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?