When I Grow Up

Searching for a Solution

I left my activism behind when I embraced motherhood. I didn’t stop believing in the causes, I just realized that I did not have the emotional energy necessary to devote to those causes and still manage to guide my children into personhood. Over time, I went back to the omnivorous ways of the household I was brought up in and blended into suburbia. I found new passions and causes and made a difference in my own small way.

I believe I made the right choice for the betterment of society. I have four children who are quick to defend others and have little to no tolerance for those who choose to mistreat anyone or anything. They give me cause to be optimistic about the future.

I am a fairly easygoing person. I will not only tolerate your views if they differ from mine, but will also defend your right to have them. I’ll admit, part of this is an aversion to conflict, but I truly believe that we are all entitled to come to our own conclusions.

However, there is a point where I say enough. Regarding guns in this country, I have reached the point where I can no longer sit back and keep my mouth shut. Three school shootings in 8 days. The media reports are on how one community does not welcome the president and his “anti-gun agenda.” Articles, blog posts and their comments reveal strong opinions on the gun issue. I read a blog this morning about how the Liberals are eager to create victims; that they thrive on it. How everyone should be armed, how women should not dress provocatively, especially in situations where drunk men are present. Over the past week, I have read many posts and comments saying that gun free zones are dangerous. That guns should be allowed on college campuses and in schools. Really? I think things have gotten way out of hand.

We have learned much about the human brain in recent decades. Science tells us that it is still developing, well into one’s 20s. The ages of 18-25 are full of impulsivity. Now let’s add society’s expectation that this age group is “supposed to” explore new ideas, try new things, expand horizons. Then we throw alcohol into the mix. At 18, legally, alcohol shouldn’t be a factor, but realistically, we all know it often is. Yes, the law says that once you are 18, you are an adult and have most of the rights and responsibilities that go along with it. But, how many 18 year olds are really considered adults?

Are we really treating them as adults? We live in a society where some parents face legal action for allowing their elementary-aged children to walk to a park unattended, while others pay monthly fees to pinpoint precisely where their college-aged children are at any given moment. Perhaps some of the blame lies squarely on society. The messages aren’t clear. The expectations are fuzzy.

So, teachers should have guns in class. I guess that would protect them from the student with a gun who is unhappy about a grade, or help to break things up when a few students pull out guns in a class debate. How about the teacher who appears a little too interested in a student? Does the student dare to report advances (perceived or real), or lie in wait with a gun at the end of the day?

Women should learn to protect themselves. Would carrying a gun around campus cut down on incidents of sexual assault? Would it stop aggressive behavior? Exactly where would a woman carry a gun while wearing a formal gown? (I suppose a small handgun could be worn under a cocktail dress. In a garter. While dancing. Or it could be carried in her hand, like a cellphone.) Statistics show that alcohol is involved in a significant number of sexual assaults. Does anyone think that guns and alcohol go together?

I really don’t think the gun lobby has fully thought things out. Having no rules just won’t work. Everyone carrying guns, while lucrative for the gun manufacturers, doesn’t seem practical. (Locking your gun in a safe, separate from ammunition, removes the possibility of using it for protection.) Banning guns is not the answer either. We need to look at the problem differently and attack it from several angles. Those at the extreme ends are the ones making the most noise and therefore are the ones being heard. It is time to sit down and find a solution. Time for common sense. Time for all of us to try to see how we have added to the problem — society’s problem. How and why has it gotten to the point where shooting each other is just “something that happens?” Our village is broken. What is it going to take before something gets done?

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