(The lack of) gun control and feeling vulnerable

Sometimes most of the time I avoid talking about political things on this blog because I like blogging to be lighthearted and semi-neutral and relaxing to write and to read. However, my mama heart is aching because of gun violence in our country, and as it relates to motherhood, I really feel called to write about it – if for no other reason, to get it off my chest.

First off, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that I’m a liberal who is married to a gun owner and I do not hate guns. But I do hate violence. I REALLY hate violence.

Gosh it breaks my heart to read articles about guns taking peoples lives. When we lived in Chicago it was all the news talked about. Actually, the news actually stopped talking about shootings unless an unprecedented amount happened over a short period of time. Gun violence was (and is) so normal in the city of Chicago that no one is shocked when someone dies, even a little kid. How sad is that?

And now we live in Seattle (although obviously we did not move because of gun violence in Chicago) and the local news is generally free from reports of gun violence, but the national news is saturated with stories of mass shootings. Daily mass shootings.

There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

I want to know who is going to protect my babies.

I’ll just bullet point some of my thoughts (as I tend to do when I know I’m not a good enough writer to form an entire cohesive essay on gun control).

  • I really want to know… who is in charge of protecting my babies, if the government isn’t going to do anything about it?
  •  Am I really supposed to start carrying a gun at all times to protect my children and myself? Is that the expectation? I don’t want to carry a gun. I don’t even think it’s responsible to have a weapon around small children. I would not be the fan-favorite at playdates if toddlers went into my diaper bag and pulled out a gun. I know that it’s not a likely scenario, but seriously, how do I protect my babies if I don’t carry a gun myself? And how do I protect my babies if I do carry a gun all of the time? What is a mom to do? Am I supposed to expect other childless good samaritans to protect me? Are police supposed to be everywhere?
  • I don’t think more ‘good guys’ with guns are the answer. Everyone who wants a gun already has a gun and it isn’t solving the problem.
  • I ‘get’ the second amendment, and I still don’t think that it’s everyone’s right to own an assault weapon. I think there should be restrictions to the freedoms we allow people when it comes to violent weapons and our babies. As long as children are dying (even at schools!) I will not be thinking ‘well gee, at least we didn’t violate the shooter’s second amendment right!’
  • It is my very strong opinion that those people on a terror watch list should not be allowed to purchase guns. Sorry people-on-the-list-accidentally, I really hope you get yourself off the list and clear your name, but I would rather err on the side of safety than allow every could-be terrorist to have a gun.
  • I recognize that it will be hard to confiscate guns. I think we should try it anyway.
  • No, not guns used for hunting. I’m talking about assault weapons.
  • I recognize that there is no perfect screening system, I say we should implement a better one anyway.
  • I know that if someone wants a gun they will probably be able to get a gun, but I think we should try to protect ourselves anyway because I know that someone else will be thwarted and maybe that will save lives. I mean, our airport security is imperfect, but we still have it. People can still get their hands on drugs, but they’re still (mostly) illegal. We know criminals may not care about laws but it’s still important that we have them.
  • Oh the NRA and their fear-based propaganda… I just have no words.
  • I’m a big supporter of increased mental health services in our country. Are we going to raise taxes to support this? Fine with me. I don’t think it’s enough to solely focus on mental health to fix the gun problem, but let’s certainly increase the services offered to the most vulnerable members of our society. But we’re going to need to pay money to make it happen and I know that’s not usually a selling point for Republicans.
  • I don’t believe we should stop immigration for people (especially for women and children) who are trying to flee terrorists and who have already gone through an extensive screening process. The Bible says we are to welcome immigrants and the poor and the needy and we are to love one another and I fully support that message.
  • Other countries do not have the same problem we have. Yes, they have some mass shootings, but it is extremely rare. Here it’s a daily occurrence. We need to figure out and accept the most likely causes of this and then change it.
  • Heck, no system is perfect, but not doing anything is not working. It is time for us to try something different.

