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For an expat, “living in California means living with the fear of a shooting”

Finn now knows what to do when he hears the word “lockdown” [“confinement barricadé”] come out of the loudspeaker in his class. He knows there’s danger in his primary school – and it’s life-threatening. He knows that a person with a loaded weapon may be in the immediate vicinity and that he must barricade the doors and windows of the room. He knows he shouldn’t make a sound and stand against the wall that the crazed shooter can’t see from the door. He knows that shards of glass and scissors can be used to defend himself and that a well-thrown marble makes a good projectile.

“He knows his school’s slogan in the event of a massacre: ‘Run. Hide. Fight.’ Run, hide, fight.”

Finn is 9 years old. It’s my son. We moved to California five and a half years ago. We had a little idea of ​​what awaited us, but we hoped that this state located on the edge of the Pacific would be precisely this paradise that songs like California Love, California Dreamin’ or California Sun : freedom, sun, beach, sea.

California, a “paradise” under tension

We were not disappointed. Our new country is truly a paradise. We live in Hermosa Beach, a small town forty-five minutes south of Los Angeles. We all know our neighbors, volunteer for organizations, and have adopted the California mentality of not taking life and yourself too seriously. We are, as we say here, “californicated”. It takes five minutes to walk from the house to the beach. The Areavibes website gives the city a B– rating for crime, which means that it is quite safe.

“However, we have understood that this paradise can turn into hell at any time.”

The earth shakes a little almost every day. According to scientific studies, the Big One, the earthquake of biblical proportions, has a 99.7% probability of occurring within the next thirty years. We had drought, forest fires, mudslides.

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