives.
There was a moment, though, that left me hopeful.
We were instructed to run as our first resort, hide as our second resort and fight back as our last resort. First and foremost: Leave your stuff, leave your co-workers and hightail it to a safer spot.
One of my co-workers raised her hand and asked about our colleagues who might need some extra help or time, colleagues who use canes or other assistive devices. Surely we shouldn’t just abandon them?
The safety expert said this, and I’ll paraphrase because I didn’t write down his quote: Humans are social creatures. We are wired and trained to live in packs, to move in packs, to surround ourselves with other people. We aren’t made to be lone wolves. We need others.
He said he was trained in the military to hoist people on his shoulders and run and, therefore, would probably, personally, stop and help his colleagues. But he said that’s a personal decision that each individual has to make, based on his or her strength and comfort.
He understood the instinct to help. Because it is an instinct. Hanging tight to our humanity is our instinct.
Community is our instinct.
Believe it or not, that brings me to my hunt for a new dishwasher.
(Stick with me for a minute.)