Stop. Drop. And Play Dead.

Stop. Drop. And Play Dead.


The other day (okay, a few weeks ago), I was working out at the gym, taking a break between sets during an intense leg workout. Well, let’s be honest. It was a leg workout, made intense by the fact that it involved work.

I don’t know what triggered the thought, but as I finished taking a sip from my water bottle, I remember thinking to myself.

“If a shooter were to walk in right now and start shooting up this place, would I have anywhere to hide? Where is the emergency exit? Do I know how to play dead?”

Not so bizarre. Not anymore.

I find myself thinking about those things more and more these days. I don’t think it’s hubris – I’ve never been one to be paranoid about protecting my life. I will jump on a trans-Atlantic flight, go on the most daredevil, heart-pounding roller-coaster and can go on a passionate carbohydrate binge that would have me banned from South Beach forever.

When I was in elementary school, we did fire and safety drills all the time. Every year, the firemen would come in and reiterate the same message about how the real dangers of fire were not in the flames, initially, but in the fumes.

“Stop! Drop! And ROLL!” We were taught and we would have to demonstrate one by one that we knew how to do the roll.

“Roll away from the smoke!” The firemen would indicate where the fake smoke was coming from.

And we would have to get on the floor and roll down the hallway or the pavement, with our arms pressed against our sides.

And now I wonder if I am supposed to be teaching my children how to play, “Stop. Drop. And play dead” instead.

Reality Check.

I watched the news the day of the Newtown shooting from my office. When I first saw word of the gun shooting online, it had estimated two dead. When I was leaving the office to grab lunch and passed by the TV, my heart dropped when I saw the revised numbers.

A few of my colleagues were standing with me and one of them said, “Yeah, just watch the gun control freaks have a field day with this one.”

My idea of field day is quite different than anything I saw in the news that day or in the following weeks about what happened in Newtown. See, having a field day involves doing things like a 50 yard dash or playing tug of war. Jumping towards a finish line in a potato sack.

It doesn’t involve children being slaughtered to death.

“It’s not guns that kill people!” my co-worker explained. “People kill people.”

Yeah. No shit, Sherlock. People kill people. Usually with guns.

Of course there are other weapons and other means to kill. But that doesn’t mean that anything has the power of an assault weapon of the caliber used in Newtown.

So call me a freak. But first call me an American.

I am an American. Born and raised on this soil, I am proud of my country. I’m a patriot. I love my country. Like most things I love, like my husband, my children, my family, my friends and even myself – I love my country, not with the false belief that it is perfect. I am under no illusions that my country is perfect.

A blind love is never a healthy love, you see.

Being a patriot to this country is not just in honoring those who fight in the name of this country. It’s not standing with a hand on my heart during the pledge or even the fact that I often cry during the National Anthem.

Being a patriot to this country also means acknowledging the imperfections that tarnish the soil that we love. It means acknowledging that what was done to the Native Americans in a quest to drive them away from their homes was a travesty. It means acknowledging the stains of our own intolerance in the Japanese internment camps that were a part of this land.

“This lands was made for you and me.” It’s a beautiful song. But it’s hardly one that we have always sung together.

Being an American patriot means acknowledging that slavery existed in this country even while the Founding Fathers were writing a document that we immortalize with reverence.  There was a time when American fought against American in this land because of the difference in opinion that we could “own” the bodies of other men and women. Our fellow brothers and sisters. It means recognizing that segregation in this country existed until just a few decades ago.

So I’m an American. I love this country but I won’t ignore the flaws of our past and look at anything in our history or any document in our history as beyond questioning.  As unquestionable or perfect in any way.

The Founding Fathers. They were mortals. They wrote the Constitution under the crushing pressure of trying to obtain freedom from England.

They were people who made mistakes. They were people who did not have a crystal ball. They were Renaissance men, the lot of them, yet they had no concept of things like the Industrial Revolution. They never imagined cars. They didn’t ever foresee large vessels that could fly across oceans in the air or do the same things in the deepest recesses of our oceans.

They never saw a television. They never saw a man walk on the moon. They never imagined the mass production and unethical means in which we would harvest our animals. They never had the internet. Or a phone. Or electricity.

They owned muskets. They had harpoons.

Muskets, people.

They never imagined gang wars. They never saw the technology that could create guns that could kill so many people so quickly. They never saw an AK-47 blow someone’s head off. They never imagined the number of civilian deaths, that would take place and grow each year on American soil.

