Annie, Drop Your Gun

The other day, while walking the dogs, a little boy extended his hand out a window.

"BANG BANG BANG!" he said. "You're all dead."

I was walking the dogs, Fable in her stroller, Archer on his scooter. I turned to him and then looked away. Pretended not to hear him, let it bother me. We kept walking.

Archer didn't respond and I got to wondering how he would have had he known and understood what the little boy was doing. Had he known and understood what a gun was, how it was meant to be used.

Violence in any form churns my stomach. Always has. I turn away from violence in movies, forbid my children to watch movies where characters "good" OR "bad" kill one another. (That's why I like CARS. The only "bad" guys in CARS are the character's egos. No one dies or tries to kill anyone. The conflict is on the interior. Much more kid-friendly.) But I digress. I've been thinking quite a bit lately about weapons and violence, specifically the way violence is depicted on television - comic book superheroes saving the world by killing "bad guys"... "bad guys" that lurk in shadows and under beds and behind the mirror glass.

Many of Archer's friends at school carry X-Men lunchboxes, wear Spiderman shoes, Batman T-shirts. Archer doesn't know who Spiderman is. Or Superman. Or Wolverine. Or any comic book superheroes. The only television he sees is peaceful. I turn the television off when there's a preview for a show that involves violence of any kind.

Recently I've been wondering if this constitutes as sheltering.

Oh my God, am I sheltering him?

Am I?

I've written at length about empowerment, about truth and telling it with eyes open, the heart exposed. I believe that fear comes from our inability to see, to trust and understand, educate and yet when it comes to guns, to violence, I can't do it. I can't talk about guns or weapons without feeling sick and sad, even fearful.




So goes my paradox: I'm afraid that by educating my child I will scare him. I will scare myself.

We live in one of the largest cities in the world. Where drive-bys occur blocks from us. Where break-ins happen regularly. Where our own things have been stolen, our cars broken into, our things swiped from our porch. Three years ago, a man carjacked my husband at gun-point, stole his car and left him on the side of the road. He had just left the set of his job for his lunch break. There were dozens of witnesses. Everyone watched in shock.

Many pro-gun advocates argue that carrying a weapon can ensure ones safety. I disagree. Had my husband been armed with a weapon and used it to defend himself someone could have easily been killed. Instead? Hal lost his car for two days until the cops recovered it in South Central where they arrested and jailed the criminal.

Using gun as defense seldom works to defend. Guns used as offensive weapons? Different story.

I lost three friends in gun-related accidents in High School and since graduation. Two were accidental. One was suicide. I grew up in upper middle class suburbia where everyone lived gated existences. There was NO REASON for them to have handguns in the house. None. If gun control existed, I would have three friends alive. PERIOD.

Do I carry a gun in my house? Never. Do I believe in the right to bear arms? Yes. But I believe there should be stricter regulations. I believe that fear is the worst possible reason to carry a weapon and therefor will never understand why so many feel the need to "protect their families," especially when housed in gated communities in middle-class suburbs, alarms activated.

What are you afraid of? 

Guns are far more likely to kill innocent people than criminals when kept inside the home. Period.

That being said, am I being naive to think I can shelter my son from fear by keeping violence away from his eyes? Perhaps. Is it important to teach gun safety to people of all ages? Yes. Will I be teaching my child how to properly use a weapon? No. Because I don't believe he should know how to kill.

To keep a handgun in one's house insinuates, in my opinion, a certain amount of fear, which is why guns are so scary.

There will never be a happily ever after story involving guns because guns were invented with the sole intent to take life.

For me, it all comes down to fear and teaching our children to resist it as much as they possibly can. I will be educating my children to live peaceful lives. To love and respect and stand up for themselves in ways that are empowering.

And in my household? Guns will not be factoring into that equation.


GGC

105 comments:

Elena | 1:05 AM

I TOTALLY agree. violence is for the weak. period. If my son ever hits anyone I will consider my parenting job a failure.
You know what, in my country, none has a gun. Just hunters (which is a hobby I dislike - I don t think killing animals should be legal). we have crime but we don t have this fear propaganda. i am sorry if this is offending for some, but most people in Europe think that fear is just very 'commercial' in America.
Elena

jessica patricia | 1:42 AM

I am similar to Elena - also from a country (NewZealand) where guns are mostly owned by farmers and hunters (I imagine most of these fit into both categories). I cannot imagine ever having to make a decision about teaching my children to use a gun or not. So I admire you for trying to protect Archer - four is still so little, why not protect him from the anger and violence in the world while you can?

I dont think you are sheltering him, you certainly dont come across as a parent of cotton wool kids!

bekah | 1:58 AM

there is nothing wrong with keeping archer a child. He deserves a childhood, it breaks my heart that there are children who are denied the innocence of childhood because of the violence of adults.

I grew up on a farm, where there was a legitimate need to have guns. As far as I knew until I was older, guns were only for animals. I dont feel like i missed out on anything because I was sheltered, actually, I am incredibly grateful to my parents that I got to have that innocent time.

I do think there is a legitimate need for firearms...for SOME people. For example, we used guns on the farm...but is there a need for us to have a gun in our home now? No. We dont have livestock to defend, we dont have wild animals roaming our suburban street. And as far as Im concerned..there is no other reason to have a gun.

The right to bear arms is a right, but not a necessity. Why would anyone need a handgun? They arent using it for hunting, and they arent likely to use it for defense..its frivolous and dangerous.

Krystal | 2:32 AM

I agree with you 100% Rebecca!

I had two friend shot point blank in the head while they were camping. They weren't bothering anyone. With tougher regulations, they may be alive?

My father in works for the Maricopa County Sheriffs Department. He says the people who follow the rules aren't the ones out killing people. It's when the gun falls into the hands of people who shouldn't have them in the first place, is when people start getting killed.

I don't think you're sheltering them, when it keeps them safe? It's not like you don't let them out of the house or anything. But kids are only young once, why show them violence when you can show them love!?

Little Miss Moi | 3:11 AM

Dear rebecca. In Australia in 1996, I think, some madman murdered 30+ people on a rampage in a tourist spot. After that, Australia pretty much banned guns (not that we ever had such liberal laws as the US). The goverment did a huge buy-back scheme and now, few people have guns. And I am very happy about that.

I spent the past 2.5 years living in Ukraine, where people seem to place little value on life. Not long after I arrived, I was told that it only costs 500 Hryvnyas ($100) to hire a hitman to kill someone. I was told that it's up to you to defend yourself because the police don't do anything. Everytime my husband went away on his biz trips, I was scared out of my brain. I loved living there, but I also lived constantly on edge, especially after someone was shot right outside my apartment.

A couple of years back, readers of a friend's blog argued about guns. There were some American crazies who said that they have about 20 guns in their house (and three kids, and they live in suburbia, not even on a farm or anything!) And they had the gall to tell me and my blogger friend (he's also Aussie) that the rate of murder by guns in Australia is higher than in the US, and that Australia is far less safe than the US, and that she'd never travel outside the US because it's so unsafe.

Seriously, WTF? Why does anyone need a gun when you have a functioning police force, and a highly effective judicial system, and prison?

Sorry, yet another ramble from me but thinking about people taking the law into their own hands under the guise of self defense makes me want to vomit.

Little Miss Moi | 3:20 AM

Oh and as to your comment as to whether your husband would be alive if he'd defended himself with a gun. Perhaps not. But, if he was a gun owner, he may also be in a position where he would have to live with the fact that he may have killed someone.

Personally, even if it was 'self defense', I couldn't live with myself if i'd taken someone else's life. No matter what.

