Momservation: Setting a good example for your kids doesn’t mean target shooting with an assault weapon.
* * *
Someone please tell me why a suburban mother needs an assault rifle.
And being a “gun enthusiast” is a hollow explanation reverberating against the sobs of parents. Parents who have just been told their children were murdered by a gun meant for war in a school meant for learning.
Don’t tell me it’s our Second Amendment right to bear arms. Anyone who pretends to think this country is in the same need of firearms as it was in the 1700’s is a fool and a coward hiding behind indoctrinated rhetoric. We do not need to form militias for our protection when we have the mightiest military in the world. We do not need guns to hunt for food in order to survive when we have grocery superstores dotting our landscape. We don’t need it to protect our families from hostile indigenous people and lawless marauders when we have brave men and women in uniform sworn to protect us in every city in America.
Don’t tell me it’s for protection. Statistics show “a gun in the home is more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.” A gun owner’s gun is more likely to be stolen or cause them to be shot in a robbery than for protection.
Don’t tell me guns don’t kill people, people kill people. First, I want you to tell that argument to the face of one of the parents who is burying their six year old today. Then I want you to look at the carnage in two classrooms of first graders in Connecticut where not a single survivor was found. A gun did that. A person cannot decimate 27 lives in mere seconds without a gun.
As a family columnist I try to stay away from controversial topics, my intention more to provide levity to parenthood not heated debate. But I don’t care who I piss off today. In fact, I hope I piss off a lot of people today—specifically gun owners. Because I think remaining silent on this topic—as the NRA and other prominent gun right advocates are—instead of moving forward toward a solution to the epidemic of gun violence in this country is cowardly.
Right now I feel sick. Heartsick for those innocent children, so eager for life and for Santa only days away, who didn’t stand a chance against an assault rifle. Sick to my stomach for the parents who could never have imagined their child’s life ending so violently simply by being dropped off at school. I read a quote from a pastor who said one of the children was just “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” No, that child wasn’t. He was right where he was supposed to be—where he shouldn’t have to worry about lockdown drills and principals trying to tackle madmen.
I’m sick for the educators who lost their lives—paid too little for the noblest profession of growing the minds of our nation’s children, paying far too high a price because they protected them as their own.
I feel sick in my powerlessness to help in the face of this unthinkable tragedy—yet another senseless loss of life at the tip of a smoking gun. Sick that even when the most vulnerable among us can’t be protected, becoming a casualty of politics as usual, it is still not enough to say “enough is enough.”
Gun owners will still think they need their guns. The NRA will still block gun control legislation. Politicians will still be more worried about keeping their jobs than doing their jobs. And gun factories will keep pumping out guns, because 250 million guns in America is still not enough. The sad reality is 20 dead six and seven year-olds and the six people who tried to protect them are not tragic enough.
So the only thing I have in my power, against this madness that needs to stop, is my voice. And I would be a coward if I didn’t use it. I don’t care who I piss off. I just pray that if I raise my voice up, others will follow, until the call to action—the right action—is too powerful to ignore. And the voices of irrationality—the people who think there is nothing wrong with a gun enthusiast suburban mom needing an assault rifle—become drowned out, ineffective and inconsequential. But more importantly, enlightened.
God bless the souls who needlessly lost their lives in Connecticut. May God hear my prayer for the community of Newtown to be able to have the strength, courage, and hope to breathe again without it hurting. May peace and sanity prevail. Amen.