Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Safer America for Our Children..

These past few days have just been so sad. I didn't write a planned post because right now everything else  just seems so superficial. The school shooting in Newtown has shaken me to the core as a mother and an American. I realized that I had to speak out when I realized our country puts the right to own arms over the basic safety of my own children. This is my way of trying to help. Feel free to click off if you don't agree or care to read more. It's  just my hope to make my children safer in America..



 It's wrong to keep turning a blind eye to how much the gun lobby or NRA bully this country. I can hug my kids tighter, but the best thing we can do for our children is change the gun laws in this country. If we want to make a difference, each one of us has to do something toward that goal.

If you care as much as I do about making this change, then let's do it. You know what inspires me?


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.



 One problem in this country is people are too afraid to speak out and step on another's toes. Many I know, agree that guns are too available, but won't say it out loud. I know this to be true in my own town.  I learned it firsthand recently. Just this week in fact, a gun shop was set to open nearby two schools and a park and close to most of our homes. Myself and a few others wrote responses on our local online paper saying we objected to the location and also a gun shop so near our neighborhoods. This was about 4 days before Friday's tragedy, and we were piled on in the comment section by a ton of men, pro-gun NRA readers. So many folks objected to this shop, but very few had the guts to say so.


  I think the basic problem is we are all too cowed by the NRA to say we think that the second amendment is not a "right. " It was something that was written long ago. Our forefathers did not intend for each and every family to own deadly weapons. If  anything those homes with guns are less safe and a gun in it ends more often than not in tragedyA gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal, unintentional or suicide-related shooting than for self-defense shooting. People were horrified by the number of deaths in the September 11th attacks, but that same year a nearly equal number of children were killed in their own homes by private guns in our United States. The pro-gun shop people stated unequivocally how having guns made things safer. I disagree. I'd be okay with the NRA if they were just for safe and responsible ownership of hunting guns and the like. However, they have overturned so many laws designed to make our streets safer. They are extreme and believe any weapon is okay.


So what can we do?

-First of all, speak out and don't be afraid to express that the huge amount of guns in our country needs to be rectified. The more we talk, share and discuss our thoughts, the more others will listen and join the conversation.

-Let's stop thinking responsible gun ownership can make the proliferation of weapons in our world okay. I appreciate those who keep their guns locked and safe and it's good background checks are done. Yet, there is no way to vet the sanity of every person wanting to buy a gun. Yes, let's make it harder to buy, but let's make less guns in this country a goal. 

-Stop deluding ourselves that it's the mental health system that has failed. Look, everyone agrees the mentally ill should not have weapons, but what about autism and other disorders as this young man had? The last time I checked autism was a broad spectrum and not classified as, "insane." There are so many highly functioning people and children with this that there is no way to single at risk folks out.  As a matter of fact many who snap are not recognized as mentally impaired at all until after.

-Getting guns out of our homes is huge. We need to start weapon buy-back programs as Oakland just had. They are successful and they get people motivated to rid themselves of guns

-Gun culture needs to be de-glamorized. Guns should not be routinely accepted as a male accessory in nearly every action movie. Let's make guns the new cigarettes- something, low-brow, distasteful and shameful.. That might help. Remember those old smoking ads from the 70s? Public service announcements with gun horror stories.. What about giving tougher ratings to movies with extreme gun violence?.. The same goes for video games.

-Mothers, women and parents need to mobilize in their own neighborhoods and communities speaking out against guns and gun shows.  MADD, (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), was started by a mom and other women and is one of the most successful grassroots organizations ever. They are responsible for raising the nation wide drinking age to 21 in 1984, and much other impactful legislation. Can we start Mothers Against Guns?

-Those who use guns for hunting and sport should prove capability and need to keep a license updated just like a driver does... Personally, I'm opposed to hunting, but I'm trying to meet in the middle here..

- Assault weapons and guns that carry large rounds of ammunition should be banned outright. These are weapons of war and should be only used by the military.

- Ban the purchase of weapons online, where guns are only a click away.

-Join the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence by clicking here.  The NRA claims 4.3 million members, the Brady Campaign has 50,000. We need to help this foundation with donations, support and you can like it on Facebook here.

These are just a few things we can do in our own communities. Please share with me other ideas to remove guns in our country and keep our children safe. We owe them that. 