Emily | 3:41 AM

I find the whole phenomena of gun culture in America incredibly strange. It seems crazy to me that people can just so freely own guns and that it could ever be considered commonplace to keep a gun in your home. I agree with the person above that trying to live with yourself after taking someones life would be so hard, I think Dana simplifies it too much in her argument of it just being self defence, at which point of being in danger does it become okay to shoot someone else? How is that decision ever made? Like in Hal's situation he walked away from it, got his car back in a couple of days, if he had shot someone then he would have to live with that decision and in the end it worked out okay without shooting anyone so how would the decision be made that shooting someone was the only way out of the situation? I agree with Maggie too that if you are responsibly keeping a gun in your home away from your kids then how would you be able to quickly and easily reach it in a dangerous situation? It just doesn't make sense. There is no world in which I would ever relate feminism and having a gun either.

Nicola Proctor | 4:26 AM

Well said, Rebecca... like you I just couldn't scrape my jaw off the floor while I was watching Momversation this week.

What I can't quite wrap my brain around is the whole 'right to bear arms' thing. I was brought up in Canada and I've lived in the UK now for the last ten years, and I would love it if someone explained to me: what is everyone so afraid of over there?

You know, every once in a while I'll switch from the BBC over to Fox News or CNN to see what's going on. And I'm absolutely astounded that American citizens continue to be shocked and horrified when some mad gunman opens fire in a school, or when a young child shoots his baby sister at point-blank range, etc. Every single tear that is cried over the loss of these innocents is tainted by the horrible fact that it just wouldn't have happened if you weren't clinging to this centuries old 'right', which from where I'm sitting was relevant back in the day when the pioneers were living in wild west settlements and had to fend off grizzly bears, but has no place in modern times. It's so, so heartbreaking.

Maybe I'm missing something as an 'outsider' but it strikes me that if you feel there is a problem and you want to stop gun crime -- get rid of guns. Period.

Lia | 4:29 AM

I fully agree with you. I don't think guns have ever done anything good and lets face it allowing everyone to have a gun just means there will be more gun violence.
My dad used to have rifles for hunting at home but he was always very responsible about it he has a locked gun safe in a locked room and I was never allowed near it.

And like you said and others said before me, feminism has nothing to do with guns.

On another subject. If you are looking for great movies for kids without violence you should look into the Miyazaki movies "My neighbor Totoro" and "Kiki's delivery service" they are beautiful animated movies with strong female leads great male role models and no violence. My son and I love all of the Miyazaki movies but some of them deal with wars and violence. But the great part about his films is that there is no such thing as "good" people and "bad" people. The characters are complex and there is always a reason for them acting the way they are.

Tiana Barbaza-Cousineau | 4:34 AM

I live in Canada, in Toronto, and it seems like every day there's a news report of another kid around my age being shot. I'm 15, almost 16.
I've never lost a friend to a shooting, but I know a lot of people who have died from a gun and a friend of mine was stabbed.

If we make a world for ourselves where we need guns to defend against people with guns, what kind of world is it?

I learned to shoot a gun when I was eleven. Not by my parents' wishes, but by my younger neighbour at my cottage. We spent the afternoon shooting holes in a bag of flour out back. It sickens me when I hear gunshots now. Because one of my friends ran into the shooting range to get something right when the other friend shot the gun... thank god he missed.

My parents did what you are doing to Archer, they kept violence out of my life for as long as possible. The first time I hit someone, I was about 4 and they hit me first with a block. I got scolded and it was a long time after that until I hit someone again.
I do not feel I'm sheltered by what my parents did for me. I feel empowered because I have the knowledge that guns aren't needed for every day life and they kill. They're responsible for death, just as the gun owners and handlers are responsible as well.


I remember going to Mexico with the Girl Guides and as we were driving down a busy road, we saw so many cars with men on the back carrying guns. Large guns. Machine guns. I never wanted to see that sight again and I hope I never have to.

And to the people that think guns in the house keep them safe: my mom knew a family who had a gun in the house and one day while the kids were playing inside, the four year old girl found the gun and accidentally shot herself in the head.
Accidents happen. But there are ways to prevent them. If you absolutely HAVE to have a gun, don't keep it loaded. Keep it locked up, in a safe place. Don't display it like it's a trophy. Because it's not.


I think sometimes I get too worked up about this, but when I see my little brother 'shooting' people with a stick, I wonder what the world's come to. My world, at least.

corrin | 4:48 AM

My husband and I disagree on this topic. He's was in the military and is now a paramedic - he's dealt with and seen guns every day for the past 10 years. I grew up in a house where I never saw a gun and no one ever really spoke of them.

There are guns in my house, but the compromise is that there are no bullets. Guns are to be used by my husband at the shooting range and that is all.

Cate Subrosa | 5:25 AM

I'm with you. But then, I'm British, I've never even seen a gun. But that's the way I like it, and the way it should be, I think.

Katy | 5:33 AM

There is no better deterrent to a home invasion than a dog. Any law enforcement officer will tell you that.


In theory, a gun may seem like a logical choice, but you add fatigue (if you are being broken into in the middle of the night), confusion and fear to handling that gun, and you have a catastrophe on your hands. Not to mention that merely purchasing a gun is not enough, you need to be a trained marksman, YOU are the hunted.

Not a fan of guns. I understand people's rights to own one and I will support it, no matter how misdirected I feel they are.

Robb Allen | 5:42 AM

Wow. I feel sorry for your child when the first bully he meets realizes he's an easy target. I feel sorry for anyone who feels that keeping their heads in the sand is the best defense.

I have two wonderful little girls and enough guns in the house to give you a case of the vapors worth a trip to the ER. My oldest has already started with the air gun in the back yard.

You see, I love them enough to protect them, even if it means committing violence. There's a major difference between predatory and protective violence. Even mother birds will attack you if you mess with their children, but you don't claim the birds are wrong.

The funny thing is that you're position is hypocritical. You are totally OK with violence, so long as someone else has to risk their lives for you. If you call the police, they come with guns, tasers, batons, sprays - all of which carry the threat of violence.

I carry a gun so that I don't live in fear. I am alive today because of it. Your husband was lucky, my attackers had no intention of letting me live. However, they had even less of an intention of dying themselves and left without a shot fired. You didn't read about that in the news because it wasn't a story with blood.

Self defense with a firearm is much more common than you think. Here's thousands upon thousands of stories for you to read.

I'm sorry, but the one living in fear is you. My girls don't live in fear. They've been taught a healthy respect for firearms, they understand that life sometimes isn't always sunshine and roses, and yet they are two of the happiest children we know. When something bad happens, they can deal with it better because they've not been lied to all their lives that life is free from danger.

I wish you the best and I hope you never have to deal with anything that would shatter your worldview, but your fear of inanimate objects is misplaced.

Kirsey | 5:54 AM

Wow, couldn't agree with you more. The idea of using a gun for self defense is CRAZY. The gun is never going to be in the spot that you need it, especially if you have them locked up and put away so your kids can't get at them. Someone breaks in and you have to go unlock you gun case? Like that will work. That's CRAZY! Or they'll tear the gun out of your shaking hands and kill you with it. It makes no sense. Why is it that the USA has more deaths by guns than any other country? Dana's statistics in the momversation video truly hold no validity on a global scale.

blooot | 6:09 AM

I'm totally apathetic on the topic of guns. Possibly because it's not a relevant topic in my daily life, so I give it no thought.

As a parent, my greatest fear for my children is someone violating my children's innocence. Touching and crusing the purity of their souls in a way that is irrevocable, unrepairable.

That is my fear. So I protect them from it by knowing where they are at all times, watching them as much as I can.

I think we, as parents, all have different, painful fears for our children. It's hard to make them aware without also making them fearful, but it appears that you've managed to do just that.

Abby G | 6:41 AM

right on.
love it.

Misty | 6:47 AM

On so many levels I agree with you completely. So first off I say, protect Archer, LET him feel safe. 4 should still be an age of innocence where the world is a beautiful place. There is no room for fear in a 4 yr old.

