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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings


Active shooter/intruder drills

Yesterday, I held a conversation with my friend’s 8-year-old daughter, whom I’ll refer to as Munchkin, during which she discussed the active shooter/intruder drill which took place at her school earlier that day. For context, my first time training for such a scenario was in the military.

Munchkin explained how children were taught to barricade themselves in a classroom with locked doors and various items placed behind entryways. They were to remain as quiet as possible and stay vigilant for potentially threatening people who sought to harm students.

She differentiated the drill from that relating to fire and tornadoes—both legitimate possibilities in her particular state—as there was an emphasis on the uncertainty of who a shooter/intruder could likely be. Any of Munchkin’s schoolmates was a potential threat.

Drill music

Interestingly, it was Munchkin who recently introduced me to the music of Ice Spice, apparently a drill rapper from New York. For the uninitiated, drill music is a subgenre of hip hop music that originated in Chicago and as one source states, “The lyrics of drill tend to be violent and gritty.”

Personally, I enjoy drill when working out, having first become familiar with it when Chief Keef released “Love Sosa” back in 2012. Drill music hypes me more than conscious rap when lifting up heavy things and putting them back down.

The message broadcast to Munchkin through Ice Spice’s song “No Clarity” is as follows:

He see me in person and panic (damn)

He know that I’m bad and I’m rude

It get hot, so I’m keepin’ my cool (ha)

And he like how I get in my mood (baddie)

So why would you fuck with my mental (huh)

After all that I told you I been through (huh)

But you was my heart, so I let you

But you was my heart, so I let you

After all that, you shoulda told me (baited)

Fuck that, I’m by my dolie (grrah)

Fuck that, I’m goin’ odee (grrah)

Would violate, but that was the old me (grrah-grrah-grrah-grrah)

As an adult, old school hip hop head, and practitioner of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I can appreciate what I imagine Ice Spice’s verse likely means. Here’s how I interpret the drill lyrics from my particular psychotherapeutic lens:

He sees me and thinks, “I don’t know if I can stand the tension”

He assumes my attitude is worthy of attention

Matters grow intense, so I’ll check a self-disturbing belief

Even though he seems to like that I give him grief

What I can’t comprehend is how he would behave as he does

He knows of my past, I told him of all that was

In all, I own the way I allowed myself to be treated

Despite the outcome, I wish that I had known

Never mind the wishing, because I tolerate being alone

It doesn’t matter; I’m on a different path

In my past, I would’ve reacted with anger; I no longer choose wrath

It’s taken me years of education, training, experience, and practice to reframe beliefs as I have herein. Still, I doubt an 8-year-old who is unfamiliar with REBT could decipher Ice Spice’s lyrics in such a manner.


I’m not one to pearl-clutch, cast myself upon the fainting couch, and claim that what is simply ought not to be. While I don’t advocate violence within primary education, I can appreciate that children are practicing active shooter/intruder drills.

I imagine some people will take issue with what I’m stating. One may claim, “Deric, no child should ever be shot or have to prepare for such horrid events.”

I would modify this criticism by stating, “While I wish no child were to succumb to violence perpetuated by classmates, I realize that the world in which we live doesn’t operate according to my demands; therefore, I’m glad children are learning ways to deal with such instances.”

Still, a person may say, “Deric, we must have a society in which safety is paramount, so we should pass stricter gun control laws.” This idea functions by deluding oneself into pretending as though legislature eradicates crime rather than reactively dealing with what has already occurred.

I would thusly modify the critique by expressing, “Although I’d prefer to live in a utopic world in which 8-year-olds are always safe, such a world doesn’t even exist in my dreams; hence, I welcome training measures to help children deal with unlikely, though realistic events.”

In the same vein, I’m not the type of person who gasps at the idea of young children being exposed to drill or other subgenres of hip hop music. After all, I saw N.W.A in concert when I was 13-years-old and I now counsel people for a living.

In a blogpost entitled “Rap Made Me Do It,” I stated, “When one no longer rigidly demands that rap shouldn’t exist, or extremely declares that all hip hop music leads to violence, I suspect self-disturbance may be resolved.” Therefore, I’m not bothered by Munchkin listening to Ice Spice.

First, I’m not Munchkin’s parent. Second, I have no control and little influence over her. Third, even if she were sheltered for most of her childhood years, Munchkin would likely be exposed to the reality outside her bubble at some point. How then might she react with less exposure to what is?

Fourth, claiming that Ice Spice is a gateway to violence is synonymous with suggesting that videogames with violent content will lead to real-world violence. Those who are predisposed to violent tendencies may behave violently, though the music isn’t necessarily the cause of their actions.

Lastly, if Munchkin’s parents are able to teach her REBT tools, she may begin critically analyzing content and disputing beliefs earlier in life. This may provide her with the tolerance and acceptance necessary for a less disturbed existence.

And yes, I discuss REBT tools with Munchkin’s mom, though I’m not her therapist. These tools are fairly straightforward to learn and require practice in order to become proficient with them.

Would you like to know more about how not to disturb yourself with beliefs about how the world should, must, or ought to function? Are you interested in learning about a method by which you can analyze information in a healthier, more helpful manner?

Like Munchkin’s drills, a person can learn to deal with what is rather than irrationally commanding that others ought to behave in a particular manner. Together, let us work on drills!

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, and hip hop head from the old school, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

Photo credit, Prince Williams/ Filmmagic, fair use


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