The World We Have Created For Our Kids

Fiona is going to be 18 months old this weekend.  In the time that she has been alive, there have been 10 mass shootings in the United States.  Almost 100 people dead.  In 2015, according to the Washington Post, there were also at least 52 toddler related shooting incidents, 13 that resulted in the death of the child and 2 in the death of other people.

Let that sink in.

This weekend 50 people were killed in Orlando in what has been described as an “act of terror” and an “act of hate”.  These people were killed by a man who despite the fact that he had been investigated in the past, was able to secure a semi-automatic weapon.

Every time something like this happens, our elected officials ask for a moment of silence and spend the days following the incident blaming it on everything and everything from mental health to religious extremism. The NRA sends its deepest regrets along with a friendly reminder that guns don’t kill people when obviously they do.

When will it end?

The second amendment to the US Constitutions says that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

I have to ask: When did the right of the people to keep and bear arms include the right to own semi-automatic weapons?  When did the right of the people to keep arms become more important than the security of the citizens of the State? Last but not least, how are we safer in a world where law enforcement can’t defend us or protect us from some of the weapons that are out there?

I am quite certain that our forefathers weren’t thinking about random people (especially not persons of interest) ordering AK-47s from the internet.

We have the right to do a lot of things in a controlled fashion.

We need our elected officials to step up and work on gun control legislation now.

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Playing with guns

With Fiona now an almost speaking, toddling one year old, it’s been nearly impossible to just do nothing.  Actually, I think my days when I could just do nothing have probably come to an end.

These days I find myself with a calendar that’s probably filled 70% with activities for Fiona, and the remaining 30% everything else.  Including sleep (and I mean sleep for me because even Fiona’s naps are on the schedule).

Anyway, for most of this past year, Fiona’s activities were mostly classes.  We tried the playdate thing but the fact is that unless the kids are old enough to play and/or you REALLY like the other moms it can be painful. For me sometimes it was.

But now that Fiona is so active we are back to embracing them.

Our previous playdate experience was fairly straight forward: since babies hardly move you don’t really have much to worry about.  You just kind of sit there and watch them stare at each other.  If you are lucky, they’ll be crawling around and you just watch them explore hoping they won’t take a toy from another baby so you don’t have to have a talk with a potentially overzealous mom who has different ideas about sharing than you do.

(Yes, that happened.)

But now things have changed and I kind of wish that all I had to worry about was difference of opinions in regards to sharing.

Now that the kids are mobile and curious I have hesitations about letting Fiona go play at a home where there are firearms.  Yes, we are at a point in life where the moms are there while the children play, but soon enough the kids will be a little more independent, maybe even a little sneakier, and not knowing the difference between a weapon and a toy, something disastrous could happen if they were to find a gun.

But how does one have this conversation?

So far in my experience I’ve found that people take less offense if you ask them if there are drugs in their home than if they have a gun.  Apparently having the right to own a gun implies that I should automatically be okay with there being one around my child.

I think that anyone who intends to have children around needs to keep their weapons (if any) unloaded and locked up in a safe, and furthermore, needs to be as forthcoming about their firearm possession as they would be about someone in the home being sick.

Hell, I find it ridiculous that there are moms out there who feel more threatened by a healthy unvaccinated child, than a loaded gun on a coffee table.

(Yes, I’ve seen that.)

I also take issue with conceal carry in places where children are the majority.  Unless it’s an officer of the law or an active member of our military, I don’t believe there is any reason why anyone should go into a park, library, or Disney World with a weapon.  If you are so paranoid about the need to protect yourself while taking your kid to the swings, you probably need more therapy than a gun.

But this is the kind of world we live in…one where we need to think about these things because in America you are more likely to be shot by a toddler than you are to be killed by lightning.

And if we can’t have stricter gun control laws (though I have to acknowledge Obama’s attempt at a step forward), I can at least try to make Fiona’s sphere of being a gun-free zone.