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.


Changing One Mind

This is the letter I am sending out to each and every Senate and House Leader, our President and Vice President… I have printed off 21 letters… I am trying my best to make a change… I can only hope

Dear Senator/Leader/Elected Official,

I am writing this to try and change one mind… yours.  I know that we can both agree that mass shootings are horrendous, that no innocent life should be lost and that school children should be safe in their classrooms.  We can agree that it is a complex problem full of many complex issues.  It is also politically heavy for both sides.

We should also be able to agree that IF something can be done to prevent even one more of these attacks we should try to do it.  No one wants one more funeral or one more speech about ‘thoughts and prayers’…  Not you, not me, and not the families of murdered children.

After so much bluster, looking at the arguments on both sides, hearing the anguish and anger from victims’ families we should be able to agree that to solve this problem we MUST take a four pronged approach.  One change will not be enough and if we are committed to making a change for the better in our country we will have to spend money, make sacrifices, and empower the government.

In my state, Oregon, as in many other states, there is no waiting period to buy any type of gun.  If your background check does not come back within three days (it usually comes back instantly) you can get the gun without the check.  Other states require a 3-10 day waiting period… the federal government could make this true across the country.  Consider it a chance for someone buying a gun out of anger, or in a rage, to have a chance to think more clearly and cool down.

So, #1 make nationwide waiting periods to buy any gun

The AR – 15, and guns like them, are meant to do one thing, kill.  We do not need to have this gun available to the general public. You know it, I know it, any reasonable person should agree that we don’t NEED this type of gun. As someone who was elected to serve our country YOU must sometimes make the difficult decisions for the good of all.  YOU need to step up, as the Australian government did, and say that part of your job is to think about the welfare of the people who may not be as educated or privileged as you.  You must make this decision about these weapons without worrying about re-election.

So, #2 ban semi-automatic assault rifles

We all like to point to mental illness as the key factor in these mass shootings.  Yes, mental distress, instability, trauma, lack of belonging, lack of empathy and losing touch with reality all play a role in these tragedies.  It is difficult to predict who is just shooting off their mouths as teenagers and who has a real intent to carry out horrendous acts.

So, #3 federally fund a school psychologist in every school… this would be in addition to a school counselor. 

Preparation in schools for active shooter situations is a reality for every school aged child.  We have drills where we turn out the lights, hide in a corner and practice being as quiet as possible… the children in my care are six and seven years old… This weekend I went into work and planned which furniture I could quickly drag to the corner of my classroom to better barricade my 24 children in case of an active shooter.  Do I want to live like this?  Do I want to practice this plan on Tuesday?  No, but I will.  I will practice perching on the high shelf next to my doorway so that if someone manages to get through my locked door, I can jump on them and fight to save the lives of my children.  This is not a joke.

So, #4 federally fund one police officer for every school (two to very large campuses with multiple entrances)

Will this be enough?  Probably not, but it is a start.  We need to somehow quell the anger and loneliness these shooters feel, we need to make America kind and loving again.  I am hoping that YOU have the courage to do your part, to stand up to people who elected you and say, I am here to make your life better, to protect your children, and this is what we need to do as a country.  Sometimes we need to help people be their better selves, we need to lead the way.

Our children are counting on you. Don’t let them down.


Allison Whitworth

First Grade Teacher


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.


The Net and You

I am not tech savvy and all this talk of Net Neutrality has not drawn my focus… I have been more obsessed with Trump’s antics, Moore’s pedophilia, the Russia investigation, the revision of our tax code, the declaration of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, and all of the revelations of sexual harassment by men in power…

But, here I am on my computer, working on the Net, hoping that people will have an opportunity to read my latest blog and wondering how ending Net Neutrality will really affect my life.

The motivation of Trump and the head of the FCC is once again transparent.  Just like all of Trump’s appointments, the new FCC, Ajit Pai, although originally appointed by Obama, at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell,  was once a lawyer for Verison and has continually worked against Net Neutrality.

So, although Trump and Pai claim that ending Net Neutrality will benefit the American people it is clear that the benefactors of this change will be the owners of big companies who can pay to have their content pushed to the head of your search engines.  It will make you, the consumer, pay to see what you want on the net and limit your exposure.  No longer will you be able to have the world at your fingertips because some content will be so far down on the list you would have to weigh through page after page of options before you find that obscure video.  We will pay more for less, and big business will once again be rewarded.