After the horrific shooting deaths of 16 children in Dunblane Scotland in 1996, the United Kingdom promptly passed a ban on all private ownership of handguns. Historic and hunting guns are all that is allowed now. They did it, we can too.

Thank you for breading. I know it's not my usual post.  I just had to try to do something in the name of the little children who had their lives taken from them on Friday.




 I'll never forget their names.



22 comments :

  1. I love reading your blog and admire your passion about limiting guns. What happened in CT is sickening. But I think we're kidding ourselves if we think there are any easy laws that really would prevent these things from happening. What about movies that glorify violence. Video games? And what about our mental health situation in this country. The UK hasn't had a great experience with crime since it effectively banned guns-crime has gone up; especially home invasions. This is sickening and we need to do something. But I just don't think there are easy answers.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading.. I agree there aren't any easy answers. Here though we are allowing less limits on guns than ever before and statistics are proving how bad it is... So many factors and sometimes it seems hopeless..We just need to start trying something else here. I admire the U.K. for at least having the common sense to pass laws to help..

      Kim

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    2. The UK has never really had a gun problem per se, it is still very odd to hear of a shooting here, there was never an equivalent here as guns were not something many people ever thought to own unless they lived in the country.
      And burglary cannot be equated with gun crime.
      Dunblane, a similar tragedy was horrific and consequently our laws over gun ownership were tightened, I hope this starts a meaningful dialogue in the US.

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    4. Sorry I should said that their is no corrrelation between gun restriction/burglary rates rising in the UK.
      Last year in Britain we had 14 deaths from gun crime, the US had 13,000. We have never had a gun culture like America.

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    5. That is just an amazing the statistic. I know we can do better here. It's unacceptable..

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  2. I've read your blog for a while now, but never commented. I have to today, however, to say I agree with you completely. The NRA has far too much sway, and their influence on politicians is sickening. There is no reason at all why private citizens should have access to what are basically weapons of mass destruction. The 2nd amendment has been twisted and taken out of context to justify things the Founding Fathers would no doubt be appalled to see.

    I'm so tired of hearing "now is not the time to politicize things" every time one of these horrors occurs. If not now, when? If the faces of those sweet babies who lost their lives can't motivate this country to change, what can? I'm with you -- it's time for those who disagree with the NRA and its followers to stop being intimidated and afraid to say what we think. It will be a long and difficult struggle to change things, however. I hate to think that as a nation we value human life -- even that of tiny children -- less than we value the so-called freedom of being able to own powerful guns whose only true purpose is death and destruction on a large scale. So far it seems that's the case, though, and it's deeply depressing.

    Thanks for being brave enough to share your views here.

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    1. Thanks MC for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts. It is depressing. We are better than this, but we need to act. If everyone who is as upset as we are does something we can change.

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    2. Thanks MC for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts. It is depressing. We are better than this, but we need to act. If everyone who is as upset as we are does something we can change.

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  3. Great post, Kim. I so understand how you feel.

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  4. I agree about the US needing gun control. In Canada, it's just the way it is here. It got a ton of flack when it was first introduced back in the 1990s and some people still harber ill feelings about it, but for the most part, it has been successful. Hubs goes to the US quite often for work, he has mentioned that he cannot believe how easy it is to go to a gun store in the US and buy a gun or buy ammo. He was shocked.

    I know I may get some flack for this, but I think the drugs and anti-depressants prescribed for adults and children are a huge problem too. These drugs have warning labels on them that there is risk of suicidal symptoms and a whole slew of other symptoms/reactions ....yet the drugs are still readily prescribed because a) that seems to be the only way to treat or subdue disorders, diagnosis, etc after many other options are exhausted, and b) it makes a ton of money for drug companies.

    I think there's also issues with children being bullied or labelled with a mental illness, being neglected, zoning out on violent video games...thinking they have no part of society....all of that builds and builds ...

    Scary SCARY stuff. I hope there will be good resolutions soon because these issues cannot be swept under the rug any longer. Not when precious, innocent lives were taken and so many at once.

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    1. LR,
      I agree with all you said. Especially it's true about the anti-depressants. I do think they are over-perscribed. I actually have a close friend whose husband tok his own life with their gun after he was put on anti-depressants. Very scary and sad.

      I wish we would look more to Canada to see how they have dealt with guns. There are clearly people who hunt up there, but you seem to have good policies and control.

      Our country is messed up because we let the NRA dictate our policies too long and Americans were too afraid to speak out. Also hunters and people who use guns for sport were deluded into thinking the NRA was for them, so not true. The NRA is actually protecting criminals more than the average hunter.