Honestly, at the end of the day I just want to know what we are doing to protect our kids and ourselves. I want politicians to take some responsibility and stop offering ‘thoughts and prayers’ while refusing to do anything to attempt to prevent the same things happening over and over again. I want someone to be held accountable for inaction and a promise that we, as a country, will do everything we can to do better in the future. For our kids.

I want Clara to grow up in a country (this country, specifically), that does not accept that gun violence is inevitable, especially mass shootings. When she asks me how she should feel safe, I want to tell her that our laws our designed for her protection and that while bad guys are out there, the good guys are in her favor and are doing everything they can. I want to tell her that our country and its leaders care about her and our family and our safety and its citizen’s well beings and that she can sleep safe at night knowing that we (as a society) are doing the best we can for her and her generation.

I want someone to do something about this. We have a mass shooting just about every day in this country and I’m tired of people saying implying that it’s okay because the second amendment is more important than our lives. If gun control isn’t the answer (and maybe it’s not), then someone tell me what is.

As a sidenote, I do not consider this a solution.

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19 Responses to (The lack of) gun control and feeling vulnerable

  1. Cassie Lee says:

    OH MY GOSH YES. I completely agree with you. I don’t think guns are inherently bad but I think we need MUCH more control. We also need better mental health screening and services, but maybe that’s just the clinician in me. Cheers to addressing a tough topic!

  2. You’re so on point here, Lisa. I think there are so many issues here and so many people in high up positions avoiding the responsibility of figuring it out. This is a nation full of smart people, geniuses even and they’re telling us they can’t figure this out? I don’t know the answer, but frankly, it’s not MY job to know the answer. I’m fine paying more for our safety, fine paying more to figure out additional restrictions, reshape laws, whatever it may entail… but somebody needs to step up and figure out what the solution will be. Thanks for writing!

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks so much, Samantha! I SO agree with you, we have so many smart people in this nation (and running this nation) that I can’t believe we can’t figure out a solution to even ATTEMPT to fix this huge problem.

  3. *standing ovation*

    My roommates and I were having a discussion similar to this last night at dinner. It just absolutely boggles my mind that even though these shootings happen time and time and time again, no one does ANYTHING about it. Oh sure, we’ll happily defund Planned Parenthood, because GOD HELP US ALL if low-income or uninsured women have access to, you know, health screenings or contraceptives, but could we possibly, for one second, even consider the possibility of doing something, *anything* to maybe make it so mass shootings don’t happen literally every single day in the U.S.? Of course not. That would be ludicrous.

