If you have orange in your closet, please put it on. Today, June 2, is National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
I know someone who was shot and killed by his teenage son. The guns were locked up in a beautiful gun cabinet, however this man's son knew where the key and the ammo was. Yes, it's clear that his son has mental illness, it's also clear that this man never thought that this would happen to him. I know, it's complicated, tragic, and SAD. It's also only one of seemingly endless tragic events relating to gun violence. I am embarrassed for our nation every time I hear of a mass shooting and feel a call to action in resolving this big problem.
I chose the Mind Blog because this is something that we have to think about as a collective. Do guns bring us safety? What's the point if the gun is in one place and the ammo is in another if an intruder breaks into your place in the middle of the night? Are we really concerned with the 2nd Amendment and the need of overthrowing the government?
Personally, I do not want or need a gun. I did grow up around them, riffles out in the country, and would go out to target shoot with the neighborhood boys. I do not loathe guns. What I do loathe is the easy access to them and their being in my space when I don't want them there.
I understand that people find recreation in them. A few months back my husband and I took a lovely drive up to the Geysers (we live in Sonoma County, CA) to get away from the buzz of the city. This destination choice was thought to be a quiet and remote date with nature. However, when we reached the peak at the end of the road, there were dozens of people up there with riffles, handguns, and paintball guns shooting at old rusted out steel shipping container. It was an illegal place to shoot for the mountain is an Audubon preserve. We were saddened and disgusted and left immediately. I find myself thinking about this experience often. I was shocked - no one was wearing goggles, there were small children, and what about ricocheting bullets? I wondered what the gun lover's understanding of their actions were. Their lack of safety measures left me with the feeling that there is definitely a gun culture problem.
As a mother of a son I did not want my son playing with toy guns or video games. But that was an unattainable standard in this culture. Kids play games with pretend guns. If they don't have a plastic toy gun, then they have their hands to make in the shape of a gun. I chose not to buy video games for him, but he was able to find and play video games with his friends. So as a mom, I realized that discernment is key in raising our children and really talked to him about guns and why I feel the way I do about them. And what he should do if he is ever around them. However, now matter how much we talk to our kids, outside influences creep in. Here is a great blog piece by Dr. Debra Gambrell of West County Osteopathy on how children process mental imagery of gun violence, creating fear which seeps deep into their subconscious and hijacks their senses. The anxiety this creates in our children is staggering. As adults, we can look back at any traumatizing event in our lives, the fear it created, and see how it has permanently affected us.
Here is your call to action: Please make today about safety - if you have guns in your space, including the places where your kids go without you (your best friend's, grandpa's house, even daycare), make sure those guns are locked up, the ammo put away, and that children cannot access them.
On a lighter note, here is a good example about how kids get into our stuff - If they find it, they'll play with it...