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  5. Wow Kim, this is a great discussion - and that is always the first step to education and change.

    I grew up with hunting riffles, and love skeet shooting, though I have not done so for many years. My brother added handguns for target shooting when he became of age (18?) I shot them one time. (too "explosive" for me)

    There is absolutely no need for any person (other than law enforcement and military) to have access to ammunition clips that hold more than 10 rounds for any style of gun, military ammunition or riffles (as used in Newtown).

    Handguns for personal protection and riffles for hunting are not for everyone, but they should not be banned. On line and gun show sales should have to follow the same background check procedures as gun stores. Background checks should include that the purchaser has passed a professional gun handling class - just like the procedure we have in California for a new car drivers permit and license.

    Mental illness is a separate issue, NOT a less important issue. It is clear that minimally, we need to educate and encourage families (friends and associates) to seek professional intervention at early stages of behavior and mood changes of persons at any age. Not unlike how we are asked to observe other passengers (and alert the flight staff to our concerns) when we are traveling on airplanes.



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    1. Linda, So much we need to re-examine in our country. I think the mental illness thing is also something we can all help with and I like your ideas. Keeping guns out of the hands of anyone who is ill isn't easy. Less availability will certainly help I think..

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  6. I just happened upon your blog. The high count ammunition clips and assault weapons are different than having your own rifles, shotguns or handguns. I have a husband and son that love to hunt.

    There are other issues - such as requiring gun safety classes and banning automatic weapons/high count ammo clips that can be pursued - instead of outright ban of owning your own firearm.

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    1. I appreciate your comments.

      I think if your family hunts and uses a rifle for that I would be okay with that. Why you would need handguns for hunting, I don't know. I just think we all need to look at all the many weapons this country has and are they are needed? For sport fine,...Would everyone be willing to keep just what they have for sport? Otherwise, we need less guns period. More guns just give more opportunity for violence. Guns are made to kill. Is it really a need in so many homes?

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  7. I applaud your research and efforts - some of these groups I'd never heard or thought of before and it's a good start for people who care, and to educate those that may be ambivalent. I don't see the sense of assault weapons being available for the public - however, there will always be eager sellers and purchasers in my opinion. Until we can change our biology to a less aggressive species I'm afraid reducing violence in society will be a continuous crusade for generations to come.

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  8. You give me heart. I am not American and I can't understand: why a suburban Mum needs to stockpile assault weapons; why the NRA (No Rational Argument as some have deemed it) holds such sway over ordinary people even rating politicians according to their views on gun control; why the reaction of ordinary American bloggers, whom I have come to like, is along the lines of "speechless" "saying prayers"; why the "brave" and the "free" are scared to put counter views to the NRA; and why the NRA arguments about guns not killing people etc have not been refuted loudly and passionately.

    Guns kill many people. And the NRA response that school principals should be armed or that armed guards should be employed in schools simply beggars belief. Is the USA a war zone? because from the outside it sounds like it.

    I want to applaud your stand. I loved the quote from Margaret Mead and I believe it to be true. I am truly sorry for this dreadful crime and I will look at all those names and pray that this can never happen again.

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  9. Read your comment on Seleta s blog after leaving a comment of my own. I applaud your bravery on voicing your opinions about the US gun laws. Yours was the ONLY comment on all the US blogs that I read mentioning the gun problem. I even find it uncomfortable that the police in the US carry guns. My brother, who lives in New York told me about a murder near his apartment where the police chased the murderer shot him dead and managed to injure 9 members of the public in the process! In the UK, if an armed policeman is used , every bullet has to be accounted for . I suppose it's down to what you are used to and what you eventually find acceptable.
    Zoe

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  10. Zoe,
    It's so funny you commented. I was reading all the responses on Seleta's blog, and your was the only one that made any note of the need to change the gun laws here. It seems people from the U.K. just get it and here sadly I find people more willing to pray than actually do something about the problem. It's simple really, less guns and do away with assault weapons. That has worked so well in other countries. Why can't we look to other nations?

    Do you have a blog Zoe? Love to follow it..Is it," From the Other Side of the Pond," or is that one you follow?

    Thanks again so much and Happy New Year.

    Kim

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  11. Hi Kim, no I don t have a blog. I spend so much time reading blogs I wouldn t have time to write one !

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