I will tell you one thing. They never imagined Columbine. They never imagined Newtown.

“Don’t take away my Second Amendment freedoms!”

Settle down. First of all, let’s stop looking at this as religious scripture. And stop attacking anyone who asks if guns should not be better regulated in this country. Well, if the laws we have are not enforced, then we don’t need more laws. We need enforcement and we need laws that make sense.

I feel like we are sitting at a critical juncture as a country. There will be another shooting. There might be another Newtown. There is just a sense of when, how, where? that I feel smothers us like a blanket.

I just want to know why I feel like the moment I question better regulation, people feel like their rights to own guns are being threatened? Hey, nobody’s saying you can’t hunt. Nobody’s saying you can’t own guns for self-defense. Heck, keep your arsenal for your hypothetical militia.

We have a problem here. An epidemic, if you will. Why is proper licensing of guns not considered acceptable? Why are more stringent licensing practices not being issued?

I keep hearing, “Well people will get guns without licenses!”

Probably. But it will be illegal and they should be penalized under the law. A person cannot legally drive in this country without getting a license. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t driving illegally every day. But that’s no excuse to stop overseeing it.

And why do we do that? Why do we require driver’s licenses? Because we like waiting online at the DMV? Because we like the way we look in the pictures? Does anyone actually like to go through the process of car inspections, vehicle registrations and wasting half a day at the DMV. Every stupid year? For every vehicle you own?

No. It’s a goddamn pain in the ass is what it is. But you do it. And it makes sense.

We do it because we know the power we hold behind the wheel. We know that we can kill, we can destroy, we can maim if we don’t know what we’re doing.

So why then? Why, why would we allow people to own guns without the appropriate training? Without appropriate documentation of what guns are where? And if it’s because we are going to talk about the people needing a way to raise a militia against the government, the people who are raging about wanting to have a right to raise a militia are usually the people I would NEVER want to see raise a militia.

That’s right. You people scare me.

I don’t know what will happen if I am at that gym in a middle of a workout and a gunman comes in raging. I haven’t thought through that yet. But I know that I think about my children every day. And my friends’ children. And my neighbors’ children.

And I’m not ready to teach them to stop, drop and play dead.

Something needs to change.

About the writer

Kiran Chug is a mother of two and freelance writer. She blogs about parenthood and women's issues at Mummy Says and lives in London.


shellybean 1 year ago

I’m pro-gun. I have guns in my home for hunting and for recreational shooting and they are safely locked in a secure gun vault. If my home were broken into, I would have the means to defend my home and family. One reason I’m not very comfortable with more regulations and laws is because of the fear of having something taken away a little at a time until its gone…hopefully that makes sense anyways. I honestly think the best way to stop many of these unbearable killings though is to pay closer attention to our kids. Is my kid being bullied or is my kid the bully or is everything just fine? Many of these killings are due to bullying. People being ridiculed and mistreated so badly and pushed so far that they step well out of reason. It’s sad for both sides. I’ve noticed that majority of these incidences have been some kid who got sick of it and snapped. Bullying has took to a whole new level in the last 15 years or so because of all the social websites where humiliating someone can go viral. It’s awful. People kill people because most of the time….someone has given them a reason to want to kill people.

Important Link 3 years ago

Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give
a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your
posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
Many thanks!

Tryamour 3 years ago

I understand your position, but there are many factual errors in your post. Not a big deal, since this is more an opinion piece and god knows the internet is full of unchecked facts anyway. But you do seem to focus on the founding fathers and their intentions with the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights.
I don’t think you grasp WHY it was such a world changing document. This was the first time a government was created to be ruled BY the people. Do some more reading into what this meant then, and now.
You say they couldn’t have meant for citizens to be armed with automatic rifles because back then they had muskets. This isn’t really logical because they were smart enough to understand thattechnology progresses. That is why it says “bear arms” not “bear muskets”, or “freedom of quill & ink”. To say they only meant muskets is to say freedom of speech doesn’t apply to the internet.
They also knew that a “democratic republic” was not the norm. Throughout all of human history there have been small groups of people who maintain the majority of power. For a democratic republic (the United States of America) to succeed, the people MUST be active in their government, and be the watchdogs of their representatives.
Our founding fathers penned the 2nd amendment because they knew that power corrupts. An armed population not only keeps criminals at bay, but also keeps tyrannical government from growing. To us it seems hard to conceive, that our government could be corrupted and turn against us. But this is the norm throughout human history.

