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Too Early to Talk About Gun Control?

In the face of a powerful gun lobby, too many of us are silenced, including the voices of children themselves.

I respect the opinion of those who think it’s too early to talk about gun control, but tell that to my ten-year-old. He brought it up. When I asked if he had questions about the tragedy in Sandy Hook, he only had two:  Who did this, and why did he have guns?  “Only people in the army should have guns,” he explained. I calmly shared what I knew about the shooting and what little we know about Adam Lanza. I told him that there would be a lot of discussion about who should have guns and what kind of guns, and that not everyone agreed on the issue. “Yeah, like hunters,” he concurred.  And there’s also the Constitution, I added, to which he responded, “I know, the right to bear arms.” He knew. At which point, I confess, I stated my own political views that such a right was outdated and counter-productive, that while it is indeed people who pull triggers, removing the triggers (guns) themselves would ensure that unstable people could not take innocent lives. “Obviously,” he said. Obviously.

I’m not usually outspoken about my politics, maybe because I work at a University where I earnestly uphold freedom of speech and value a diversity of viewpoints, even when they conflict with my own. I’ve lived in places where there is an active “gun culture,” mainly hunting-related, and understand that good, compassionate people keep guns and respect the power of their weapons. But the gun lobby has served less to uphold the rights of all citizens and more to drown out or intimidate those who believe that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness depends upon gun control and stricter regulations that only begins with an assault weapons ban. I’m not saying anything new, and I have grumbled in my own home every time there has been a senseless gun-related tragedy. Yes, our proximity and kinship with Sandy Hook brought this home, and my ten-year-old’s small voice deserves to be heard. Too early to talk about gun control? Isn't it too late?

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wantfrieswiththat December 21, 2012 at 01:37 AM
are you for banning violent video games or restricted access to them?
wyatt December 21, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Jill: If you post your opinion in public, people are going to agree or disagree with you. If you think that people who don't agree with you, then list their reasons why in a civil manner, are talking to you like a fool or comparing you to Hitler, then I suggest you avoid public discussions. Do you have any knowledge of guns? It seems if you want to advocate the "control" of something, you should have a good working knowledge of their uses, history and types. Don't you agree?
Jill Deans December 21, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I apologize, Wyatt. I posted that last response because the conversation was sounding uncivil to me, but that's a subjective call. You do know more about guns than I do (although you might be surprised!). Maybe what I or my child says doesn't matter in the end. Maybe I should not have posted our thoughts. I have had various freedoms restricted my whole life, as a woman -- a whole other conversation -- I agree that it's naive for me to float in and suggest that people voluntarily restrict theirs and lay down their arms for the sake our children. It IS much more complicated than that. I also have too much going on in my life as a caretaker for two generations and a full time professional to fully engage in this conversation. I did not think through the demands of this horrible week. Again, I apologize. My mistake, and I mean that sincerely. I'm glad though that my post allowed folks to respond -- it was intended simply as "voice" from the community.
Ed Froem December 26, 2012 at 08:05 PM
According to FBI statistics, gun ownership is at an all time high and has been increasing every year since 1998. At the same time violent crime is at an all time low and has been consistently decreasing since 1992. If gun control advocates were to be believed, there should be a concomitant increase in violent crime paralleling the increase in gun ownership, yet the opposite is true.
Ed Froem December 26, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Wantfrieswiththat, actually the lockdown drills in most schools instruct teachers to keep the children in the classroom with them, not run away.

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