The first real memory I have of hearing about a school shooting was 1999. As we all have ingrained in our memories, the day in April that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walked into their high school with automatic weapons and stole the lives of twelve teens and one teacher. Even then I remember feeling slightly desensitized to violence and murder. The thought that it could have been me passed quickly if it even entered my mind at all.
My four-year-old son starts school this year, and though I’ve never been the type to worry about things beyond my control, I can feel a twinge of fear building in my core that will always be small and dull, but will never go away.
We’ve learned to live with the idea that anything could happen at any time. Terrorists. Robberies. Natural Disasters. Gunfire. The way death, murder and tragedy is discussed on the news today bears no shock at all. We’ve become comfortably numb, no matter how scared, frustrated or motivated we are, we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that nothing can be done. This is what the world is coming to. Now all we can do is protect ourselves.
Really? REALLY, PEOPLE?! All we can do is protect ourselves from the pain and misery the future could theoretically bring?!
Beyond the apathy of our kind as a whole, throw some automatic weapons, grenades and shotguns into it and we’ve got ourselves a problem. Guns are our problem. There is an easy solution, the problem is, people don’t WANT that solution.
People don’t WANT to get rid of guns. Governments don’t. Criminals certainly won’t. Even civilians have decided that its more important to have guns to protect ourselves than safety in our public spaces.
Guns are NOT our friends, yet we give toy versions of them to our children to play with, we’re glorifying the very things we’re so desperately trying to teach our children NOT to do. You can’t tell your son when he’s 6 that its fun to play cops and robbers with play guns, then two years later turn around and tell him that guns are bad, that he should never touch one, hold one and if he sees one to find an adult. One minute guns are good, the next they’re bad, no wonder the kids are confused!
A while back I went to Philadelphia on a business trip. I took a shuttle van from the airport to the hotel and started chatting with my fellow folks being shuttled. Someone asked me about Canada and if people there had guns. I politely said no, that the majority of people have hunting guns if anything, but most households (in Ontario, at least) didn’t have accessible guns. My fellow riders were shocked, aghast even, that I had never even touched a gun. Although a few were from states that had stricter gun laws, most of them admitted to be packing heat at that moment.
You can imagine how safe and protected I started to feel, I’m sure.
I’ve always hated guns. As long as I can remember. All I could see in the news, television and movies was that guns killed people. People with guns were killing people and I didn’t, in my childhood brain, understand why if people who had guns hurt other people, why didn’t we just take all of the guns away then nobody would get hurt?!
My childhood brain didn’t yet know about Republicans, I guess.
So while people like Sarah Palin are promoting guns and teen pregnancy, and our good friends Arnold and Bush believe having guns in our homes keeps our “good” people protected, kids will be dying. Here is a list of every worldwide school and mass shooting since 1996.
Do you still like guns so much, now?
Yeah? Okay. Then I have an exercise for you. Watch any footage of parents waiting to find out if their children have been murdered in a shooting. Pretend you’re that parent for as long as you can bear it. I promise you it won’t be long, if at all. Why do you want to live with the potential of feeling that in your lifetime? Ever?!
Still think guns are better off in our homes?
I have never and will never let my children play with guns, or pretend their hands or sticks or whatever else are guns. Not under my watch anyways. I have never touched one, except the orange plastic Duck Hunt gun for original Nintendo haha, and will never. I recently had a friend tell me how fun the shooting range was after she went for the first time and I couldn’t even respond because I didn’t have anything nice to say. I am on the same page as you completely.
I am 180 degrees opposite you. I worry about my children because their school has only one armed individual, the school resource officer. If she is on one side of the campus and something happens on the other side, people could be dead before she could ever get there. I don’t think just anyone should carry into a school (too many parents go in upset with school staff), but I would feel much safer if there were armed staff. The loss of life at Sandy Hook could have been dramatically less if some of the teachers had been armed AND PROPERLY TRAINED (that’s an important element here!). One of them could have possibly taken Adam Lanza out before he managed to kill 26 people. I have a gun in my home and have applied for my concealed carry permit so that I can protect my children both at home and when we are out in the community. I pray that I NEVER have to aim that gun at anyone or pull the trigger, but I am prepared to do so if someone is trying to hurt my children or me. If there is a way of escape, I’ll take it, but if not, I am prepared to fight to the death to protect my kids, and my 9 mm puts me on a level playing field with the other guy who has a gun. I do agree with one thing, though, that you said: we need to teach our kids from a young age about guns and how to be safe with them. The NRA’s position on this is that you teach a child to stop, don’t touch, leave the area, and tell an adult if they see a gun. Letting kids “play guns” does send a mixed message. I have a disabled son who does NOT need to handle a gun (mine stays locked up if it’s not on my person–I can access it quickly, but he can’t). He does have a pellet gun so he has something to shoot when we go to the outdoor range, and he’s been taught to handle it properly (don’t worry…he NEVER shoots my real one because I don’t feel he could do so safely). As parents we have to be vigilant in keeping the guns out of our kids’ hands, and I especially so because of my son’s disabilities.
