Concerns and fears in the wake of shooting sprees in Connecticut and Aurora, Colo. have prompted a “what if” mentality for people with children in school and others in public places.
"I think for the most part people are confused, and out of that confusion comes fear,” said former military combative instructor and martial arts expert Michael Hanson.
Active Shooter Self-Defense Class
On Saturday Hanson will host a class in Helotes to teach people how to respond in a real-life emergency situation. He said he’ll prepare people by offering a generic situation; anything too specific will limit a person’s ability to think about all their options during a crisis.
“[People] are worried and concerned something like this is going to happen near them, and it seems like as soon as something like this happens, other things pop up,” Hanson said.
The class will prepare people to act, or "overcome an attacker," when faced with a dangerous situation in a public place.
Licensed professional counselor and family therapist Shelley Rodriguez said the feeling to do something and take action is healthy.
"We respond by looking for what we can do to prevent this from happening or feel safer in our world,” she said.
The debates over gun laws and the mental health system is also healthy, said Rodriguez. It’s a call to action that may help people deal with tragedies like those in Aurora to Newtown.
Learning to Listen
These incidents also serve as a reminder that some people simply need to be heard.
"Most people are probably going to use this as a wakeup call to maybe listen to their kids or to spend more time with their children to maybe get into counseling before there's a crisis,” said Rodriguez.
And a few counseling sessions could mean all the difference.
"I think there's a lot of value in a person just being heard. My thought on it is that that gentleman [Adam Lanza] who did that, he was probably was not feeling valued, like his feelings mattered."
However, Rodriguez warns that the reaction to do something could go too far and turn into a negative response.
Still, as more parents talk to her about the world they see their children growing up in, Rodriguez hopes the conversation will help people connect while they cope with the urge to take action against another tragedy.