    I’m not ignorant – I know the reason anything/everything happens in Congress is, 99.9% of the time, a result of lobbyists with $$$, and I know the NRA gives A. LOT. of money to politicians so that they get their way. Ignoring the fact that that kind of “persuasion” makes our entire legislature seem like nothing more than a collection of corrupt crooks, I cannot, for the life of me, understand how the NRA even justifies to themselves that the “right to bear arms” means “any arms, all arms, whatever arms anyone could possibly hope to own, under any circumstance, regardless of whether or not anyone with half a brain would consider it safe to allow particular individuals to have access to weapons designed exclusively to kill human beings in large quantities.” You want to allow people to have the right to buy handguns? Fine. You want to allow people to have the right to buy hunting rifles? Fine. But in WHAT WORLD does it make ANY sense for ANYONE who is not actively serving in the military–like, in combat actively serving in the military, not sitting on a base in North Dakota actively serving in the military–to even have ACCESS to military-grade weaponry? NO ONE needs an assault weapon for self-defense. No one. Ever. Under any circumstance. I can’t really think of any reason why those sorts of weapons should even exist for purchase–why those sorts of weapons shouldn’t be the exclusive property of the military, kind of like how normal people don’t store nuclear bombs in their basement for “self-defense.” You know? And man, maybe this is just my Democrat showing, but I can’t FATHOM why it would be bad to put tighter regulations on guns–more background checks, more waiting periods, less access. Is that going to stop everything? No. Of course not. The bad guys are going to get weapons whether it’s easy or difficult if they set their minds to it. But putting up at least a few more roadblocks in their way will at LEAST make it a teeny, tiny bit more difficult. Look at alcohol. Obviously banning it outright isn’t a viable solution, but by allowing it to be legal and REGULATING the sale and production of it, the government has SOME control over the consumption of alcohol. Do people still drink in excess? Of course. Do people still drink underage? Of course. But just because that happens doesn’t mean we should throw our hands up in the air in resignation and put kegs on every corner and grant everyone free access to them because it’s our “constitutional right” to consume alcohol (which it is, thanks to the 21st amendment), or only card people if they buy alcohol at a liquor store while letting any ol’ 12-year-old looking to get schwasted before the eighth grade spring dance waltz into an “alcohol show” and walk out with a case of Bud Light. Regulating alcohol doesn’t mean normal people don’t get access to it. Regulating alcohol doesn’t even mean people who probably SHOULDN’T have access to it don’t get access to it. But it means there are some controls in place to prevent widespread chaos, and call me crazy, but I really believe it’s the government’s job to, you know, put controls in place to prevent widespread chaos. And even if it is our constitutional right to bear arms, I cannot, for the life of me, possibly believe when the founding fathers wrote that, that they intended it to allow this kind of situation. It’s like no one even considers the time in which that was written — right after they finished a war quite unlikely any warfare we experience in the 21st century, right after they broke away from a powerful empire, when it was not at all unreasonable to expect that empire would not take independence of its colonies lying down. That’s not at all what life is like today, and I bet you if they could’ve POSSIBLY foreseen what kind of trouble that line would’ve caused down the road, they never would’ve included it in the Constitution – or at least not phrased it the way they did.

    /endrant

    Haha. I have lots of Opinions on this, clearly 😛

    • Lisa says:

      I love that you mentioned alcohol as something that is legal but we still have strict control over. I mean, you have to be a certain age to buy it, to drink it… some states have restrictions on the types of stores that can sell it and the days of the week it can be purchased and all bars are supposed to stop selling to someone who is clearly too drunk. It’s crazy we have more regulations on alcohol than guns! (Maybe that isn’t true, but it feels that way to me.)

      Also, I swear I heard Mike Huckabee say (on The View) that if someone breaks into your house with an assault weapon, the person defending the house should have an assault-style weapon to defend themselves. WHAT?! I now need to worry about people breaking into my house with a military grade weapon and the only way to defend myself is to have a BIGGER GUN than they do?! I really should ensure that’s what he said, but I swear he did.

  4. Kelly says:

    yes. all of this. I think though unfortunately as long as our elections are funded by private citizens with a lot of money and crowd funding, our politicians will remain purchased by the highest bidder. If you look at igorvolsky twitter timeline, when the San Bernardino shooting took place- he put on blast all the politicians who offered “thoughts and prayers” and other actionless platitudes and who were given large contributions by the NRA. It’s the same reason people rally against “greater good” ideas like universal healthcare because capitalism! oh and because drug companies, medical manufacturer companies and insurance companies buy elections and pay a lot of money to politiicans to keep those ideas down. makes me ragey.

    I also really hate this idea of “we can’t keep guns away from bad guys so why bother”.. um what?! the GOP’s response to EVERYTHING is to ban and stop it: Abortion!? BAN IT. Birth control!? BAN IT. Health care? BAN IT. Guns? well.. banning things never works.

    • Lisa says:

      I did see that Twitter timeline.. I think that’s where I also saw all of the politicians who voted against banning people on the terror watch list from buying guns. Just ridiculous. And you make an excellent point about Republicans wanting to regulate everything EXCEPT guns. I just don’t get it at all. If banning things doesn’t work, we should probably stop the whole abortion discussion entirely, because that one in particular really exhausts me.

  5. Macy Volpe says:

    I am having such a difficult time not posting on such controversial issues right now. With everything going on in the world, in our own country, the presidential race, and so on. It is tough, but I can’t figure out where the line is. With that being said, I applaud you for this post! I agree with you on most of these points whole-heartedly. I work with mental health professionals on a daily basis, and I agree that more needs to be done in that arena. There needs to be testing available, more funds allocated, and stricter regulations in some areas for those with mental health problems.