The other part of me believes in the right to bear arms. I believe that there should be WAY more training and safety courses required before someone can purchase one. I believe there should be a limit to the number a person can own. (Seriously, what good can one man having an arsenal do!?) I believe that if you use it for the purpose to feed your family, and being from the midwest I know many who truly do, that there is no shame there. But for ME, who lives in a nice quiet neighborhood with 2 huge dobermans next door and incredibly observant neighbors... there is NO place for one in my home. None. zip. zero. Not happening.

Now here's the flip side... I WANT to know how to use a gun. I want to feel comfortable and knowledgeable with them so that I am not scared of them. I'd love to "rent" a gun and go to a shooting range to practice, but for me, that's where it would stay. I do visit the city often and I would like to feel comfortable enough with a weapon that not only could I disarm an attacker but look bad-A enough afterward that they would leave me the hell alone. No shooting required... just wanna look like I know what I'm doing. Maybe that's naivete shining through??? Who knows. But I do know I don't want to live in a world where there is a gun in every home.

Sigboy | 6:49 AM

I applaud you for being a responsible parent and putting logic into the training of your son. However, I am taking a different approach, I am not raising sheep. My children know what firearms are, they know that they are not toys. They know that they are not to be touched without adult supervision.
I also will do everything in my power to protect them. I will not be a victim, and neither will my children if I can prevent it.
Remember the police have no legal obligation to protect you. They are trained to investigate crimes and apprehend the bad guy. And when seconds count, they are minutes away.

amber of theambershow.net | 6:51 AM

Is sheltering bad? I thought that's what you're supposed to do.

paperfairies | 6:58 AM

There are families that have guns in their homes to protect their children, but when a child goes to school carrying a gun they got from the home where there was a gun to protect the family, nobody's protected.

We need gun control in this country.

I believe someone who is being stalked or threatened can justify owning or carrying a weapon, but a family in a suburban home? Nope.

On the topic of sheltering, well extremes are always bad. I don't think kids should play with guns or be subjected to violence on the media, but they must understand not everything is rainbows and butterflies and that there is danger out there, there are bad people.

But we don't need guns to tech them that.

mrs.notouching | 7:00 AM

I am 100% with you. There are other ways to defend yourself. It blows my mind that you can get a gun so easily in the states. I have never seen a real gun and nobody in my family has seen it either. RE Robb: I never had a problem defending myself from bullies (in fact for a short time I was a bully myself). Archer will grow up to be a wonderful, strong and compassionate man. Violence breads more violence. Period.

Maureen | 7:01 AM

Amen, amen, amen, Rebecca. I'm a mother, too, and I get very nervous when I think of my son getting older and I'll have to make sure there are no guns in the houses of his friends.

I also have to say that there is a general perception of the U.S. around the world that we all do, feel, think, and have certain things. I don't have any friends or family that have guns in their houses, and it's not because of where I live. The U.S. is HUGE. Just because the common perception of Americans around the world is that we're gun-toting violence lovers doesn't mean that it's true for the majority of us.

Katy | 7:02 AM

Robb Allen, I feel sorry that you live an existence of such misdirected paranoia and ridiculousness. I feel sorry for your children, being raised by someone as unstable as you are.

It is not hypocritical to depend on law enforcement and asserting that is plain retarded. Law enforcement officers go through years of training and experience to get where they are, not average citizens. Your argument is flawed and just nonsense.

I'm sorry that you have experienced such violence. I know that when I had a gun held to my head, nothing would have helped me.... I was at the mercy of the person holding it. Had I had a gun, one of us would have most certainly died, and call me any name you want to, I am not down with killing.

To say that you don't live in fear is ridiculous. I live in the city with my children and they are fearless. They are fearless without violence, because they know how to behave in their environments. We have big dogs and a alarm system.

We cool.

Just a grail | 7:03 AM

I agree with you 100% and then some.

I am tired of hearing "we teach our children to not touch our guns" and all the other things people say when trying to justify why they own a gun. Kids are curious and curiosity and guns are often a horribly sad combination.

As far as sheltering goes, that is our job as parents, to shelter and protect and keep our children safe to the best of our ability.

Erin | 7:10 AM

This is a difficult issue for me because, after considering myself very near to a pacifist, my husband became a cop.

I never grew up with guns in the home, and neither did he. I fired a rifle and a handgun at a range once, and hated them both. HATED. Guns are so dangerous, so deadly, so powerful, so absolute.

I'm not in love with the fact that my husband works in a job where carrying a firearm is necessary. But when he puts on a uniform, there are people out there that will attempt to take his life because of that uniform—not because of who he is as a person, and without regard to me and our 15-month-old son.

I'm definitely not in love with the fact that we have a firearm in our home when he's off duty. My son has seen it on his belt, but I refuse to allow him to see my hubs unload it, dismantle it, and lock it up. I've held the gun once, completely empty, and I don't plan on touching it again. I don't want a gun for self defense, even though the police car in our driveway makes us a target.

I now have a different opinion on the taking of life. I don't believe in the death penalty; I don't believe that ordinary citizens should have or need to have guns; I don't condone hunting. But when if it comes down to a person making some really bad choices leveling a gun at my husband? I want him to come home.

And yet. Aside from his service weapons, we don't have and won't ever have guns in our home.

Katy | 7:14 AM

Also, Dana has no idea what Feminism is all about. Feminism is about creating and sustaining life, not destroying it.


I get a little bent out of shape when a person like Dana, who has no idea what Feminism is, whose every personal philosophy spits at Feminism, tries to argue that something so violent is Feminist.

Anonymous | 7:21 AM

Call your local police department, and ask them what their average response time is.

If the answer is anything less than "instantly," then you've answered the question of whether or not they can be relied upon to be there in time to keep you and your family safe, in the event a criminal decides to victimize you.

Rustmeister | 7:25 AM

paranoia and ridiculousness

unstable

retarded

flawed and just nonsense

ridiculous

Good thing you're not talking about gays, Jews, or a racial minority, I'd think you were a bigot.

sweetmelissa818 | 7:26 AM

A couple little boys did this to me the other day! It was actually really upsetting because we've got a terrible gang problem around here and the way he was holding his "gun" told me that he'd seen it like that before (tilted sideways as it aims at you).

I always wonder about the kids' parents after something like this happens. Not to mention, the road they were playing on was really busy and they were just sitting on the curb!

the pistolero | 7:27 AM

violence is for the weak

Well of course it's for the weak. You can't be violent with the strong because they can defend themselves. But I get the feeling that isn't what you were talking about.

we dont have wild animals roaming our suburban street.

None of the four-legged variety, anyway...but plenty of the two-legged.

you want to stop gun crime -- get rid of guns.
Gotcha. How's that worked for drugs? How'd it work for alcohol in the '20s?

no such thing as "good" people and "bad" people. The characters are complex and there is always a reason for them acting the way they are.
So about all those "good Germans" who put the Jews in boxcars, hauled them off to camps and gassed, starved and shot six million of them, do you think there was any legitimate reason for them to act the way they did? Sorry, but I refuse to believe there is no such thing as "good people" and "bad people." And anyone who does believe that is dangerously ignorant of history, appalingly devoid of morals, or both.

when I see my little brother 'shooting' people with a stick
He's just doing what little boys do. You don't give him toy guns, he'll make his own. With whatever he can get his mitts on. Ten thousand years of genetic conditioning is going to be hard to undo.

Kendra | 7:27 AM

This is a really interesting topic. And I was actually glad to hear from Robb. It's always nice to hear from people who share your point of view, but it's even more valuable to hear from people who disagree.

My kids like the superheroes and love to play their version of "good guys and bad guys." But like you, I've had to find a place where I draw the line. They're not allowed to talk about "killing" the bad guys, only "stopping" them. They can make toys into guns (I can't really stop them; I've tried), but we talk about what would happen if they really shot someone with a gun. And usually they end up "shooting" one another with pretend water (or even noodles) rather than pretend bullets.