Our internet is a model help up by the world as the gold standard of freedom… this will be one more way Trump will be hurting our international reputation, hurting the little guy and benefiting those who already have wealth and power. Once again we need to speak up, contact our representatives in Congress and protest this rollback of sensible regulations meant to keep our internet a place for the free exchange of information.

If you are reading my blog now you are doing so because of Net Neutrality.  Without it you might have to buy a package that had wordpress included in it or be blocked from seeing content that is not part of your internet package.  Two years ago one of my first blogs went viral and was seen by almost 70,000 people world wide… without Net Neutrality that never could have happened. The free exchange of ideas on the internet is what makes someone living in small town America able to learn about the world, participate in conversation, or run a small business on equal footing with someone in a larger city.  This will affect EVERYONE who uses the internet for information, for communication, for commerce. EVERYONE

Remember that this change will not benefit small business or consumers, it will benefit big corporations and large internet conglomerations … just like all of Trump’s moves, it is disguised as something good for America, let there be no question… it is not.




I Can’t Wait

Well, the White House and our illustrious president must be reeling… yes, we are on the verge of a new tax plan.  But Trump’s decision to run for president on a whim, just to see if he could win, to satisfy his narcissistic lust is about to land his favorite daughter’s husband in deep trouble.  It will be interesting to see just how far he is willing to go to keep himself in his dream office… will he sit back and watch as his son-in-law takes the fall for his lust for power?

My guess will be that he will provoke a new assault on his former election rival, the previous administration and on North Korea… Will he be willing to sacrifice the country’s safety to deflect attention from the treachery occurring in the oval office and in his campaign?  Who knows? But I will be up early to see what shiny object becomes the focus of his tweets…

I hope that the American people, all of them, are smart enough to see through his struggle to deflect our attention.  Stay alert!


Some Things Are Not Easy to Say

Putting yourself out there isn’t easy.  Challenging people who you respect or consider friends can be stressful. Keeping the discussions civil and being willing to listen and respond with respect is critical to moving forward and making the changes needed in our society.

Saying that I wish all guns were taken out of homes and off our streets is a bold statement, especially when I live in a small town filled with hunters.  Saying that I challenge religious zealots of all kinds and believe that many of the world’s problems fall on the shoulders of those who believe they are doing ‘God’s will’ is met by anger.  Saying that I am a liberal democrat who wishes Obama were still president and that Americans had universal healthcare is met by name calling and hateful words.

It isn’t easy, but it is necessary.  I am not looking to change the minds of those people who oppose me vehemently, I am looking at changing the minds of people on the fence and move those who are already on my side but shy to speak up towards action rather than silent agreement, I am looking to send a message of hope to those who feel that they are alone in their thoughts because they are afraid to share their true thoughts…

I am not brave, I am scared, but I am hopeful that together we CAN make a difference, even in our small town.

It is not easy to say, but I will say it… open your mind, open your heart and question the way things are… just because you were raised one way does not mean that it is right, be willing to question yourself, I do every day.


Just Don’t Let Him Speak

All he has to do is open his mouth and our country moans. I watched his live speech to the Coast Guard on Thanksgiving Day. Why didn’t someone stop him? This morning, as I read the transcript of his speech, I again asked myself where were his handlers?  He needs to only read speeches and if he begins to stray, just cut off the mic.  How is the White House not taking care of this? Maybe Obama’s former speech writer could throw him a few bones.  Trump’s speeches are a double edged sword.  On one hand his idiocy confirms my vote against him and serves as a flag to wave representing how poorly suited he is to run our country, on the other hand I do not want our president to be an embarrassment to our country on the world stage…. oops, too late.  But he does not need to prove it daily, does he?

Let’s let the White House find one decent photo a day to put out there to the world… one where he isn’t looking smug, stupid or constipated.  And then they could release a statement from the White House perhaps giving his meal choices for the day and which dignitaries he is meeting.  We could be informed if he is taking his meds, having regular bowel movements, and getting a good night’s sleep.

Just don’t let him speak….