Thank You Sam, Dick, and Fred

Those on the left, have been calling for something to be done, for our leaders to step up and stand up, even in a symbolic way.  We have been watching and hoping for action towards changes in the culture surrounding guns in our country.  We are sure that it will take many different tactics to have any impact on the growing number of mass shootings in our country.

Yes, the students of Parkland have moved the country and their voices have reached many people… we are beginning to move, to be moved, to think past what we have been unwilling to let go of.  But it is not our politicians who are making change, change is coming from the leaders of large corporations. Walmart, Kroger (Fred Meyer), Dick’s Sporting Goods and many others have decided that they will take action and say we will do what we have the power to do.

No one wants to be responsible to having sold a gun to the next mass shooter.

I saw the sign hanging at the gun counter in Walmart…  ‘As of March 6th, 2018, we will no longer be selling any gun to anyone under 21 years of age’…

Thanks Sam, Dick and Fred for doing what our elected officials are afraid to do. I hope that it makes a difference, but even if it doesn’t, it makes a statement, it makes people think, and it may move us towards a safer, kinder country.

Let’s hope that Washington reads the writing on the wall, listens to the American people and follows the lead of these retail giants. Hopefully this is only a beginning and our politicians need to open their eyes because we WILL be voting in November and if they are not ready to take a stand they may be packing their bags.

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A Gun Owner DID Pull The Trigger

We can say that it is unfair to blame citizens who legally own their guns for the horror of Parkland.  We can say that the shooter was troubled, dangerous, mentally unstable, and had been reported to the authorities…. even had he not been reported one thing we know is true…. he was a gun owner and he had not broken any law in getting his guns.  Up until the moment he walked into the school he was one of many, many scary kids across our country.  Every middle school and high school has them, they sit quietly in the back of the classroom, don’t participate in the band, drama, leadership or sports, they are not getting invited to hang out with friends on the weekends, they probably don’t have dinner with their families and they are quietly (or not so quietly) angry.  How many children will need to be reported and once reported, what will we do about them?  As a teacher, we are on the front lines of this recognition and I am sure will be required to develop a plan to solve this problem.  Between teaching grammar, how to form a five paragraph essay, and differentiating equations, we will be figuring out how to identify and impact the lives of these children who may snap.

What makes a mass shooter?  Many of these children will make it through their troubled childhood and become part of society… others may not.  But one element is certain, to become a mass shooter you have to have a gun.  The shooter was a gun owner.

You may be a responsible gun owner… anyone who has not committed a crime is a responsible gun owner, until they are not.

7 out of 10 Americans believe in tightening gun control… let’s make it 10 out of 10…  Just because owning a gun is a right does not mean it has to be easy to own a gun.  You can’t buy vodka at Walmart in Oregon, but you can buy an AR-15… there is something wrong with that picture…

Remember, when he woke up February 14th, the shooter was a legal gun owner.

Making A Difference

I went into teaching to make a difference.  But, time and again, shooting after shooting, it has become clear that I can not make a difference the way it matters the most.  I am at a loss, and I am feeling hopeless.  I cried all the way home from school yesterday imagining the pain of those mothers and fathers, imagining my own children…

What we need is a national hotline where families and educators can call about a child or person who is violently angry and the authorities take them into protective custody, evaluates them over the course of several days, and puts them into a mandatory program while confiscating all weapons from that person and that person’s home.

We need to stop selling guns… AR-15s and, in my opinion, all others… why do you really NEED to go hunting… you don’t … you WANT to go hunting…  if you can’t afford meat at the market, become vegetarian… does your love of meat, and family tradition usurp the rights of children and teachers to attend school without fear of being shot?

I hear a call, on a conservative news station, for the best minds in our country to figure this out.  Are you kidding me?  We love violence in this country… our video games, our sports, our love of guns, our anger towards the other… these news people act as if this is something we need to figure out… We know what the problem is… we know that the accessibility of guns allows impulse to easily be acted upon… we know that children who do these things (or commit other violent crimes) have shown signs for a long time.

Last night my husband said that across the nation all teachers should hold a strike until our legislatures do something.  On NPR today I heard a retired teacher call for all teachers, administrators, and students to stay home and say ‘NO MORE’!  We have been in crisis for years… When is it time to take a stand?

It does not matter what the shooter’s motive was, it doesn’t matter his ethnicity, or the tragedy he has suffered in his life… it mattered that he was able to get a gun and that although people knew he was troubled, the hands of the authorities were tied.  You want your freedom, your rights, your guns, your privacy… all of those families want their children back…

What are you willing to give up to keep this from happening again?  How can we make a difference if we don’t think beyond our rights?

My heart is broken

Fourteen, So Far

Here we are at the beginning of February and there have been 14 school shootings in 2018… so far.  We don’t hear about most of them because most of them have not ended in a fatality, but they all involved a gun being fired at a school or on a school campus.  You can be certain that across our country guns have been brought to school and been discovered, before they were fired, many many times…

As a society. we all agree that no child should be in danger of being shot anywhere in our country but especially in our schools.  We can all agree that no child should bring a gun to school and we wring our hands at each announcement of tragedy befallen our most innocent.