We don't have any guns in our home and never will; on that, my husband and I agree completely. We live in a state where hunting is a major pastime, so guns are a big part of the culture and get talked about a lot.

I had a friend in college whose dad is a prison guard. He kept at least one gun at home for protection (there was always talk about him being targeted; I don't know how accurate that talk was) and was also an avid hunter. So I heard a lot about his side of the gun argument.

Maybe Robb makes a valid point, that we never hear about the times that a gun prevented violence, because that story doesn't make the news. But in the end, all I know is that guns were built to kill people, and killing people is not something I am ever going to encourage my children to do.

Brian | 7:29 AM

I have a few fire extinguishers and first aid kits in my house.

Do I have a "misdirected paranoia" about fires and injuries? Should I rely only on trained professionals to eventually show up and deal with such emergencies?

the pistolero | 7:30 AM

Why would anyone need a handgun?

One answer:
http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/06/five-bucks.html

Brian | 7:32 AM

Ah yes, the old "a disarmed society is a safe society" assertion.

Go ahead and ban guns, and you've put the physically weak at the mercy of the physically strong. Then go and lookup "Middle Ages, history of," and see how that usually worked out for the disarmed serfs and peasants.

Birdie | 7:35 AM

I have a very similar outlook on guns, as far as having them in your home or teaching kids to use them. Makes absolutely NO sense to me in this day and age, and where we live (a small town with a low crime rate). My husband owned a gun and enjoyed going to the firing range before we married, but one of my conditions was that he get rid of it before I moved in. No. Guns. I also limit the violence my son is exposed to in TV, movies, etc.

However. In regards to the little boy you saw playing guns: This is something I feel equally as strongly about. I once had a friend who absolutely forbade her child to do any sort of gun play- even if he was just pointing his finger and saying "boom."

As much as we try to shelter our kids, if you live in the U.S., own a TV, send them to public schools, friends' houses, or any combination of these, our kids ARE going to be exposed to violent images, some with guns.

I firmly believe that children process their world through play. And just as you will see kids work through issues like family relationships, night time, time-outs, etc. through play, it is natural for them to try to work out the violent images they see.

I think that instead of forbidding gun play it is wiser to talk to your kids about what they are doing and let them work through the violence they are exposed to, with your guidance.

Does that make sense?

But yes, I agree with you 100% that guns have no place in our homes, purses, cars, etc.

Katy | 7:36 AM

Well, looks like you have gotten on the NRA radar.

the only apology that I will make is using "retarded", but I stand by everything else I say.

Living in the city, I know that the majority of violent crimes are between people who know one another and are gang and drug related.

But thanks for bringing your paranoia in this thread. Shouldn't you be on a Charlton Heston appreciation forum.

Also, 1%, ONE PERCENT of the population belong to NRA. They are the violent, paranoid, extremely vocal, MINORITY.

It's time for the silent majority to be the voices of reason.

Rustmeister | 7:39 AM

As to this post, I'm not going to go on about gun rights, although my photo probably gives away my position on the matter.

What I am going to say is, yes, you are most definitely sheltering him. You said it yourself:

"So goes my paradox: I'm afraid that by educating my child I will scare him. I will scare myself."

You need to overcome your own fear before anything else, or else you will pass that fear on, but without context.

Fear, in context, isn't a bad thing.

One of our most basic reactions to a stressful situation is "fight or flight", and while flight may be the preferred course of action, it is not always possible.

Having a healthy dose of fear (caution is a better word) can aid in recognizing danger before it becomes unavoidable.

Being fearless is the trait of an idiot. I don't mean that as an ad hominem attack, I'm being literal.

"Fearless" people don't have the intelligence of a field mouse.

Katy | 7:39 AM

Also, I find it ironic that all of the sudden a bunch of gun toting, men are, all of the sudden, commenting on a mommy blog, and treating the women like we are naive.

Typical.

Thanks, big strong men! without your giant egos and little penises, we wouldn't have any violence to argue about!

Katy | 7:40 AM

Owning a bunch of giant guns is the trait of someone with Freudian issues, you can pick which one is yours Rustmeister, but I have a pretty good idea of what is really bugging you.

tkdkerry | 7:40 AM

all I know is that guns were built to kill people

Guns are built to give strength to the weak, and power to the powerless. I will never understand why so many women will ( quite rightfully ) say that 'No means no!', yet would deny themselves and others the best means possible to say 'no' and back it up. And to boot, they would deny others that right by proxy, employing people with guns to use violence to accomplish it.

Brian | 7:43 AM

Gun owners "violent, paranoid?"

Seems like concealed handguns licensees in Texas are:

--5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public - 127 per 100,000 population versus 730 per 100,000.
--14 times less likely to be arrested for nonviolent offenses than the general public - 386 per 100,000 population versus 5,212 per 100,000.

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba324

Vaughn | 7:43 AM

As a member of the Law Enforcement Community, let me thank all of you for allowing violent criminals to continue their trade. If every civilian were to stand up to criminals and fight back, rather than empower criminals by bowing to their every demand, Criminals would quickly find another profession. It is you who are against violence that empower criminals for they LOVE those who do not defend themselves. Every day I see people like you who are murdered, raped, and robbed and they always refuse to accept the criminal as a bad person. It must be the gun or the knife, perhaps society is to blame for the attacker’s actions? No, criminals do not care about anyone other than themselves. All of you sleep peacefully at night due to the violent actions of police and soldiers who came before you. Violence is required some times, even in self defense situations. You delude yourself by thinking otherwise and you do your children a disservice by teaching them so.

Jessi | 7:44 AM

I have mixed and complicated feelings about guns. I grew up in a hunting family and I am probably the only adult in my family who does not have a gun in the house. However, I encourage my kids to talk to their grandparents about it and learn basic gun safety. Beyond that I'll leave it up to them. I won't go into it farther than that. I feel that either extreme (no guns ever or guns for everyone) is ridiculously naive.

I will say, though, that with the super heroes, you won't be able to shelter him for long. And I'd rather watch with my kids and explain than have them learn from other kids.

Also, you might want to look into the comic book stuff again. I think maybe you're not very familiar with the genre. Okay, there is fighting, but it is VERY RARE for a character to get killed. And I can't think of a single super hero who carries a gun. Most of the heroes incapacitate their foes and lock them up in prison or an asylum. That way they can break out and come back in the next issue. :)

Rustmeister | 7:49 AM

Heh, Katy, you've touched on almost every insult anti-gunners have in their arsenal.

Go ahead and trot out "blood in the streets" and the "wild west", please so I can really feel at home.

As for Freud, haven't his views been pretty much discredited? Even his statement "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity"?

I have to say, though, I do agree with his assertion that sometimes a bannana is just a bannana.

Katy | 7:49 AM

This is ridiculous.

To assert that people who are against owning guns are somehow "empowering" criminals, is just RIDICULOUS.


RIDICULOUS.

Small minded.

Paranoid.

And complete bullshit.

tkdkerry | 7:50 AM

Woo-hoo! The 'little penis' meme has popped up! Let's see, if I were to play the same nonsense game, I would have to respond that there seems to be a lot of penis envy in these comments. Yeah, that's the ticket! Seriously, Freud thought just the opposite: “A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity”.

Thanks, big strong men! without your giant egos and little penises, we wouldn't have any violence to argue about!

Well, I can only speak about my own experience, but without a doubt in my years the dirtiest, nastiest, meanest fights I've seen have been between women. Reading your sentence above almost made me spew my coffee! Please tell me you were being ironic and I just missed it?

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 7:51 AM

Several pro-gun blogs have linked to this post if you haven't already guessed. Ha!

As long as debate remains civil and respectful, comments will stay open. Thanks guys.

