Thursday, October 29, 2015

An Invitation

I have to start with an apology.  Yes, I am one of the ones who have wanted to take your guns away.  Guns scare me.  In my childhood hometown, we experienced several deaths due to guns.  The little girl in me has remained scared and just wanted them to go away.  When I had children my fear became insurmountable.  To figure out a way to live with it and to keep my children safe, Jack and I decided on a simple question.  Every time my kids were invited over to play with someone else, we asked, "Do you have guns in your house?"  People were always unbelievably nice in their responses.  Often we heard, "I have never thought to ask that question, but it is important to me as well."  

We only encountered one family who answered yes to our question.  They offered to show us the guns and ammunition and where they were stored, and all the safety measures that they had in place so that their son would also be safe.  We let Stephen play at their house because they took our concern seriously and respected our wishes.  

This question helped me to not parent out of fear, but out of safety.  Then Columbine happened.  I was paralyzed by a fear that I had not even considered, someone else could enter my kids' schools and shoot them.  I was too overwhelmed with raising my children and adjusting to being a full time preacher's wife so I put on my blinders and hoped for the best.  Then Sandy Hook happened.  This shooting hit a nerve since I was an elementary school teacher.   I thought surely now our country will do something about this issue.  But, no, nothing was done and I decided it was over.  Our country would be overrun with guns and people who had no business owning them.  I gave up.

Through all of this, I thought the solution was getting rid of all guns.  I know people hunted, and there should be that consideration, but it was too much to comprehend, so the easiest answer seemed to be to get rid of them all.

After watching a congress that will not budge, will not compromise, and thus get no where, it finally hit me.  I must do as I say.

So I joined a group, Moms Demand Action, which is about gun safety, not the abolition of guns.  I am ready to come to the table and listen.  I want to know your thoughts.  How can we make guns that will not go off when dropped?  How can we make guns that cannot be shot except by the owner?  How can we make them safe yet easily accessible in the instance of a home invasion?  How do we keep children from getting their hands on guns?  Do we need to have a gun that has the ability to shoot 800 bullets a minute in the private sector?  (evidently the AR-15 is able to do this)  Do we need to open carry a pistol in the grocery store, spa, knitting store, or the mall? What other questions are there that I, as a pacifist, don't even know to ask?

So, I have my cup of coffee.  I hope you will grab one as well and pull up to the table for a genuine exchange of ideas.  If not, I understand.  We are all at different places in our lives. You may still feel discouraged and hopeless.  You may be scared that you will lose your protection.  I don't know.  So I will begin by being silent and opening my heart to hear yours.

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