I’m sorry, but if YOU own a gun and it is not locked up in a way that only you have access to it, YOU are contributing to our national problem.  It could potentially end up in the hands of a criminal, an addict, a child.  It could be used in a crime, a suicide, a school shooting.  Just by owning a gun, you are saying that you don’t get it.  You are saying that your rights are more important than the lives of innocent children.  Sorry, but you are part of the problem. If we didn’t have guns in our homes children would have a much more difficult time getting their hands on guns, it might not be impossible, but it would be much more difficult.  Shouldn’t we make it as difficult as possible for a child to get a gun?

Am I saying that I don’t support the 2nd Amendment? Yes, I am.  I care more about victims of tragedy than about people having to own guns, it is not a hard choice for me.  If I had a magic wand and could eliminate guns across our country, leaving them only in the hands of the police and military, I would do it.

There have been 14 school shootings this year…. so far.  It is only February 6th.

43 Angry Faces

I recently had a letter to the editor published in our local paper…  so far 43 angry faces have weighed in on my letter… I wrote about not giving your child a gun as a gift.  It was interesting to me to read the comments in opposition to my opinion… those people who are clutching their guns, touting ‘gun safety’ as a way to ensure the well-being of their own gun-owning children and stating that this will not stop mass shootings have no clue what my piece was about.  My piece was about caring about children who do not belong to me… their children.

If you teach your child gun safety are you ensuring that your child’s friends will take similar classes, that the neighbor kids can’t get into your home, or know that when your child is desperately unsure of their place in life and a handful of years older, that they won’t look at that gift differently?  We protect our children in so many ways, safety belts, bicycle helmets, knee pads, shin-guards, and football pads, we tell them to not talk to strangers and if they find a gun they shouldn’t touch it, they should leave the area, and tell an adult…. unless it is theirs…

What part of this is trying to take away your rights? What part of this is suggesting that you need to give up guns? What part of this idea will hurt your children in any way?

The best way to keep kids safe in terms of gun safety is to not have guns near children. Guns kill about 1,300 children each year according to a CNN… this has nothing to do with a child becoming a mass shooter… it is about children having access to a gun.

Those 43 angry faces… are they angry because I care about their children?

Let’s Look More Closely

Something evil is growing like a cancer in our country… perhaps the people so inclined to act out violently have something physiologically wrong… We scramble to look for a motive, like that will solve this problem or bring us closer to answers.  A motive is meaningless because many of us are frustrated in the same ways, many are raised by less than perfect parents, and many have angry moments… but THESE people, they treat those roadblocks as motive to commit horrendous crimes.  What makes them different than we are?  Are they really evil?  Or are they predisposed to act out violently?

Three people were shot in our town just a couple of miles from where we live.  My husband and I ride our bikes past the street where a 16 year old high school junior in foster care shot and killed his 10 year old biological sister, his 55 year old foster mother and his 26 year old foster sister… it did not make national news. How did this happen? It doesn’t matter what the boy’s motives were… those three people will still be dead…

We should be dissecting the brains of violent killers and looking for biological signals that show who is capable of crossing the line of sanity.  Just like we medicate for other physiological issues maybe we need to look closer at identifying people with a propensity to act out violently… If, as a student, you are seen by teachers to be angry with violent tendencies your parents should be required to take you to a mental health specialist… if you are convicted of violence you should have to have a brain scan, psychological testing, and medication to manage your anger before you are allowed to step foot back into society…perhaps you are also required to forever be linked to a physician who will make sure your medication is being taken and is working… The government should be stepping up to help identify and pay for kids who may be on this path… And we need to stop clamoring about preserving our freedoms… right now we are free and that is no consolation to all the victims and their families.

At some point maybe everyone who goes to get a drivers license will have a non-invasive brain scan to identify if they have that predisposition… and if so, they can be treated before they snap…

Oh, and get rid of all the guns….

The Cost of Freedom

We are lucky to live in a free society… we are not along.  In this day and age there are many societies that enjoy this same kind of freedom.  But here in America we have another freedom, one that has been twisted and bent to serve the gun manufacturer, the hunter, and anyone who has an itch to pull the proverbial trigger… We have the right to own guns, all of which can be used to kill another human being.  ALL OF WHICH CAN BE USED TO KILL ANOTHER HUMAN BEING!

We decided long ago that the shear number of guns in our country was nothing to be concerned about… guns don’t kill people, people kill people… super

We decided long ago that only the mentally ill and convicted fellons were to be curtailed in their ability to buy a gun…

We decided that the way to stop a bad guy with a gun was to have more and more good guys with guns… after every mass shooting there is a new rush on gun shops…

And, even in the wake of those beautiful first graders lost at Sandy Hook, or those church goers praying in Texas, we refuse to look more closely at what we are holding on to…

In this moment you may hold your loved one tight, but in the next, Americans will be clutching their guns.

Open your eyes, 2nd Ammendment advocates, those lives lost on Sunday… they are the cost of your freedom.