Anonymous | 7:52 AM

Is it really worth having a bunch of paranoid, idiots cramming up your thread?

the pistolero | 7:53 AM

little penises
So of the gun owners who have commented here thus far, how many of them have actually shown you their penises? If that number is ZERO, ad I'm betting it is, then you're just talking out of your fourth point of contact. I can't speak for any of them, but whatever I can't do with my penis, I make up for that with my tongue and my hands and fingers -- not my gun. And that's worked for me very well so far.

Rustmeister | 7:54 AM

I hope so too.

The reason I come here isn't to spout NRA talking points, but to get my point of view out where it's rarely heard.

Vaughn | 7:56 AM

"To assert that people who are against owning guns are somehow "empowering" criminals, is just RIDICULOUS."

Right, because criminals will stop attacking those who are easy prey. It worked so well in Chicago, LA, New York and England. None of those places have violent attacks since most (if not all) guns are banned.

You might want to look up the definition of empowering.

chris | 7:57 AM

To assert that women are the main perpetrators of violent crimes is wrong. It's statistically wrong.

Also, cultures that are matriarchal have a tendency to be less violent than their patriarchal counterparts.... So yes, it is easy to blame the penis.

Plus, if you were confident of your own, you wouldn't take such offense.

hsoiblog | 7:58 AM

To Katy:

If you care to, give this piece from Kellene Bishop a read. It's about why she carries a firearm:

http://womenofcaliber.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/why-this-woman-carries-a-firearm/

The key quote is at the end: "I carry a firearm because as a woman I have the privilege of giving life. That's right. I don't carry a gun to take life, but to ensure that it's fully given to those who choose to live."


As for Rebecca, I applaud her public admission and opted to respond to it on my own blog:

http://hsoiblog.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/im-not-so-sure-about-that/

the pistolero | 7:59 AM

To assert that women are the main perpetrators of violent crimes is wrong.
So is reading things into statements that people didn't say.

hsoiblog | 8:01 AM

(Rebecca: I apologize for the double-posting... didn't get the URL's made into clickable links. You're welcome to delete the prior posting that's missing the double-clickable links).

To Katy:

If you care to, give this piece from Kellene Bishop a read. It's about why she carries a firearm.

The key quote is at the end: "I carry a firearm because as a woman I have the privilege of giving life. That's right. I don't carry a gun to take life, but to ensure that it's fully given to those who choose to live."


As for Rebecca, I applaud her public admission and opted to respond to it on my own blog.

Anonymous | 8:05 AM

Jeeze, it's like a herpes outbreak.

I think anything constructive that could come from this debate is all but a faded memory.

Jess | 8:06 AM

Thank you for putting their thoughts out there Rebecca! It is a good discussion topic. I don't have any children yet but I won't have a gun in my home. My father did have a gun in my childhood home but I didn't know it existed until I was in my pre-teens.

I don't understand the argument that people won't attack other people if the victim is carrying a gun. That is also a similar argument to the fact that people who murder people face life in prison or the death penalty in some states - therefore, that will deter them from committing the crime... doesn't seem to work for a lot of people - because those people aren't thinking about consequences!!!! They aren't thinking, hmmm what if this person has a gun and shoots back at me? Or hmmm if I shoot this person I could be caught and put in the electric chair. They do what they want, when they want it - because they feel they have to - or because they are crazy. Anyway, my quick two cents :)

Mike W. | 8:07 AM

"BANG BANG BANG!" he said. "You're all dead."

Perfectly natural thing for a young boy to do. It's something almost all young boys do.

When he gets older he should be taught firearms safety so he learns to respect them as tools instead of fearing them.

Mikee | 8:08 AM

I found this blog through a pro-gun blog that I read regularly. Pro-gun bloggers frequently link to blogs that express opposing views on self defense, 2nd Amendment rights, and similar issues. Such linkage allows those of us with pro-self-defense positions to read the thoughts of those who do not share our views.

Frequently, reading comments on the anti-self-defense blogs brings up tired, cliched arguments that have been disputed and refuted for years by pro-self defense arguments. This post's comments are refreshing in that only a few of these old canards have apeared (Freudian small penis ad hominem insults, for example).

Most comments reflect the considered viewpoints of people who feel strongly that protective, defensive violence is not an answer to an attack by violent criminal persons.

While I respect your right to hold that opinion, I must disagree with it. There is a difference between protective violence and predatory violence. One protects, the other offends. That you are unwilling or unable to determine that difference may cause you problems should you ever encounter a violent criminal. But that is your right, your opinion, and I will not even try to argue that with you, other than to say that I consider your lives worth more than that of someone who would take your life for the contents of your wallet.

What I must say is that I expect, and in fact must demand, equal respect from you, for my right to my opinion that self defense is a fundamental human right, and that you shall not infringe on that right.

Anonymous | 8:09 AM

i grew up with guns in my house. i was taught from the beginning never to touch, play with, pick up, etc. any of them, and i didn't. my dad used them mainly for target practice. he had one beside his bed stuck down in a boot in case of emergency. where my parents live, i feel like it was needed. they live in the country. police response exceeds 30 minutes there, and if someone came in and attacked us, we'd have no chance.

now i live with my husband and child in one of the most crime ridden parts of our city. we live in a violent city - we always make lists of crime per capita, usually in the top 10. i do not feel safe whatsoever. we have no guns at home.

i do not agree with unnecessary violence. i don't ever want to be in the position to have to shoot or hurt someone. however, for me, and i suppose a lot of this has to do with how i was raised, i would MUCH rather have to shoot a person than watch my family harmed because i was not protecting myself.

i would have much more piece of mind if we owned a gun. i want to arm myself with the ability to fight back if someone comes and thinks they are going to take advantage of me and my things when they have no right.

i want my child to know that we can live here without being scared to walk outside at night. that we don't always have to have all 3 locks on the door locked and the alarm on. that we don't have to take EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM. out of our cars so they do not get broken into. that we have to drive 30 minutes to a safer neighborhood just to go for a walk.

i hate that we have to be scared.

Christopher Burg | 8:10 AM

I'm not going to cover the reasons I carry a gun on my person when out or at home. Instead I'm going to throw out a scenario, a very likely one in a large city, and let you ponder how you would respond to it without the use of violence.

It's three in the morning and an unknown person has broken into your home. He climbed over the wall of your gated community (a simple task), or maybe it's the neighbor or one of their kids (many crimes are done by people you know). Your alarm has gone off but you know the police won't arrive for roughly 10 to 15 minutes. The alarm also has failed to scare the criminal away since they to know they have several minutes to work.

Now the criminal bursts into your or your child's room and makes it very obvious they mean to cause your or your child harm (through either vocal threat or brandishing a weapon). What do you do? Will you wait for the police to arrive? It will likely be too late by then.

End of scenario.

Gated communities are generally targets for crooks because most of the people who live in one are well enough off to have something worth stealing. And you certainly can't trust a criminal to only steal stuff and then leave.

I'm going to throw out another factoid here. I grew up in a rural community where most of my friends' homes had loaded guns in them where they could be easily obtained by even a child. Not on of them every touched one without an adult around because they were educated at an early age how to properly handle a firearm. They were also taught that a gun isn't a toy. Education is the key to keeping your child safe not sheltering him.

The bottom line is the world is not a nice place and the proper way to defend your child is through educating them. Do you tell your child not to get into a car with strangers? Do you tell your child not to cross the street until ensuring no vehicles are coming from either direction? Do you tell your child how to get out of the house if there were a fire?

The answer should be yes to all of these. As a parent your job is to educate and protect your child. A child simply can not know how to react to a situation that they have never been given instruction on. But once instructed children generally listen to the major points. For instance when you tell a child not to play with the kitchen knives I'm sure he doesn't play with the kitchen knives because he understand the concept of pain and bodily harm.

