I sat at my work desk as my sons walked home from school; talking to their Dad on the cell. I had been looking online at the upcoming events at my son’s junior high; the message scrolling across the screen. Yesterday during a Red Riboon Week assembly to “Say No to Drugs,” a child approached the displayed police motorcycle; firing a rifle. Two students were taken to the hospital.
This is too close to home. The message is scrolling across our district websites.
And so I must embark on this conversation again; gun safety. This Tuesday I had asked my sons what they would do if they were confronted with a gunman on their campuses. Their elementary Red Ribbon assembly was on Monday with a K9 unit when the news of the middle school shooting in Sparks, Nevada broke.
Should the parents of the 12 y/o be liable for his actions by having the gun accessible? (see article below)
Who is to blame for an elementary student walking to a police motorcycle and discharging the rifle? Police officers must carry loaded weapons; ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. I pondered aloud why he had a loaded gun on an elementary school campus and the hubs reminded me. The cop LEGALLY CAN have a loaded rifle. Think how the police officer feels! The rifle was secured and locked on his motorcycle and he was doing community service for local children. In response to this incident the police department removed all rifles from their motorcycles.
As a child I was given a healthy dose of respect, as well as fear, for police officers. Would any of my boys walk up to a gun and have the urge to shoot it? So many questions. But what are the solutions? Maybe we need to update our Red Ribbon message. Say No to Drugs and Guns. The frequency of shootings is increasing, and becoming more common place. The current administration in DC is trying to take guns off the streets. But still there is accessibility; pushing the purchases of guns underground. The black market for gun sales is doing well.
But is the question more about accessibility to guns or the deteriorating morals of our society? If we take knives out of our kitchens, will we decrease stabbings? As parents and members of society we need to teach and uphold respect for life, property and the pursuit of happiness.
Over the summer the hubs, father-in-law and eldest son attended a local gun show. Our son was wide-eyed and instructed, both by his grandfather and father, to look but not touch. Aisles of ammo magazines were visited by a small demographic of the population; exercising their right to bear arms. This son is currently learning about these Constitutional rights in the eighth grade as he writes essays on taxation laws and the Second Amendment. While the gun debate carries on I think of how to keep my three sons safe; to fear guns. My hubs believes the exact opposite; to teach them a healthy respect for them. To learn to use guns properly in defense.
Just as we fight the war on drugs by prevention, like Red Ribbon week, so we need to have better outreach for our sons. The research shows that all the shooting incidents are done by BOYS and males. Whether it be: lack of a consistent male figure or parent, retaliation for being bullied or just anger at the world; we need to find a way to reach these guys and to offer them a better choice. When you are the person behind the trigger you are aware of the power you hold in your hands; that you can do harm. It has been documented that workers in the meat-packing industry who eviscerated cows, on a daily basis, became desensitized to the carnage; the pools of blood. And so the trigger is dispassionately depressed; this act of desperation the only way to be heard. A parting statement. And then the shooter turns the weapon upon himself.
Are boys hard-wired this way? When the girls in the kindergarten sandbox played pretend tea; boys were chasing one another; fashioning guns with sticks. They wanted to be the heroes. Whether it be Legos or blowdryers, my sons chased each other throughout our home; shooting each other down. Don’t do that, I’d say. Guns are not safe. No matter that their own father carried a pistol on his military missions; should his aircraft be downed and defenseless. Guns are the epitome of masculinity; power.
At the steering wheel, today, I talk about gun safety. To never, ever touch or reach for one. To have a healthy respect for the destruction it can do. To value life more than anything else. To have the maturity and proper gun training to know that the choice to pull the trigger is life-altering. And unless someone threatens you or your immediate loved ones harm; no property or belief should ever, ever make you play God. But most importantly I want my sons to know that our “big ears” are here to hear them; for better and for worse. I will take the bullet for them. In a heartbeat.