Again, you’re entitled to your opinions on guns and I can definitely see where you’re coming from. But don’t misrepresent our Constitution and Bill of Rights. If you find it outdated and don’t agree with it, that’s one thing. But first try to understand it.

And as far as gun restriction laws making us safer…the areas in this country with the most murders also have the strictest gun laws. I wish we could throw all our guns & bombs in the ocean…but the criminals won’t.

P 3 years ago

Kiran- I AM scared. One of my best mom friends thinks that all teachers should be armed; says that if they were well trained, then she would totally be in favor. This is a woman for whom I have immense respect, but I just cannot understand her view. As a former teacher and now mom, I have a few thoughts:
1) Thank GOD a teacher’s union would never support this (please tell me there aren’t any that do).
2) Oh yeah, because between training in their content area, in special ed/exception child, in standardized testing, and lesson planning they definitely have time to learn how to use a firearm.
2b) Not to mention, having a gun in a room of 30 curious Kindergartners…hmmm…which is “less bad”: having the gun on your person for a kid to grab, or having it hidden somewhere for a kid to find?
3) And really, NRA? One guard per school? Because there’s only one entrance to any school? Also, please visit my former school and meet our “security guard”: an overweight, 60 year old woman who suffers from asthma and who I’m pretty sure would run in the opposite direction if shit got real.
The purpose of a gun is to harm someone, even if you are a “good” guy trying to stop a “bad” guy. More guns mean more harm; no one will ever convince me otherwise.
I cried for 10 days after Newtown. It is unfathomable to me that people can fight against gun regulations (NOT banning guns) in light of all those lost little lives.

Jacob 3 years ago

If anyone wants to see why the idea that the second amendment was meant to apply to muskets is utterly ridiculous please reference comment 36.

Stop drop and play dead won’t work if the shooter walks into a room he has not entered yet and sees a bunch of kids playing dead on the floor with no blood spatter like you see from a body hit with a bullet. He will just shoot them in the back of the head. Leave this to the professionals hon.

Heather 3 years ago

This is one of the reasons why are country struggles so much. we spend so much time bashing one another for having an opinion and belief on something. To say I feel sorry for the future of your children for a women’s view on gun control is horrible. There is nothing wrong with a good debate but don’t get personal, state your point…argue your case. How can we as a country move forward if we can’t agree to disagree, and stop personally attacking one’s family, life, ect because they don’t want guns or they want to abolish abortion. I am tired of this crap, I respect both sides of the argument here. That’s all, I just wanted to vent because I was getting angry reading these comments.

Aimee 3 years ago

Excellent post. As a CT resident, watching the coverage of Newtown was horrifying in a whole new way to me. Whether it’s because I wasn’t a mom the last time we had a mass shooting or because this happened in my home state, the state where I will raise my children, a state that is liberal and left-leaning, this particular tragedy was so hard to digest. I mean they were babies. But watching the coverage of the shooting and all the damage the automatic weapons are capable of is so incredibly frightening.

Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson 3 years ago


You have written about this topic beautifully and passionately, and I am not surprised that it has moved and turned in many directions. This is a heated issue for people.

My father and I recently talked about the issue of “What can we do?” and “What do we know?” We sat at our computers and started to dig up information. And here’s what we came away with: All shootings that occur take place when there are guns involved.

Sounds silly, right?


But if you tally up the number of accidental shootings that occur in people’s homes — when folks misfire or when children are shot (intentionally or otherwise), when there is a domestic argument and one spouse shoots another (intentionally or otherwise) — and if you add that to the gun violence we see in public venues at movie theaters and shopping malls, on college campuses and in schools — the number of fatalities is not insignificant.

I don’t like to talk about the “founding fathers” because — as I recently learned that term is a relatively new term (coined by President McKinley), and it is almost always used in the pejorative, to establish what the framers of the Constitution would have wanted or what they wouldn’t have wanted. Truth is: we don’t really know what they would have wanted.

And yet.

I can say this.

The people who framed our Constitution understood the concept of Amendments. They made room for our laws to change so that our doctrine would remain a living document. We are not bound by the 2nd Amendment. It was already a change — hence the word amendment. We CAN choose to make changes. What those changes might be will be up to us.

Like you, I would argue we cannot afford to sit idly by and shrug our shoulders.

Of course, there are sick people in the world who will always try to hurt people.

We don’t have to make it so easy for them.

