To the Editor:

During the Cold War, many of our parents and grandparents lived in fear of a nuclear bomb. Air raid drills were instituted in schools so that teachers could instruct students how to hide under desks and to remain calm. Some students were given gas masks, some even dog tags. It was that dire.

Back then, individual American citizens were powerless in this Cold War. It was up to our country’s leaders to resolve issues with enemies 4,000-plus miles away. It took years, but eventually those drills became a vestige of a different era.  

Once again, our country faces a threat that has our children being taught the 21st century version of an air-raid drill. Active-shooter drills teach students how to barricade doors, silence cell phones, hide in closets, and be still.  

But unlike during the Cold War, the threat that faces our children today is not 4,000-plus miles away, and it is not a problem for international diplomats to solve.

In today’s crisis, each American is our own best diplomat. Each of us has a voice and a vote that can effect change.

I use my voice to support organizations and leaders across America who are committed to finding solutions to the epidemic of gun violence. Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords, CT Against Gun Violence, and PRIDE Fund are three organizations that are doing wonderful work in this area. There are many others. I urge every parent, grandparent, neighbor, and student to join at least one today, and to vote in November.

Together, we can make these active-shooter drills a vestige of a different era, too.

Amy Macartney Freidenrich

Market Street, Feb. 19