Anyways I've rambled on long enough.

Erin | 8:10 AM

Oh man, this just sucks. I'd like to reiterate that I'm a cop's wife, but I'm also anti-gun. And while you NRA folks absolutely have the right to your opinions, you're not going to change any minds here with this kind of angry debate. Blogging creates community, and by barreling in with cold statistics and colder attitudes, you are not going to have any kind of positive effect on the readers of this blog.

I'd also like to assure Rebecca's lovely readers that not all law enforcement officers are members of the NRA, and not all law enforcement officers have callous attitudes toward people who commit crimes. My husband, I am proud to say, is one of the officers that you don't have to fear will treat you with disrespect or undue force.

And thanks to Rebecca, for allowing this invasion of her comments by people who don't share her compassionate and thoughtful attitude. You're practicing what you preach, girl.

tkdkerry | 8:10 AM

Is it really worth having a bunch of paranoid, idiots cramming up your thread?

Interesting. From my perspective I could say that applies to those who are writing on the anti-gun side. You see, most of us gun owners see living in gated communities, depending on alarm systems, and cowering while we wait for the police to arrive in minutes when you need them in seconds as the indicators of fear and paranoia. Don't get me wrong... these are all useful tools and serve their purpose to some degree. But that's part of the point, they are only useful to a certain degree. The bottom line for all of us is that we're responsible for our own well-being; some of us are responsible for family members as well. It's one thing to refuse to defend yourself, it's something else entirely to force your loved ones and others in your community to rely upon others for protection. THAT's fear at work, and no small amount of hypocrisy.

...herpes outbreak...anything constructive...

Well, you've certainly added a lot, haven't you? Snark is fine, but it's not an argument.

I don't understand the argument that people won't attack other people if the victim is carrying a gun

Some argue this, but the main point is that you have a means to try and STOP it. Isn't that obviously better than just waiting for it to end?

OK, I'm done here, thanks for letting me hang around.

the grumbles | 8:14 AM

Katy-
I'm a regular reader here and respect Rebecca's opinion. We choose not to have any guns in our family's home. BUT I BELONG TO THE NRA and I am not "the violent, paranoid, extremely vocal, MINORITY." I am a woman. I am not "a bunch of gun toting, men are, all of the sudden, commenting on a mommy blog, and treating the women like we are naive." Yes, some of these commenters are being disrespectful jerks, but I am offended that you lump me in with them based on some idea that you have of what "gun people" are like. Quit stereotyping people.

Rustmeister | 8:15 AM

Ladies, if you ever want a good, female take on guns, please go here:

http://www.corneredcat.com

She addresses the real world concerns many of you may have.

Karin | 8:16 AM

WOW, Rebecca, I had no idea you had so many male readers.

Great use of your time, guys!!

I'm totally with you, btw, Rebecca. I live in Canada where there are strict gun laws and I have never felt devoid of protection. Coincidence? I think not.

Mike W. | 8:18 AM

to the 1st commenter. Would you consider it wrong for your kid to hit someone in self-defense? Violence should always be a last resort, but if some bully is using him as a punching bag do you want him to just stand there and take it?

To Krissy who said,

Wow, couldn't agree with you more. The idea of using a gun for self defense is CRAZY.

Why is it crazy? If an act of violence is committed against you, threats of violence are being made against you, or someone is trying to break into your house who do you call?

You call the police right? Why do you call them? You call them because you expect them to impart violence on your behalf in order to stop the attacker. If need be you expect them to use violence (deadly force) with a firearm in order to defend your life.

So basically you believe it's "crazy" to defend yourself and your family with your own gun, but perfectly OK if a stranger with a gun does it for you.

Do you see any practical issues with that? Any potential moral issues?

Karin | 8:22 AM

Oh, one more thing...

I don't know about everyone else, but when I call the police I expect them to detain - not shoot - the person.

Anonymous | 8:23 AM

Grumbles, the NRA and the disgusting rallies they have had in the wake of tragedies, such as Columbine, lead many rational people to hold them in disdain,.

Also, the NRA IS the vocal MINORITY, only making up 1% of the entire US population. Also, being for gun control does not immediately indicate that a person wants to ban guns all together. If you are a law abiding gun owner, than what's your problem with stricter regulations? If your nose is clean, you'll be fine.

Mike W. | 8:23 AM

As long as debate remains civil and respectful, comments will stay open. Thanks guys.

Looks like some folks can't play nice. Katy chooses to insult rather than discuss things civilly. I find that sad, yet typical of folks who are anti-gun.

Little Miss Moi | 8:29 AM

C'mon Mike! Like all you brand new, avid readers of Rebecca's blog haven't been insulting by posting comment after comment that is so in contrast to everything she, and many of her readers, believe?

Few of you seem to respect the fact that this is her blog and her opinion, and she wasn't asking for her mind to be changed.

Mike W. | 8:30 AM

"I don't know about everyone else, but when I call the police I expect them to detain - not shoot - the person."

If you called because that person was loitering, or doing something non-violent then yes, you expect them to be detained. If the cops show up and you (or your child) are in imminent danger of being killed you expect the cop to use lethal force in order to save a life. Right?

That is why they carry guns, as a last resort means of stopping violent attacks.

Anonymous | 8:31 AM

I'm just curious how you've managed to avoid Archer getting to know who Spiderman is. I feel much like you do about violence, but not letting Spiderman into our home was totally and completely impossible. He's never seen any movie or comic book, but all the kids play-acting at school have contaminated him, and the idea of being able to climb up a building with the aid of only your hands and feet is just too irresistible to him...

lindsay | 8:31 AM

i kind of gave up reading all the comments and just thought i'd add my two-cents. I am Canadian (that right there should hint at how i feel about this), I'm 19, I'm a Criminology major in University and the daughter of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. There are no guns in my household. I think my brother might have a paintball gun, but that's probably as badass as we get. Studying/looking at statics for hours on end (university is a bitch like that) i've seen the shocking american stats about accidents with guns involving small children. I don't want to offend with any stereotyping but if you look at different countries around the world with stricter gun control, the crime rates are significantly lower. I think one of the moms in the momversation said that american states that allow gun have lower gun violence, or something... but if you take a look at statistics on a international level, when the gun control level is stricter, the crime rate is lower. Theres a lot of messed up people out there who just want to be badasses and by having these guns so easily accessable, accidents are going to happen. I really don't think that matching violence with violence is ever going to resolve issues. Would you put a fire out with another fire? Definitely not. By letting children know that it's okay to shoot/harm someone if they put your life in danger is not okay. Chances are they will never be put in this situation but why instill this fear if you don't have to. Do i know how to shoot a gun? Yes. Would i ever do it? No. Why? I'm not a murderer. Yeah i value my life, but i cannot fathom shooting someone the split second before they shoot me. Why? because for the rest of my life i'd have to live with taking someone elses life, what it was an honest mistake, what if i just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. My dad told me in Police training, they ask a simple question, "Can you shoot me?" Could you look someone in eye and shoot them. Because if you can't, theres no point in having a gun in your household that could cause potential accidents. We (canadians) are not allowed to carry guns around without a slew of permits etc. It scares the shit out of me that there are states where you can buy a gun and carry it like you can a pack of cigarettes. ANYWAY. long story not short... lets give criminals a run for their money. If it's that easy for you to get/house a gun...if you make it harder for EVERYONE, guns will only fall into the hands of the right people i.e law enforcement, military, etc, the criminals will be caught and the reprecussions of murder/justice will be served.

Mike W. | 8:32 AM

little miss moi - So respectfully posting a differing viewpoint in the comments is rude and insulting merely because she may not agree with it?

Mike W. | 8:34 AM

" i've seen the shocking american stats about accidents with guns involving small children."

And yet more children die from accidental drowning and accidental poisoning than from gun accidents.

chris | 8:36 AM

What's even funnier, is that the negative tone of the comments was started by Robb Allen.

