This post may get some people upset. I didn’t put anything on FB for that exact reason. No reasoning equals absolute anger and fracturing friendships. I’m not advocating, just talking.
I have a family who most of the world would call ‘gun crazy’ or ‘unbalanced’ because of their love of sharp or shooting things. They grew up hunting, the boys went on their first trips out around age 6. All three took classes before getting a hunting license, the youngest knows firearm history (seriously fascinating stuff) and knows more about them than anyone I know, and the eldest was a Cav Scout in the US Army. Oddly, the younger son and his dad are the ones who are ardent about their rights to carry. The eldest is just as insistent, but more thoughtful. Each of them has had multiple background checks, I’ve had background checks, and we are all cleared to purchase weapons. I rarely get to go out target practicing, but Little Bear is a damn good instructor when he gets me under his wing.
As I look at this photo of myself from a May afternoon in 2010, I am struck by a couple of things. First, I have worn this jacket for a lot more years than I had thought! (I bought it in 2007 or so and it is the one I have in AK, polar fleece wears well!). Second, my hair is not the same color anymore (it is due to all the aging I’ve done in the last few years). Third, guns are not scary unless you make them so. (I can’t tell you how many times I vacuum or dust around weaponry–the photo of the boys is from 2014, also May. Strider is the older thin one. Little Bear-Pinky-is the younger, more hefty kid)
When Strider was in his last year of HS, one of the just graduated teens from our church was being tried for manslaughter. He had dropped off his girlfriend and was on a long drive back home. He had not consumed anything illegal or smoked anything bad or done anything wrong. He was not speeding. He was just changing the radio station. His F3 or 250 got out of control in the brief second he took his eyes off the twisty busy tourist road and a couple of persons were killed, with more injured. This young man was a straight A student. At the trial (several students went to support him) he was convicted for manslaughter with a deadly weapon. On the way home, we talked about how no one realizes how dangerous a vehicle is. None of us had ever thought a Ford pickup could be a deadly weapon! Even though, two of Strider’s classmates lost their dad’s in driving accidents, it was still a shocking idea. (One driver was older and drunk, killing the family dad. The second dad was on a motorcycle and was killed by a teen who was not supposed to be driving and was.) Almost everyone drives and you don’t need to take several weeks of classes. You practice for so many hours, read a book, and pass a couple of tests (at least here in the US).
The town where Strider graduated had alumni who used to keep bird rifles in their trucks to go duck hunting off the football field after practice (several kids in his class stashed them under seats), he used his pocket knife in shop class (you ever try to sharpen one of those flat pencils??? Those are the silliest things in the world!), and anyone who had been in Boy Scouts had a card in their wallet stating they were allowed to carry a knife. (Little Bear was always the dubious one. The knife blade couldn’t be longer than the palm of your hand and his hands are HUGE! When we moved to EOregon, he went to Scout camp and managed to cut his pinky. His new troop thought it was hilarious and to this day he is still known as ‘Pinky’) Guns and knives are a way of life in our family. They are used as tools, collected as historical items, and carried for enjoyment.
I hate what is happening in our society today. I honestly don’t believe it is a gun problem. Strider shared this blog post with me and I had to agree with the author. Another post I read recently talked about how the norm for kids today is entitlement (they are not the only ones!). They want it their way or else. I do not think it is right for teachers to need to be armed (Mum asked me if I knew of any of my previous teachers who could have handled a gun. I just looked at her. I think the majority could have. Except for my French teacher. Most of us were pretty sure he was part Jedi and related to Yoda…). I do know there are schools with security doors (the first time Strider went through one of those in Portland, he was very impressed!) and even those can be tricked. (there is a movie, ‘Pay it Forward,’ that used that sort of incident to set up the story—GOOD movie) The thing about my teachers in the 80’s though, students respected them to the point that if they screwed around, they knew they would face consequences. (even the star football players who jumped in the school pool while in uniform–and added cheerleaders–when we won a certain game in 1982.)
There appears to be a lack of respect out there. Teachers are often afraid of what a parent will say if their child is not doing well. Many kids are catered to in order to pass tests or classes. (this is not just an opinion, I’ve seen this inaction.) When Strider was in school, he got bullied a lot. He ended up attending classes to help him deal with the bullies. Kids who were in their regular classes, continuing to be jerks. In Elementary school a boy had to write him one of those ‘I’m sorry’ notes. The other boy did, but laughed later. In High School a teacher left her grade book out. A student found it, saw his grade and forced her to change it. No one got into trouble, but my son was appalled.
I wrote all that to say this. Violence in our society is much deeper than needing new laws or taking something away. I know this is an opinion of a gal from the PNW (that includes AK). I don’t have an answer, but I can contact lawmakers to express my concerns. I also have two sons who were raised to be first responders and strong citizens. They may be on opposite sides of this terrible problem, but I trust them to do what is right and needed because they will be on the front lines of whatever happens next, picking up the pieces. (God, protect them.)