Monday, July 21, 2014
Alarmed and Saddened
The wise words of wisdom you see in the photo above came from a 10 year old boy. This was posted on Facebook by The Huff Post a couple of days ago. I clicked on the link thinking it might be a cute and amusing tidbit. As I read through his list of advice to his teacher who was getting married, I was fine until I got to the last piece of advice. It actually disturbed me to the point I felt compelled to comment.
My comment was as follows: I find it alarming that a 10 year old suggests carrying a hand gun. Alarming and sad. It was a simple statement of how reading it had made me feel. If a 10 year old thinks the solution to living in a dodgy neighbourhood is to arm yourself with a hand gun, how sad is that? How old was he when he came to this conclusion? Who taught him this was a good idea? Do his parents own handguns? Has he seen one? Has he used one? Is he just chomping at the bit until the day he gets to own one, as eager as I was to get my driver's license the day I turned 16? Is this the new norm for American children? Are handguns added to their Santa wish list each Christmas?
So far, (as of about 20 minutes ago), 35 people have checked "like" on my comment. However, as encouraging as that seems, there were several who have commented that they see nothing wrong with carrying a hand gun and why shouldn't they be able to, and if you know how to use one there is nothing wrong with it....etc. etc. I am stunned by these responses. There seems to be no understanding whatsoever among these pro-gun carrying folks as to the point I was trying to make. They immediately get their feathers all ruffled about their "rights" to bear arms and their "freedom" to hunt for food and protect themselves. Do they not hear what they are saying? Clearly they did not hear what I said.
For starters, no one is debating your "rights". My comment is very straightforward. It is a statement of how I felt. And still do feel. Will always feel. If a child by the age of 10 is already hard-wired to believe that the way to confront violence is with more violence, then how will we ever walk the path to peaceful resolutions as a society? It has to start at home. We need to be teaching our children how to resolve conflict with conversation and reason.
As far as I know, hand guns are not used for hunting. So, if hand guns were only issued to law-enforcement, there would not be any need to "protect" yourself from other citizens carrying hand guns. I realize this Utopian scenario of the banishment of hand guns is just that - an idealistic dream world that will likely never exist, however, can we at least begin to work toward changing the attitudes of our children and our communities? Walking down the street with a gun in your pocket is not the answer kidlets.
It may be too late for young Ethan, but people can change.