Rebbecca doesn't need your pity. To call her a hypocrite is a fallacy.

Robb's condescension is what thrust this topic into the negative zone, so why don't you put the blame where it is rightfully due?

Jessi | 8:36 AM

I want to point out that I, too, am a regular reader of this blog and not a gun owner and not a member of NRA and I find the anti-gun nonsense being spouted here to be insulting and ridiculous. I expect pacifists to be better educated and better spoken than this. In this country, we have a right to own a fire arm. We have a right to protect ourselves and our property. I choose to do that without a gun, but I respect those who follow the laws and own guns. The fact that members of the NRA are only 1% has nothing to do with what percent of Americans are respectful, law-abiding gun owners. According to some studies, gun ownership is right around 50%, and then there are those like me who don't own a gun, but will be more than happy to go buy one if you think it's appropriate to take away my right to one. So, don't purport that it is the vast minority who believe in upholding our constitutional right to gun ownership.

Tiana Barbaza-Cousineau | 8:37 AM

I don't think it's right that it's considered natural for little boys to be 'killing' people and 'shooting' people. It doesn't seem right that boys can run around using whatever toys as guns because 'it's what boys do'.

How is it that children are allowed to think it's normal to kill the bad guys? Why do second graders have this obsession with guns and swords and knives?
It's the shows on TV that say it's alright. It's movies. It's games on the internet. It's everywhere and no one seems to want to change it.

Mike W. | 8:40 AM

There was NO REASON for them to have handguns in the house. None. If gun control existed, I would have three friends alive. PERIOD.

So you're saying that if we get rid of all the guns we won't have suicides? That those kids wouldn't have killed themselves if they didn't have guns? What logical, rational position makes you think that's the case?

Guns don't have special mind control powers. They're an inanimate object, a tool and nothing more.

the grumbles | 8:40 AM

I agree with you, Anonymous person who did not leave their name. For law-abiding gun owners you should have no fear of more regulations. If you don't plan to do anything bad who cares about taking more safety classes or waiting periods to get your weapon or registering through some complicated process, I'm all for it.

I don't attend their crazy rallies. I belong because to join the safest local rifle range and compete in target shooting you MUST be a member.

Mike W. | 8:42 AM

"It's the shows on TV that say it's alright. It's movies. It's games on the internet. It's everywhere and no one seems to want to change it."

Little boys have been pointing their fingers at each other and saying "bang" for generations. It's certainly not the fault of TV or the internet.

She Likes Purple | 8:44 AM

I need to go back and re-read the comments, but this is such a tricky topic for me. We moved into our house a year ago and we dealt with a strange situation for awhile. It seemed the tenant before us was involved in some questionable things and for months, strung-out, very large men would show up at our house and try to break in. Once, I was home alone (husband was out of town) and it was late, and I really thought they were going to get in before the cops could get there. Yep, you're right, I was definitely afraid, and not afraid enough to go out and buy a gun, no, but afraid enough to never fault any woman/mother for making the choice to have one in a similar situation. I couldn't physically stop a man like that from hurting me or hurting my kid. And, yeah, if I can stop him another way, I absolutely, without a doubt, would.

LouEffie | 8:45 AM

I believe that gun ownership is a very personal decision and that we all should respect the choices of individuals to make that decision for themselves and their families.

We do not keep a gun in our home, but I support people/families who chose to do so. In the same vein, I support people who chose not to keep a gun because it doesn't align with their beliefs or principles.

I don't believe we should berate or look down on someone for exercising their freedoms. I can't criticize a person who goes through all of the proper and legal channels in order to obtain a gun, when no criminal set on doing harm to another would consider acquiring a gun legally. Who is the real enemy here? The criminal buying their weapon out of the back of a van so that it can't be traced, or the mother who files all the proper documentation and buys a gun because she is exercising her right and feels as though it will aid in the protection of her family?

Even if we don't personally feel comfortable owning guns ourselves, does that mean that we all believe those who do so are, crazy, paranoid, scared, NRA carrying, violent individuals? Not me.

Karina | 8:49 AM

I live in canada so there are much more strict laws on having and owning a gun. The only people I know who own a gun, use it for hunting in the fall and nothing else.
I agree that carrying a gun for self defense is a dangerous thing and all the other points you made.
However, I think you should speak with your son about violence before he see's it on tv, the internet, a film, a comic book at a friends or at school. I think that by "sheltering" him from all types of violence will have him unprepared for when [ and it's bound to happen ] see's it for himself.
It's a really tricky conversation. You could explain what violence is, and who these super-hero's are but you would rather not have him watch these shows. If he insists, you could watch the episode with him and have a conversation afterwards about the "bad guys".
Because you can shelter him from all the violence forever, like many people have said ; it's everywhere.

Mike W. | 8:54 AM

"I believe that gun ownership is a very personal decision and that we all should respect the choices of individuals to make that decision for themselves and their families."

Yup, and that's the crux of the issue LouEffie. GGC wants to deny others that choice because it's not one SHE would make. On the other hand, pro-gun folks don't want to force her to own a gun, we merely want to preserve freedom of choice. That means her choice not to own a gun, and my choice to own several.

GGC says,

To keep a handgun in one's house insinuates, in my opinion, a certain amount of fear, which is why guns are so scary.

Her desire for stricter regulations is driven by fear is it not? What is she so afraid of that makes her want to restrict my ability to choose? I don't want to do that to her.

Couldn't it be GCC, that keeping a gun in the home is a matter of preparedness not fear? I wear a seatbelt not out of fear, but because I want to be prepared should I need it. I have a fire extinguisher not because I'm fearful or paranoid about the risk of fire, but because I believe in being prepared and responsible. A gun is no different.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com | 8:54 AM

I commented about this over at Mamalogues last night.

In a nutshell, my husband and I live in a very safe community so we don't really see the NEED for a gun, but since his family is as pro-gun as they are, we do keep a gun safe for them to lock their guns up when they are at our house. I believe that even the most responsible person can make a gun-related mistake and that you cannot use statistics to prove a point. There are far too many variants that factor into gun ownership and usage for statistics to be considered infallible in this case.

I do disagree with you on one major point, though. I want my children to have an understanding of how to safely operate, maintain, and store guns. I don't want them operating or maintaining or storing guns in their daily lives, but I would rather have them capable than not.

That said, there's really no need for that education to take place until they're much, MUCH older and have shown that they can be trusted and that they fully understand the devastation a gun can cause.

Rustmeister | 8:58 AM

If you don't tell them anything else about guns, tell them this:

If you find a gun -

STOP!
Don't Touch.
Leave the Area.
Tell an Adult.

That little bit of safety information brought to you by Eddie Eagle.

Crotalus | 9:10 AM

Wait a minute... You abhor violence in all its forms, yet you named your son "Archer"? Do you know what an archer is? Truly, you are clueless.

An archer is one who uses a bow and arrows. Many people hunt with them. Benjamin Franklin advised the use of the longbow in our War for Independence, as one could fire several arrows in the time one needs to reload a musket. So, you named your son after a warrior!

ADS | 9:12 AM

"On the other hand, pro-gun folks don't want to force her to own a gun, we merely want to preserve freedom of choice. That means her choice not to own a gun, and my choice to own several."

