Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Teacher Dad: Time for Better Gun Control

I hate guns. They make me totally and completely uncomfortable. I've held a gun only once, and it was some sort of  military grade weapon and scared the you know what out of me. I couldn't for the life of me understand the why. What was the purpose? The answer I got was, "why not?"

That doesn't work for me. I get needing a gun for certain reasons. I married an Alaskan. I lived in the last frontier for 10 years. I understand hunting, or the need for protection in the wild. My father-in-law owns a gun for such reasons. I don't know much about it, but I know it's there. 

And I know plenty of other people who own guns for hunting purposes. Nothing military grade, but enough to take down a moose or a caribou for winter meat. All of this I get. I get the need for families in Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and other states with a great deal of subsistence lifestyles having hunting weapons. It's not for me, but I'm down with hunters being hunters. 

What I don't get is the need for firearms beyond that. I don't know when exactly my dislike of guns started. I was like most other boys growing up. We played "war" throughout the neighborhood using toy weapons. We'd run in and out of the backyards hiding from each other and springing attacks. 

But at some point that changed. Maybe it was the Brown's Chicken murders in my hometown, or the shooting near my junior high that had us on lockdown until a parent could pick us up. It could have been the front row seat to the Persian Gulf War (90's edition), or the unforgettable Columbine Shooting. It definitely hit the highest of moments at the funeral of a kiddo accidently shot by her relative, but the feeling was permanently sealed in a tearful drive home from teaching while listening to the news covering the Sandy Hook tragedy. 

The days following that terrible event I found myself in a Facebook "discussion" questioning the idea that the gunman would have killed those students and teachers even if he didn't have a gun. I pleaded that there would have been no murders that day if he had walked up to that school with steak knives, but my NRA "friend" wouldn't hear it. In my mind it makes sense that if the types of weapons he used that day were never available, those kids and teachers would still be here today. 

I'm tired of people being hurt out of hate. Guns or no guns. I believe that without the guns less of our brothers and sisters would be dead at the hands of hate. And I can't for the life of me understand how others don't see that. I can't for the life of me understand how a person can see the number of deaths at the hands of gunmen and conclude that to solve this we should have more guns. Let's bring guns into schools and on college campuses to keep people safe, huh? Didn't we progress beyond the "Western" lifestyle shown in a John Wayne movie?

Our country has come a long way since the birth of my first kiddo. Yet, in our present moment we can still have a man walk into a church and kill using a gun given as a gift. It's time to fight for better and frequent background checks. Let's fight to keep the right guns in the hands of those that use them to feed their families. Let's fight to protect kids by being realistic with how people are getting murdered. It's time to press for better representation within our government to help get things on track.  

My 5 kiddos are already living in an America with more freedoms than I grew up in, but I question if it is safer America? And if it's not, does making guns and ammunition more readily available really make anything better? I truly don't think so. And neither does the comedian in the video below. 

Clearly, I'm opening myself up to critics by writing this openly on my blog. I'm not interested in battling over my feelings on this issue, but please feel free to comment. And at least watch the video! Funny and true!