America, Home of the Mentally Ill and Easily Armed

Momservation: If you don’t want me to be a helicopter parent, then quit shooting up our schools.

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I’ve figured out why my generation of parents all have helipads installed in our backyards, ready to take off and hover over our children’s every move.

Society is not safe.

Sure, everyone likes to chuckle and claim membership to the “I Can’t Believe We Made It” generation with the video showing all the things we survived as kids:

  • Riding in the backs of trucksHelicopter Parenting
  • Drinking water from hoses
  • No seatbelts or car seats
  • No bike helmets
  • Lead-based paint on our cribs and toys

But you know what we didn’t have to try to “survive”?

Madmen with guns shooting up our elementary schools, middle schools, colleges, movie theaters, malls, and communities.

What was once an exception—random violence targeting innocent victims—seems to have become the rule. No age group, gender, or race is safe. With alarming regularity another mass murder shatters our sense of safety and defines America as the home of the mentally ill and easily armed.

And with its around-the-clock coverage, race to quench the thirst for every sordid detail, and publishing of any and all information on the gunmen the media glorifies this evil— continuing to home-grow the next monster who seeks to go down in a blaze of notoriety.

We have become a nation who can safely say, “We haven’t had a massacre in a while. One should be coming any minute.”

And one did, right on cue, this last weekend: A madman with a gun tragedy in Isla Vista.

Another too-close-to-home reason for parents to climb into our helicopters, desperate to keep our children safe. We think we are sending our kids off to get an education not to get slaughtered. The sorority house the lunatic knocked on? My sorority—the one I would direct my daughter to as a legacy. The two girls outside gunned down? Sorority sisters to my niece’s good friend. The boy run down with two broken legs? The nephew of a woman in my community.

What does it say about our society if I feel safer having my kids take their chances with lead paint, no helmets, or rides in backs of pick-ups then sending them off to college?

So as my son heads off today on his end-of-the-year 8th grade trip to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom I wish all I had to worry about was if he’ll remember to reapply his sunscreen.

Instead I’m wreck. I have to worry that an amusement park seems like a likely target for a deranged lunatic with a gun—targeting those who have no idea that spending a day riding rides, eating too much junk food, and laughing and having fun with their friends makes them a perfect target for someone who thinks society has wronged them.

So even though I desperately want to land my helicopter and let my kids take their chances at being kids I can’t.

Because now I worry we haven’t had an amusement park massacre yet—and this being America, home of the mentally ill and easily armed—one should be coming any minute.


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