I am worried, Marie. Very worried.
A recent study looking at 30 years of homicide data in all 50 states found that for every one percent increase in a state’s gun ownership rate, there is a nearly one percent increase in its firearm homicide rate.
In 2011, nearly 10 times more people were shot and killed in arguments than by civilians trying to stop a crime. In one survey, nearly 1% of Americans reported using guns to defend themselves or their property. However, a closer look at their claims found that more than 50% involved using guns in an aggressive manner, such as escalating an argument.
Owning a gun has been linked to higher risks of homicide, suicide, and accidental death by gun.
• For every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns in or around a home.
• 43% of homes with guns and kids have at least one unlocked firearm.
• In one experiment, one third of 8-to-12-year-old boys who found a handgun pulled the trigger.
Doesn’t sound very safe to me.
Well I’m from Philadelphia so I “resemble” that remark. Only kidding. I am totally with you on the topic of guns. Except for hunting, which I don’t really agree wit either, I don’t understand why a person would ever need to own a gun. I’ve read all of the arguments and I have not heard a compelling reason for people to have guns. If the Sandy Hook incident did not convince people that we have a problem, I am afraid that nothing ever will. We need our government to act like grown ups and make the tough decisions that will not be popular with everybody, but need to be made.
some points to consider:
you are against guns, but they are AWESOME if the government uses them against people to support your own perspective…right? hmmmm.
in switzerland, the government gives people guns (to have at home)…resulting in one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
places in the U.S. with the strictest gun control (NYC, Chicago, LA) have the highest per capita crime rate.
“they that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin
yes, sadly, many people die every year from gun related crime–but don’t forget that THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of crimes are PREVENTED every year through responsible gun ownership.
criminals will always have access to firearms. gun control laws only function to take guns away from responsible good people.–making them easy targets.
as such, your ideology turns not only yourself into an easy, helpless target, but also your children–for government and individual criminals.
if one of the GOOD people at sandy hook had been armed, perhaps fewer people would have been killed–as they would have been able/allowed to defend themselves.
consequently, many parents (especially ones involved in such tragedies) are calling for MORE guns…such as the arming of teachers etc..
HITLER, MAO, STALIN…(i.e., world’s worst dictators) all LOVED gun control laws. hmmm, I wonder why?
why do you want to discourage people to be helpless and weak? i.e., take away another’s ability to defend themselves and their families? who REALLY benefits from this way of thinking?
guns are for protection against tyrannical government:
i suppose that for you this old guy who survived the holocaust (who is in favor of private gun ownership) is immoral and evil:
i hope that you at least consider these points, and do what is best to secure your family’s future and freedom.
First of all, we “still” have guns because, so far, we are still allowed and protected by the Second Amendment. And, yes, because, we need to protect ourselves from weirdos like these who perform school shooting episodes. The police is not out there to protect you; they just show up to chalk your body, so, yes, darling, I will indeed shoot anyone who tries to get into my house uninvited. You are free to be killed by them, though. I will defend your right to be a complete idiot to my utmost, by the way!
There are many ways people are killed and not only with guns; household accidents kill. Let’s get some statistics, shall we? 6,000 people/year die of falling–yup, due to ladders, step stools, stairs, shower stalls and chairs, uneven flooring, poorly installed doors and door jams, and loose hardwood or tile. 5,000 people/year die from ingesting poisonous substances. 3,000 people/year died of household fires. 1,000 people/year (children in particular) die of suffocation/strangulation. 800 people/year die from drowning in pools and bathtubs. Will you write an article titled “Why do People Still Have these Things at Home?”
Now, in 2013 there were 310 million guns in circulation in the US. In 2013, 1,670 children (0 to 18 years) died by gunshot in the US. Perhaps you will get my point, but most likely not.
I’d say we still own guns because of our lack of education. We are too afraid of each other and ourselves (great historian Yuval Harari focuses on the latter point a lot). It’s not guns that are the reason of violence, but our improper use of them. Until we recognize that, we will continue live in fear.
Also guns is a huge and profitable market and government as well as weapon manufacturers would lose a lot of money if they is no demand.
Owning a gun takes a lot of responsibility.
Hello, friend this very crucial question. If you are living in near any wildlife area or deep fore gun is very needed for your daily life because it can be used for hunting and self-protect from any dangerous animal. On the other in general thinking some people taking the gun for their self-protection. In the mean, for two purposes you need to take an essential license for operating these gun. Otherwise, you can’t permit to operate any types of gun in any area.
This is incredibly helpful. Thank you for putting it up for others!