IF We Give Up Our Guns…

You may have heard it before, ‘If we give up our guns, then only the criminals will have guns’…

Drug dealers, con-men, gang members, carjackers, pick-pockets, and more… they are not walking into churches, schools and movie theaters and killing people.  The people doing these mass shootings are just regular, but extremely troubled, young men.  They have access to guns and information, via technology, to destroy lives and communities.  They are not the ‘criminals’ we think we need to worry about.  Getting rid of guns may mean that only criminals will have guns ~ that will make it easy to recognize who needs to be arrested… if you have a gun, you are a criminal and your gun will be confiscated.

Let’s stop saying how guns are a right, that we deserve to be hunters and people who use guns as a sport.  Let’s stop having children who grow up around guns, have a healthy respect for guns, and would never do this kind of thing.  Let’s stop being a country of selfish, fearful, conspiracy theorists who need protection from our government and neighbors and start being a country who values the lives of innocent children over our right to go out and kill a deer.

Parents who have their guns used in an act of violence or in an accident should be held accountable for the crimes their children commit.  Let’s start saying that THAT is the price of freedom… But, my first choice is to ban guns, all guns.

I have never liked guns, but, yes, now I am an anti-gun nut… I am fine with that

The only hope that someone will not use a gun to commit mass murders is IF they can’t get their hands on a gun.

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Responsible Gun Owners

I am inspired by the young people across our country speaking out, walking out and marching for gun reform.  The NRA is fighting back hard.  They continually talk about law abiding, responsible gun owners holding fast to their rights and clinging to an outdated notion of the Second Amendment.  So, let’s take a minute to talk about responsible gun owners.  Since the party line is ‘Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People’, I’ll just go with that.  If you are a responsible gun owner your gun IS your responsibility.

Our president just suggested that drug dealers should get the death penalty, although I am not a believer in the death penalty, perhaps his call for an iron fist approach should be applied to gun violence and mass shootings.  So, if your dependent uses a gun either purchased or owned by the family, you are responsible.  If that use results in injury or death then you are prosecuted.  Let’s make owning a gun something that is thought about on a deeper level… is owning a gun worth the risk?  You can do it, we are not taking away your rights, but IF you are not responsible with your ownership then you, the person not the gun, are held accountable.

Twenty-seven states have some kind of law holding gun owners responsible for accidents or crimes involving children using their guns but they are almost never prosecuted because prosecutors feel that parents have already paid the ultimate price.  Yes, they have, but when someone else’s child dies then what happens?  If you don’t own a gun, then you do not run the risk of jail time.  If more parents didn’t own guns then children would be less likely to use them.  It does not take rocket science to figure that out.

We  can fight for stronger gun control, for limiting high capacity magazines and assault rifles, AND we can work to change the perception of the need to own guns. Yes, some people who live way out on ranches with livestock to protect may have a point, but  ‘It’s my right’ , ‘I grew up with guns’, ‘Guns are a family tradition’ and ‘I like guns’ are no longer intelligent arguments (were they ever?)…

Being a responsible citizen is more important than being a responsible gun owner…

Ignorance

Ignorance… I have read letters, posts and blogs suggesting that those who want gun control, or changes in gun laws are ignorant.  It has been suggested that you can not blame anything on an inanimate object.  It is a simplistic statement that anyone THINKS that is what is happening here.  The ignorance is that we are interpreting our second amendment to mean that all guns, all ammo, under any circumstance should be available to almost all in the general public all the time.  YOU do not understand the intent of the second amendment or the climate of our country over 200 years ago.

If you are religious and believe in the bible do you wave a chicken over your head when entering a room? Do you refuse to shake the hands of a woman for fear she is menstruating? If you are divorced or remarried, you too, are breaking the rules of the bible.  Why are these rules (the ultimate piece of writing in a believer’s mind) no longer valid?  Because they are not relevant to life in modern times.  Even Jesus said that many of the rules from the Old Testament were obsolete… HE understood that the world changes.

At the time our constitution was written our country was small and had just battled England for our freedom.  We had battled with muskets, bayonets, swords and cannons.  Our country was an infant and the ideals reflected in our constitution were meant to protect our independence and the freedom we had just won.  This was not written for a modern society with technology that allows someone to gun down hundreds of innocent people in the matter of minutes when their loneliness and anger overtake their ability to respect the value of a life. The second amendment does not refer to the right to every type of gun, without restriction.  With the correct interpretation the government could still control the number and types of guns available to it’s citizens.   In fact, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the right is not unlimited and does not prohibit all regulation of either firearms or similar devices.  

By saying that protesting the lack of our government to get killing machines off the streets of our country and work towards sensible gun control is ignorant, you are showing that you have not been thinking about what our constitution really says, you are jumping on the gun rights bandwagon and dismissing the reality of beginning to solve this tragic epidemic in our country.

Do you live by the same standards and rules from when you were five years old?  You have grown up and life changes.  Our country has grown and so have many of our rules.  The second amendment does not mean that the government has to allow every and all firearm to be available and that assertion is indefensible.  We are a different society with different problems.  We need to allow our laws to adapt to those changes.

Limiting guns will not fix the problem, but if it will help why would we not, as a civilized country, make it so?

The gun lobby is strong, reasonable people can be stronger.

Ignorance is when you speak and act without thinking, reading, or researching your position.  That is what a child does.  Time to grow up, America, and make the changes we need to keep our people, our children, safe.  #enoughisenough

 

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.

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.