When I was in high school most pickups had gun racks in the rear view window. In those gun racks were guns. Many went hunting before coming to school in the morning. Some after school. We had to take hunter safety in PE, at the insistence of one of our coaches. I probably still have my patch where I passed the class. I rolled my eyes over having to take the class because I didn’t think it was necessary for me. It wasn’t, but it was for many of my classmates, so I get it. It certainly did me no harm, though I also never personally used the information.
I was not from a family that had guns back then (though most of my family does now), and I never spent one minute in fear that someone was going to go on a shooting rampage in my school? Naive? Maybe. But the fact that no one did, means fear would have been for nothing.
Most of my friends not only have guns, but many conceal carry. While I am in favor of this, I do admit there are a few that concern me. Sure, mental illness is a restrictor…. but what if someone has anger issues or is skittish or prone to fear or has times when they feel everyone is against them? There have been times that seeing certain people with guns in public has scared me. But who decides where the lines are? Even with some of the folks I know well, I wouldn’t want to make that determination. I don’t believe I would trust you to, either.
There are things that scare me more than guns. Terrorist bombs. Poison in our water or food supplies. Those driving while impaired….or while texting. Somebody running me down me in a parking lot or while crossing the street (thinking of you, downtown Statesville drivers). I know more people who have injured innocent people with guns than have saved themselves or their families. I know folks who have been murdered….probably with legal guns. One was probably the act of a stranger (no one has been convicted) and another was a former boyfriend. But I don’t see the guns as the murderer….just the murderer’s weapon of choice. They could have been knifed or hit with a lamp or poisoned. They’d still be dead. That’s just my experience and thought process….yours could be different. It shapes our views. How can it not?
I’ve heard some folks put down the kids protesting our gun laws and not feeling safe in our schools. Agree with them or not, I will do nothing but encourage them. Get out there and speak your minds, kids. Tell people what you think..learn to articulate your thoughts. You may be right….but be open to being wrong.. You’ll be ahead of most adults with that one quality. I’m sorry you don’t see it modeled much.
I am hopeful that these teens are not only learning to peacefully protest, and link arms with those of like minds (and even engage with those who think differently) , but they will continue to exercise their rights. I hope they vote in record numbers…and pick better candidates. I hope they blow up our political party system, Agree with them or not, they are trying to influence our politicians and our world. Do I think they will be successful any time soon? Nope….because I cynically believe that something about being in public office makes ears and minds and even hearts close. Maybe the job and the number of opinions to sift through is just overwhelming. But I don’t see politicians listen to opinions of people well. I don’t see them trying to solve problems creatively….or even seem to understand what the real problems are. So if they don’t change, we need to change them. Because the symptoms are not the disease. Maybe the voices of these teens will resonate an
d get their attention. Maybe.
I want dialogue. I want us to vote differently….grading politicians on how they listen to we, the people. I want us to figure out what is going on. Why do we live in such an angry country, an angry world? Why are there so many mentally unbalanced people? Aren’t those the real questions?
If guns are the problem, I would not be opposed to changing the Second Amendment. I’ve said before I don’t think guns are our primary issue, and I’m not a gun fan. Still I also don’t think any part of our constitution is so sacred it should never, ever be changed. Before you get up in arms, I like our constitution. I currently don’t think it needs to change. But I am open to it changing it if we decide that’s best for our nation.
What really need to be open are our minds. I love seeing some of my friends make bold choices and changes as they are actively working through the issues. Some are giving up their guns. Some are learning how to shoot better and safer. Some are securing their guns like never before and making sure they are not easily accessed, especially by children. Others are learning self defense….and learning how to defend others. I admire them all. They’re leaving their comfort zone and growing. They are taking it seriously. I suspect they will come through it more balanced and stronger. Hopefully their experience will teach us all.
I am not currently advocating for changes in gun laws, because I currently feel the problem is bigger than guns. That could change tomorrow. I listen to people on all sides of the issues and I am willing to be changed.
There seem to be so many scared and unbalanced people in our world. They….sometimes you…..scare me. Not obsessively, but for moments in time. But I still believe there are more people who are balanced, who will come together and soothe an angry world. I often mention the quote “Anger is fear disguised.” Let’s work to find the source of fear and soothe some angry souls,
Young people,with your beautiful passion…I pray you don’t become discouraged by the naysayers, the cynical, and the closed minded. Find those adults who are wise…..you will know them by their balance. Listen to them and learn. Ask them hard question and find the inconsistencies in their thoughts. That is how you grow your minds.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t change the world…..and that your fear is unfounded. You’re headed in the right direction. I am proud of what we will do together. Because you’re not in this alone. There are adults who are working for change. And while your innocence has been damaged and you may be scared, we want you to be able to go back to being kids. Strong kids. Kids that are both seen and heard. And protected.