The first thought in my head this morning was, "What if we didn't have to be afraid?"
It's Monday morning. Already, back East, parents are sending their children to school, putting them on buses, or walking with them across crosswalks, holding hands. Today, across America, we will be literally sending our children into harms way. It feels that way. We don't want to think of it that way. The school districts definitely don't want to think of it that way. Our children look to us for strength, and we are pretending that we believe they will be safe, because to admit otherwise means we have become a society that doesn't protect it's children. We are not monsters. We are hurt and worried, and don't know what to do.
We understand that politically, it could be nearly impossible to change gun control laws. There are laws on the books, we haven't figured out how to enforce. As long as there is the human element involved: the often unstable, ruled by base fears and anger, influenced by media, torn apart by civil unrest and family fighting - as long as people are a factor, guns will always be unsafe. Guns themselves, of course, are tools. People are what pull the triggers, and people are often operating on a hairline trigger themselves.
My husband commented over the weekend, saying, "Instead of banning guns, why don't we ban divorce, ban family discord, ban the ability of one parent to speak ill of the other to a child, ban raising a child in a home of discontent, ban unhappiness." And I do not believe he was pointing fingers specifically at the family who is also grieving because one of their own shot up a school. He was making a point, that banning guns wouldn't solve the problem. Creating a society that is not wrapped in anger and fear is what we need to do.
We cannot, as a culture, even hold an election for our government officials without the grown-ups involved resorting to calling one another names, and drawing targets around opponents heads, and making lists of their "enemies" they would like to see shot. That happened in the 2008 campaign, lest we forget. In a society that accepts that kind of behavior, how can we be surprised that we have people running amok in the most gruesome way, and shooting up innocents?
What I am wondering this morning is, why Congress cannot turn to the powerful weapons lobby, and say, "Put your money where we hurt the most?" Rather than put money into campaigns to put gun-friendly people into office, put your money into School Security. If every school in America had dedicated security contingents who were trained specifically in child protection, and the whole thing was paid for by the NRA, year after year, ad infinitum, and that was their never-ending campaign, we would all feel a little better. Maybe not much. Maybe not. But it feels like something to ask for it today.
Please know that I understand this is a contentious debate, with strong feelings on both sides, and I am not trying to make light of it. I woke up wondering why millions of dollars can be spent on campaigns, and yet our schools still struggle to provide basic necessities and up to date security.
And so I still want to say to the NRA, "Put your Money where we Hurt the Most!"
photo from here
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