Gunman Kills 1, Wounds 2 at Sacramento College

Would you want instant notifications about incidents at your kid’s campus? I do because I may not be browsing news websites or watching TV. Not that there’s anything I do about everything that happens. But in some situations I might be able to help my kid. Anyway, step one of emergency preparedness is to have a communication plan at the very least.

Sigh. Both kids are out of college, but with public shootings becoming a daily reality, should I also have a communication plan with them? With my husband? With my parents?

No. I just accept, with a totally broken heart, that I live in a country where public shootings are a daily reality. Shame on us all.

Crime, including homicide, in the US is significantly lower than in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

So if criminal homicides are a daily reality, it is not like that is only a recent phenomenon.

Unfortunately, the crime rate is rising, there has been a spike in violent crime in cities, Chicago the other day saw 9 murders. There is also another trend that has been increasing, and that is mass shootings, the number of mass shooting incidents, like the movie theater in Colorado or the Columbine massacre, have been increasing and at a relatively rapid rate. The late 1980’s and early 1990’s were a particularly heavy blip in the homicide rate, most of it was driven by the crack epidemic and battles over turf and such by drug dealers (at that time, NYC had a murder rate of 2500 a year, in recent years it has been less than 700). No one knows why the rate is increasing, why the trend has reversed, some indications are that it isn’t caused by a blip like the crack epidemic, but rather that more and more of these are caused by angry people acting out. The other thing I have heard (but haven’t been able to confirm) is that there are a lot more cases of multiple homicides making up the statistics, that in the past a larger percentage of murders were single victim, and that these days more and more are multiples (again, I don’t have a stat citing on that, which is why I said it is hearsay).

We don’t have to accept this and shake our heads saying “there’s nothing we can do”. There’s plenty we can do. There’s a great grassroots organization that is actually doing something about it because our politicians are too afraid to lose their funding. A silent majority is irrelevant. Everyone, should always have a family communication plan for emergencies, not just for gun violence.

Truly I don’t think alerts can do anything other than cause massive, unnecessary anxiety. Worrying is going to do nothing other than cause stress.

If your child is involved in something and ok, I’m sure they will contact you. If there is something wrong, the hospital or someone will contact you.

What are you going to do? They’re going to get the same alert as you and probably much quicker.

Crime is down overall. Yes, it’s up in spots. Yes, the frequency and scope of random shootings is up. But more than anything the visibility is up.

This kind of info gets out so quickly these days that it will cause “massive, unnecessary anxiety” anyway. The media is all over it and I I don’t think alerts for those more effected ( students, parents) are a bad idea. My older son was at UVa during the Virginia Tech shootings. I saw all of it unfold on TV and we knew kids at Virginia Tech at the time. Everybody in Virginia knows kids at Virginia Tech. It was surreal seeing the death toll rise and wondering who was effected. A friend called to make sure my son was not effected ( she heard engineering and panicked and forgot he was at UVa for engineering , not Virginia Tech). Since that time, I’m sure most schools are very conscientious about getting the word out. Better safe than sorry and there are probably liability issues as well if the info about a possible shooter does not get to the students.

I found this info useful from the Boston College website even tho parents are not included in emergency notifications

What is a Family Communication Plan?

This is a way to stay in contact with family and friends during an emergency. Phones and the Internet may not always be accessible, so it is important to develop a plan of communication. Determine a single contact (usually a family member) outside of your area. Make sure friends and family know who this person is and how to contact them. If you are effected by an emergency, notify friends and family as soon as possible to let them know where you are/ how you are doing. If you cannot reach them, let your single contact person know.

More information on this can be seen at:

It is also a good idea to program an In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact phone number into your mobile phone in case first responders (EMS personnel, fire fighters, policemen, etc.) are trying to reach someone in your family.

You can also register as “Safe and Well” on the Red Cross website at to let others in your family know that you are out of harm’s way.

Can you believe that some people think the on camera Virginia shooting was a hoax? What will they say now?