I can't speak for Rebecca, but I know that I personally am not looking to take anyone's "rights" away. The only people that hurts are law abiding citizens, not the criminals who will still find a way to have their guns and use them. Now, having said that, I would like to see MUCH more regulation and mandatory training involved. I don't see how anyone can argue that point. How would it hurt you (the law abiding citizen)to have more regulation? Yes, perhaps it takes up some time and perhaps you don't think it's necessary. But if it teaches ONE person how to use a gun properly, how to store them safely and out of the reach of children, if it saves ONE life, then I'm all for it. 9 times out of 10, I think owning guns for self-defense is COMPLETELY unnecessary and often results in avoidable accidents. I've never needed a gun for my own defense, I've never known anyone who needed a gun. And of the people I know who own guns, I've never known a single one of them to use it in self-defense. That's not to say that it doesn't ever happen, but I don't think they're necessary the majority of the time. So while I'm not crazy about the idea of people just toting guns around for no reason, I can see where they think it's their right, and I can get on board with that right; but only with much more regulation than we currently have.

summertime | 9:15 AM

Oh, goodness. What a lot of comments today, eh? I do find the more civil ones somewhat interesting, but I admit I couldn't make it through all the comments. For whatever reason I felt the need to put in my two cents, however.

I grew up in the country where everyone had at least rifles, and was taught important gun safety. I know how to use them.

They still scare the fuck out of me.

Handguns more than rifles, just because they are more obviously for killing humans.

I plan on using my parents house as a teaching place for my son, when he's old enough, about guns. I don't want them to be a total unknown and therefore tantalizing. However, I also plan on instilling as much of an... I hesitate to say "anti-gun" position, maybe: "prefer to not have them because they are dangerous and I think you're more likely to get shot if you have one" position works better.

I live in the city now and I have a baseball bat and two dogs. I feel protected.

Jasie VanGesen | 9:21 AM

I tried reading through this whole thread of comments... it's downright exhausting. I'll never understand people's natural inclination to argue and argue and argue.

Discuss. Sure. Share your viewpoint, your background, why you feel the way you do. This is what Rebecca did, this is what the majority of her loyal commenters did, and even what a couple of the pro-gun people did. They spoke respectfully and honestly about their position, not touting it as right or absolute truth, but just as their opinion based on their past and experience.

But the comments intended to provoke, the statistics and angry name calling... I can't respect that.

Maggie | 9:22 AM

I completely agree with you. As I watched the momversation I just wondered, "why are you so frightened?" And I felt so sad that someone felt that they had to live in such fear.

I think Archer is still so young that keeping violent images out of his daily life is completely appropriate. Violence should be shielded from children until they are a little older and able to understand and appreciate the real life consequences of it.

the pistolero | 9:23 AM

I've never needed a gun for my own defense, I've never known anyone who needed a gun.

"I can't believe Richard Nixon won. No one I know voted for him!"

Mike W. | 9:23 AM

ADS -

so you are for infringing on my rights (I like how you put that word in quotes...)

Why more regulation if, like you said, it only impacts the law-abiding?

You don't think owning a gun for self-defense is necessary, so you want more regulation. That's your opinion (that it's unnecessary) and yet you want to force your viewpoint on others. Do you know what the current laws are?

I love your "if it saves just ONE life" argument. I'll bet we can save JUST ONE LIFE if we infringe upon other rights too, like the
4th or 5th Amendments, the right to Privacy, or abortion rights.

Sorry, but that line of argument might pull at emotions, but it's not justification for infringment of anyone's constitutional rights, including the 2nd Amendment.

Mike W. | 9:28 AM

I just wondered, "why are you so frightened?"

I'll ask the same of GGC and others. Why are you so afraid of guns?

the pistolero | 9:28 AM

comments intended to provoke
Does that include the unfounded accusations that gun owners are not well-endowed? Or just the provocative commentary of those who you don't agree with? Just so we're clear.

NoPoGirl | 9:36 AM

Wow. Just say the word "gun" and the comments section is sure to go crazy!

Here's the deal: I am a liberal. I voted for Hillary and then Obama. I rock climb and bike race. I am an avid telemark skier (a category of people more known for their small, trendy beards than their conservative politics).

Also, I own a gun. I am not a member of the NRA. I don't hunt. I don't have any plans to use the gun for self-defense, given that it's locked up at home and far away from ammo. I just like to go out in the country while camping and shoot cans. After cycling or climbing or hiking all day, it's fun. We use guns very safely in our household. And when my daughter is old enough, I will teach her to use a gun safely. Target shooting is a pretty fun hobby. We don't ever watch tv in my house- EVER. So, she's sheltered from that, I guess.

That said, I do believe in more restrictions on gun purchasing.

So, there is a middle ground somewhere, I guess.

Emmeline | 9:45 AM

There's no reason you should have to explain guns to Archer at 4. 4! My 4-year-old son has no clue about them, and I don't think this constitutes over-sheltering. He has no clue about super heroes, because none of his friends do, either. They're only 4. Maybe I'm naive, but 4-year-olds watching Batman, Spiderman,X-Men? That's just wrong. But then, I shy away from even the most tame Disney movies, because of the villians, and the general pace and agression-it just flies over their heads anyways- they don't really get much out of it. And oy, the marketing campaigns. Barf.

There's no reason anyone should have a gun. I don't believe in the right to bear arms. At all. Give me a break. Give me one good reason anyone should EVER have a gun.

And these comments are not "provoked" by this fucktard 'pistolero'. This is just my take on the issue.

Anonymous | 9:46 AM

AMEN

Eric W | 9:49 AM

Owning a bunch of giant guns is the trait of someone with Freudian issues

And, ladies and gentlemen, we get to the inevitable penis "joke." Just a hint, it didn't work the first time it was tossed out by an emotion-driven hysteric who can't answer a rational argument, and it didn't work the ten thousandth time, either.

As a follow up, what "Freudian issues" do female shooters have?

the pistolero | 9:52 AM

There's no reason anyone should have a gun.
So what do you propose to do about the Americans who have them? Send other men with guns to take them? And why did you call me a fucktard? Is that really the best you can do? What am I saying? Of course it is.

ADS | 9:53 AM

"so you are for infringing on my rights (I like how you put that word in quotes...)"

I put it in quotes because I don't really see it as a right, but a privilege. And I thought I made it clear that I don't want to take that right away from you, I just want more regulation.

"Why more regulation if, like you said, it only impacts the law-abiding?"

Because even law abiding citizens should know how to operate a gun, how to store a gun safely etc. if they are going to own one. Because even law abiding citizens can be ignorant. Because even law abiding citizens have children who should be protected. Again, this might not be aimed at you. You probably have had training and know what you're doing with your gun and how to store it properly. But that isn't the case with everyone (EVEN law abiding citizens) and I think it should be. I don't understand what's so wrong with that.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 9:55 AM

With all due respect, Mike W. - I never said I wanted to take away your gun.

I said this:

"Do I believe in the right to bear arms? Yes. But I believe there should be stricter regulations. I believe that fear is the worst possible reason to carry a weapon"

....

I'm also disappointed that this discussion has been hijacked by those who feel inclined to argue repeatedly the same points.

In the words of wise reader, Jasie VanGesen:

"I'll never understand people's natural inclination to argue and argue and argue.

Discuss. Sure. Share your viewpoint, your background, why you feel the way you do. This is what Rebecca did, this is what the majority of her loyal commenters did, and even what a couple of the pro-gun people did. They spoke respectfully and honestly about their position, not touting it as right or absolute truth, but just as their opinion based on their past and experience.

But the comments intended to provoke, the statistics and angry name calling... I can't respect that."

Couldn't agree more, Jasie.

....

So with that I will close comments. Because this has morphed from civil discussion to antagonistic, disrespectful finger pointing... and now we're talking about dick endowment (no pun intended) wtf.

No more.

Especially now that google ads is advertising gun lessons in my sidebar.

In closing, to my new readers with guns in their avatars. This isn't an anti-gun website. This is a personal blog and a place to discuss matters, experiences and personal feelings towards issues. A place where people SHOULD feel comfortable expressing their truths and points of view.

Unfortunately you have taken that away from my readers and people (who I admire and respect NO MATTER their stance on the issue. I have NRA friends AND family P.S.) so now I must take it away from you.

Best of luck to you. Now, please move along.