I always pause and give serious thought to writing about hot button issues on the blog. General theory is that it’s “bad for your business or brand” to comment on anything politically charged. But today I find the topic of gun violence in America neither political or something I’m willing to ignore for the sake of my brand. I believe that the serious issue of senseless deaths in the country from mass shootings and gun violence isn’t political but rather a humanitarian issue of the highest order. Its about moral values and what we as a people treasure above all and are willing to sacrifice lives to protect.
And as of right now, apparently thats guns.
As someone who lives in a very liberal state with rather tough gun laws (check your state grade here), I have not been as directly affected as many of you. We have a ban on high capacity magazines and semi-automatic weapons and require all gun purchasers to obtain a license. However, we do not impose a waiting period (arggghhhh!). So thankfully these issues are not something I encounter every day. If someone were to walk through my local Target with a gun slung over their shoulder- shit would hit the fan, even though you can open-carry with a license to do so. Guns just are not a big part of our local culture here. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to sit back and be quiet. It doesn’t mean I’m not scared shitless to send my sweet boy off to pre-school next year. Just look at Connecticut which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and the unfathomable Sandy Hook tragedy that occurred there. State laws are a good start, but they do not solve this problem.
I cannot look at the pictures of those sweet children’s faces and not picture my own child’s among them. And the shooting in Florida is a reminder that we did nothing about it then, and so here we are again. And next time it could be Henry. And that sinking feeling of dread and fear makes me want to go flip dumpsters in the parking lot in rage. For these kids. Their parents. And every other person or relative of a person killed in the over 150 mass shootings we’ve had in this country (400 people have been shot in over 200 school shootings since Sandy Hook alone!) I mean, the CPSC banned LAWN DARTS after three children were killed and a few more injured from playing with them. LAWN DARTS YOU GUYS. And yet with guns, we can’t come to a unanimous decision that we need to do something. It’s pathetic.
I’ve been vocal about this topic on Instagram and Facebook and have heard a variety of arguments against gun control reform. I am not someone calling for a complete 180 on our gun laws. I’m not advocating “taking all your guns away”. With proper background checks, waiting periods, licensing requirements and common sense Red Flag Laws, I think its possible to responsibly own a handgun or shotgun for self-defense or hunting. I, however, think that all semi-automatic guns and/or at least high capacity magazines used with guns like the AR-15, should be banned. There is no reason a civilian needs access to this grade of weapon. NO NEED. And I’ve heard and read so many arguments against this practical, life-saving concept that really make my blood boil. For example:
The Second Amendment gives me the right to bear arms.
When the second amendment was written there weren’t semi-automatic weapons and America didn’t extend past the Mississippi River (and also the “frontier” was basically lawless so you HAD to defend yourself- as well as hunt for food). It was legal to own slaves in some states and women couldn’t vote. THINGS HAVE CHANGED, PEOPLE. The evolution of society and it’s technology require us to adapt our laws to reflect the modern day issues. This is why Constitutional Amendments have been passed. Other countries have changed their laws on guns after far fewer mass killings and rampant violence and IT’S PROVEN TO WORK. The evidence lies in the numbers, which CANNOT be disputed.
Crazy People Kill People, Not Guns
Women suffer from mental health issue just as much as men, so why aren’t there a bunch of female mass shooters too? And mental illness is just as present in other countries, so why are their numbers not as hideous as ours? Oh right– gun control laws. Don’t get me wrong, mental health absolutely plays a part in this, we do not do enough as a country to support those that are suffering through proper health care (even if you have it, usually the coverage is basic and short lived). But lets stop the gushing artery bleed before we address the cancer. Mental health reform will take much longer and is much more complicated a task. Lets start by taking the really crazy weapons out of the hands of the ill. Then lets try to help them get better. You don’t give a toddler a knife and then slowly start teaching it how to use it, because in the meantime they will hurt themselves and others. DUH.
But Cars Can Be Used To Kill People And We Don’t Ban Them
This one really makes me want to scream. Cars have other purposes than killing people. Transportation for one. An AR-15 has one purpose- to take as many lives as possible as efficiently as possible. You can’t ride an AR-15 to work. It’s not going to teach your kids how to read. Never mind the fact that cars are regulated better than guns! I mean, you can’t just choose a military tank as your family vehicle because you think its cool. Those kind of vehicles are to be handled by trained professionals only– for a reason. No one is saying that banning semi-automatics is going to end all killing- there is too much hate in this world for that- but it’s a start. Sure, someone could drive a car into a crowd. Absolutely. But why not give them fewer options on how to murder groups of people? Why not TRY??? It’s like saying- well, we can’t cure all cancer so lets not cure ANY cancer. That’s just stupid.
Good Guys With Guns Stop Bad Guys With Guns
So we should just arm EVERYONE? We should be giving our sweet kindergarten teachers an apple and a Glock? Or spend zillions of dollars on armed guards for every public place? We don’t have that kind of money, and I certainly don’t want to live in a society where everyone has to carry a gun. It would basically bring us back to the Wild West. And there are many instances where this argument holds about as much water as a sieve– Las Vegas for one (good lucky taking out a sniper), Orlando for another (if everyone had a gun in a dark, crowded nightclub can you even imagine how many more deaths there would be from confusion and terror?)
Bad Guys Will Get Access To Guns No Matter What Laws We Put in Place
I’m going to call bullshit on that one right off the bat. Even if that were true, WHY NOT MAKE IT HARDER??? Why not make it really, really difficult to buy an AR-15 than have it take 5 minutes in your local Walmart? And no, you can’t use heroin or some other illegal drug as an example of laws not working properly. They don’t offer heroin at Whole Foods, you can’t just waltz into Starbucks and order a latte with a side of meth. There are a lot of deaths from illegal (and some legal) drugs, but at least we TRY. We recognize the danger and make policy change based on evidence. So why not with guns?
Ok, now my heart is racing and I’m typing very violently. I have reached a point where I have to say something and do something. And I would call on other people with a platform, large or small, to do the same. It’s time. We are failing our children as adults. We are not protecting them, and they are fed up with our inaction. And in time, I do believe these changes will happen because those kids will age and become voters and politicians and will do it themselves. But lets not wait for them to grow up and in the meantime suffer through countless more shootings. Lets do it for them and act like the responsible caring adults we know how to be.
Get involved- I signed up for Moms Demand Action locally and will volunteer my time and my money. I’ve also donated to Everytown and Sandy Hook Promise. It’s time to stop just talking about this and DO SOMETHING. It requires effort and time, which is hard, I know– but this is important. I don’t want Henry to grow up and ask me what I did to stop this and have to tell him “Oh,I wrote a blog post”. I will meet. I will march. I will do whatever it takes. Even it all that effort results in just ONE person changing their stance on our gun laws.
Because I cannot and will not sit down and take it. I have to do something.
For my son. For everyone’s son.