I was going to write about ski centers and getting ready for Christmas, but this morning my nine-year-old didn’t want to go to school. She sat on the floor with her lunch box in her hand and started to cry. When I asked her what was wrong, she described a story she heard at school, about children escaping from Sandy Hook Elementary.
I know I am not the only parent that is struggling with a conversation to explain the unexplainable to our children. Sadly, my children are not strangers to death. They were given a dose of reality when they lost their eight-year-old cousin to cancer and both grandfathers in the course of a year. My daughter questions why some people die while others live. I am not able to provide her with answers. Thankfully she does not yet seem obsessed with her safety. She plays with her friends and wanders the woods around our house, but obviously somewhere buried deep the stories matter.
We limited the amount of news coverage our children saw in regards to this most recent school shooting. We asked our children to talk with us before giving credence to tales from their friends. We have family members that suffer from depression and were able to explain the need to end the stigma regarding mental health issues.
My family does not own guns nor do we hunt. We do have friends that hunt and use their guns as a means to provide food for their table. My son plays video games with his friends though at home we do not allow violent games. That said, it does not mean that he does not want them or go to someone’s house to play them.
I have battled with my son about paintball, rubber band target practice and even his participation in biathlon. It is a personal struggle where I feel very strongly about the disassociation he presents with a gun’s true purpose (to kill) and my wish to not make something so unattainable that he will go out and try to use guns somewhere else.
My thirteen-year-old was listening to the radio and asking questions about the laws and he couldn’t understand why people needed high-powered guns. It brought up a conversation about the numerous interpretations of the Second Amendment (A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.) that was ratified in 1791.
My husband and I use every opportunity to present both sides of the argument. In our rural community, we see families that need the venison on their winter table. We also present the need for regulation. I am not trying to “take away someone’s rights,” though I would like to limit them. Just like I applaud any legislation that limited people’s right to drink and drive, I applaud legislation that will limit the use of military assault weapons. Times have changed since 1791 and the public’s rush to buy more weapons based on this tragedy is disheartening.
It seems logical that if the reasoning for having an unlimited amount of ammunition were only because it is “a right” to be protected, then it would seem logical that the same person would still be able to protect him/herself with a different type of weapon. Please do not misread and argue stick, knife, ball, or bat versus a gun. There are thousands of guns that will kill a person, if that is your goal, that won’t blow a hole through a wall and pump numerous bullets into the body of a six-year-old child.
When I finally got my daughter to go to school, I dropped her off at the parking lot and turned to leave. It was then that I noticed the state trooper stationed just beyond the entrance. Though I am grateful for a diligent police force and for this sense of security, I feel it is a knee jerk reaction to the Newtown tragedy.
When a different emergency takes that trooper away, we will become complacent until the next school shooting happens, and so on. Before another person argues their rights, please answer how the 20 Sandy Hook Elementary school children and six teachers shot and killed will be able to fulfill their own rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Photo of Snow Angel used with the permission of Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time