Friday, June 24, 2016

Is This What We Want for Children at School?

Update: from the NY Times, asking parents of your child's playmates about guns in their home.

From a mom in Michigan (via Facebook, bold mine):
I took this picture because initially I thought it was funny. I was going to send it to my husband to show what our mischievous little three-year-old was up to. However, The moment she told me what she was doing I broke down. She was practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom. At that moment all innocence of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone.

Politicians - take a look. This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grand children and future generations to come. They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door?

No one thinks gun control will be 100% crime control. But maybe, just maybe, it helps 1% or 2% or 50%? Who knows unless we try? Why on earth are there not universal background checks? Where is a universal registration database? Why are high capacity magazines ever permitted to be sold to anyone other than direct to the military? Is that really necessary to protect yourself or hunt for that matter? What about smart guns, where are they? C’mon techies! 
The 2nd Amendment is a beast to battle and wiping out the right to bear arms is not on the table. Does anyone really think that will be accomplished? Because it won’t. Amended to some extent? Maybe. But how many decades will that take? Where’s the evolution of our so called “living document” for this subject matter? A document that originally allowed slavery and prevented women from voting? NRA, are you even trying? Let’s talk mental health. Where is the $500 million that the Obama administration put into the budget for approval…did it go through? Is it being implemented or just sitting there? Where is the access to care for those struggling with mental illness? Politicians, I ask you...how can I help?

Banning together, signing petitions, rallying to get your voice heard is good, but is it actually doing anything or just making us feel better about the current situation? We need action. I applaud politicians like Senator Chris Murphy but so many of our elected politicians can’t manage to work together (maybe they shouldn’t be paid for a job they can't do…just saying) or since they are in bed with all the wrong people, it is up to us if we want change. I want to know what new smart technology is being built for safer guns, advanced security in public places, databases, traveling care for the mentally ill…anything! Entrepreneurs, innovators, are you there? Can I help? Can I help you make a difference? I want to offer support. I cannot give you techie advice, expertise in healthcare, or financial backing, BUT maybe I can point you in the right direction? Maybe I know someone who knows someone who can help? Incubators, investors…if this issue concerns you, do what you do best and help make change. Can I help? Hold funding competitions, provide think tanks for these very things. Hollywood, the PSA’s are good, but not good enough. Eventually they disappear and are forgotten.

I am not pretending to have all the answers or even a shred of them, but unless you want your children standing on top of a toilet, we need to do something! Please share. #dosomething #prayfororlando #wecandobetter Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America


seattle citizen said...

Thank you for this, Melissa.
Yes, something MUST be done.

Anonymous said...

It's time to look at other causes of gun violence and stop focusing on guns.

People need to realize suicide by gun is the most common form of death by firearm and it only takes one bullet. To stop the most common form of death by firearm requires us to address the reasons behind suicide. There are several studies linking suicide with school bulling, academic failures or teenage drug addiction. That might be the place to start.

Limiting the capacity of magazines unfortunately would not have saved anyone in New town or Orlando. When a shooter faces ZERO resistance they could be using a single shot rifle and still kill as many people as bullets.

When police sit outside the building for 3 hours in fear of being killed by a bomb there's not much hope. You would think after seeing the results of a person being shot someones morality might override the hatred and they would stop, but it never seems to happen that way.

Like it or not, the only thing that stops a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Realist, in my opinion, you are wrong.

First, in Orlando, the security guard had a gun and engaged with that idiot. So did police. Trained people who couldn't take him down. You think in a dark club with people running everywhere, one person could take a clear shot at a shooter?

I don't need studies on suicide. That's a completely different issue and you introducing it is a - look, squirrel! - tactic.

What we CAN do:

- if you are on the terrorist no-fly list, no guns for you.
- no more rapid-fire guns, period. Those are war guns, not hunting or self-protection guns.

Anonymous said...

Realist I do not agree at all. Limiting guns with rapid fire capabilities would be a great first step. When these people have to reload, it gives others at least some chance to disarm them. This stopped the shooter down the hill from me at SPU. Only one person was killed instead of dozens. Still a tragedy, but less horrible than it could have been.

There was a good person with a gun at Orlando. A security guard could not stop the shooter. Also at Columbine.

A single shot rifle will never kill as many people as a shooter with unlimited bullets and no need to reload. We need to stop this insanity of unlimited firepower.

Suicide is always tragic but too many people are also taking other people’s lives. Gun control is needed.

S parent

John Madrid said...

While it may be difficult to have any impact on the broader gun-control issue we as SPS staff and parents can have an impact on the safety and security of our individual schools. Take it with a huge grain of salt when SPS and your schools administration tells your school is safe and secure. In many cases they are confusing "lucky" with security. Many older elementary schools have unsecured access to the school and often no way of knowing who is on school grounds. Teachers often don't have the ability to lock their classroom doors from the inside in the event of a lockdown or active shooter situation. Where are your kids going to be evacuated to if they need to vacate the school and when was the last time your classroom and all school emergency supplies were updated? It's easy to get bummed by the current gun control debate but there are things you can do at a local level to really have an impact in a worst-case situation.

Jan said...

Realist: you are correct in pointing out the tragedy of suicide by gun -- and I agree with you that steps should be taken -- serious steps -- to reduce the scourge of suicidal deaths by gun (as well as by hanging, etc.).

But (yes -- there IS a but -- ) that does not in any way take away from the need to address homicidal deaths by guns -- any more than the need to address death by cancer would diminish the need to address the problem of death by stroke or heart disease. We can -- and must -- have the ability to work on more than one crisis at a time.

As for "the only thing that stops a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun" -- the problem is the assumption in the subject of the sentence. If you rethink and reword it -- two things can stop a bad person from killing others with a gun: (1) He/she never gets his/her hands on one, and (2) IF (and only if) that fails -- he/she is stopped by some other means (a "good person with a gun" being one, albeit a dangerous one if they are not trained to avoid collateral damage. Because reality is always more nuanced than slogans, it should also be pointed out that a bad person with a gun who has to reload after 1, 6, or 10 bullets is highly likely to be less lethal (and easier for your good person to deal with) than a bad person who can shoot 30, 60, or 100 bullets without pausing or taking their finger off the trigger.

Many many people who own guns and enjoy shooting sports support sensible gun regulation. There are still guns (and shooting) in Australia. There just aren't any more mass killings of the kind that the US now seems to excel in.