    The area of this that tears me apart is who should be allowed guns and who shouldn’t. For example, there was an armed robbery by my house last night, thankfully the store owner had a gun, and was able to protect himself. There are so many ways to get your hands on a gun illegally, and that is what we see mostly in Baltimore. Illegal guns are leading to the highest number of homicides in our history. But on the other side of things, the last two mass shootings in the US were with legally obtained weapons. Banning Assault weapons would be a start to this, and I agree that should happen, but it won’t put a stop to the madness at this point.

    There absolutely needs to be a better way to screen people before they purchase a gun, and there should be a way to confiscate guns from those that couldn’t pass a new screening, but what is the next step? I have no idea. It is so hard to stand-by and see this happening to our world, and fear for my younger siblings, and future children lives, every day they go to school, or my own life and my coworkers as we go into the city every day for work. I wish there could be a middle ground between a full ban on guns, and the freedom that so many have to get them now.

    • Lisa says:

      Oh I definitely don’t have solutions, I just want us to try SOMETHING as a nation to show that we’re standing against gun violence. I totally agree with what you say here. We have guns in our house and I wouldn’t want someone to take them away from us… but honestly, I would give up our rights as gun owners if it meant tighter control on who was able to have them. For us they’re used as a part of a hobby, and they’re just not that important.

  6. EdyeNicolesMakeup says:

    Oh my goodness! I could not agree with you more! Finally, someone speaks openly and honestly about such a sad situation. Gun violence is now an epidemic in America. I am sixteen years old, and I find it appalling that I do not feel safe in my own country. I need to watch my back whenever I go to a school, movie theater or even just outside my house! Thank you for sharing this and spreading awareness about this awful situation.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks for the encouragement on writing about this topic! Hopefully that by the time you have kids they won’t need to fear for their safety in the same way that we seem to right now.

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more. And everyone else here, for that matter. I feel like the mental health issue is pretty big, but more in terms of the demonizing of those with mental health issues when we have a mass shooting. Instead of “nobody should ever have an assault rifle” it’s “crazy people shouldn’t have access to guns” because “crazy” people are the only ones who kill? We’re never going to be able to start helping everyone who has mental health issues if we continue to call those with mental health issues “crazy” or “bad.”
    But yeah, I’m tired of being anxious all of the time because the violence seems to have increased so much. I’m tired of all the hatred that gets stirred up in the wake of a terrorist incident. I’m tired of terrible people spreading fascist ideas all over the media. I’m just tired, and I just want to be able to live my life, without fear.

    • Lisa says:

      You bring up such a great point about mental health. It is really bad that as soon as some horrible mass shooting happen we all wait for the ‘oh they had mental problems that were diagnosed and ignored or even undiagnosed’ OR ‘oh they were radicalized’. I mean, I would argue that no one SANE goes around killing people, but that doesn’t mean that every person who does is crazy and of course we can’t discriminate against people with mental health problems and treat them like second-class citizens. That in itself is a whole dilemma! But I will forever be in favor of more people getting help for mental health problems. When living in big city where homeless people seem to be everywhere, it’s so apparent to me that we’re ignoring big areas of needs in our country.

  8. Hear hear!
    I’m in Canada and we have gun control laws – no one complains about them, even people like me who would consider themselves more on the conservative side. The first time I was in a US Walmart and I saw a glass box full of guns and ammunition, I was SHOCKED. I don’t even know where I would get a gun if I wanted one, and I like it that way. Several relatives of mine hunt and so obviously have hunting guns, but why anyone (other than those in the police force) would ever need an assault weapon is beyond me.
    Bulletproof blankets for kids have to be the most sad invention ever.

    • Lisa says:

      Agreed, agreed, agreed. It seems like if we had stricter laws, no one would even notice or say anything after a few years… but it’s enacting the change that’s always the hardest!

  9. Pingback: It's two years later and I have the same thoughts on gun control. | Naptime Chai

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