And as we sit on our couches in our warm homes, maybe we need to consider that we aren’t as civilized as we like to believe.

    Tryamour 3 years ago

    ” We are not bound by the 2nd Amendment. It was already a change — hence the word amendment.”

    That’s actually wrong. The first 10 Amendments were the Bill of Rights. They weren’t changed, they were added at the insistance of Jefferson and others that the Constitution needed to be EVEN MORE CLEAR in the powers & protections it afforded the people. It wasn’t that the Constitution originally said “citizens shall not bear arms”, and later the 2nd Amendment changed that. The first 10 Amendments were written almost immediately after the Constitution and are considered the foundation of our country. They are the allowances we give our government, not the other way around.

      Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson 3 years ago

      I just meant that the original Constitution was amended to ADD the Bill of Rights. Our framers understood that we could change things. There are allowances we give our government, but they can be changed.

rebekah 3 years ago

From an outsiders point of view (an Australian) I dont understand why anybody would need such a high powered weapon to protect themself with? We manage to survive harmoniously here in Australia without everyone carrying guns. Your country needs to move ahead and realise it is a different age now, with different values, ethics, mindsets. You’re not living in a war zone? So why the need for guns? Seems simple… take away the guns = no mass shootings. People will always be able to make new weapons (knives, baseball bats, fists), however the severity of it would be less. Stop holding on to your rights, and your past, and burrying your heads in the sand. Move on from the violence of guns.

Robin Frisella 3 years ago

Back to the actual post: well stated, well thought out, and in my book, completely en pointe. Blind love isn’t healthy and we must acknowledge all of the history, not just the parts that allow us to pretend we are perfect. In the microcosm, we need to do that on our own personal levels as well.

Paul 3 years ago

I am not an expert on this issue and I try not to get too opinionated, however I would give up my second amendment right to own semi automatic assault weapons if it brought back even one child from the newtown massacre.

    Robin Frisella 3 years ago

    Thank you Paul.

Alexa 3 years ago

If we want to pull at heart strings, and use emotion and tragic stories to justify our arguments, how about this woman’s argument against gun restrictions on law abiding people:

Again, for many of us who are against the current proposed legislation, is not because many of us are against reasonable control (education, safety, enforcement of current laws that prohibit guns from being sold to criminals/insane/abusers/etc…), but are against the unreasonable assumption that cosmetics are what determines violence.

Erik Nelson 3 years ago

A friend of mine shared this article. You say the founding fathers never saw gang war, never saw the damage an AK-47 could do. I’m afraid you don’t know much about warfare, firearms, or history. Most of the founding fathers had extensive military experience. It was not drill and ceremony, and it was not from casual skirmishes. Most of the drafters of our Constitution had served in the British or American armies. They had fought against Native Americans and foreign nations over the span of some decades. In these wars, there were no prosthetic limbs, or trauma centers, or body armor. Men were hit by massive, large-calibre rounds that overwhelmingly produced festering infections and amputations. They saw war on a scale unimaginable by modern Americans, where every community lost at least a few loved ones to raids or attacks of some kind. Many of them had fought in the frontier wars, which were bloody, violent affairs that took the lives of hundreds of militiamen and other ‘civilians’. Your argument that the founding fathers couldn’t imagine ‘war’ is a ridiculous one- I think it’s us who can’t imagine the kind of hell they went through. And they still felt it was of the utmost importance to ensure that ready and willing persons could stand up and fight, armed and ready, when needed.

Laura 3 years ago

Well, I’m not going to join the debate on gun control, but it is sad that now, instead of fire drills, our schools are having intruder drills (what the students/teachers/administrators are supposed to do if a gunman enters the school).

Christina 3 years ago

What needs to change is that the current gun laws need to be enforced. If that would happen we would all be safer. But the Justice Department says they don’t have the resources to do this so they need new laws. Stupid

Barb 3 years ago

I am a patriotic, left leaning American. (We lefties come in patriotic, too.) My feelings about guns are different than those of most of the posters here. I would be very happy if we did not have guns in the hands of citizens. The 2nd Amendment says nothing about an individual protecting his family or hunting; it ONLY mentions keeping a gun to raise a militia – the guns back then were muskets, not assault rifles.
OK, so I am anti-gun. No guns in the hands of citizens? That would make me happy. However, I realize that will never happen in this country. I also realize most gunowners are responsible people. I can compromise: require extensive background checks on every gun buyer. No one with a person in the home with criminal background or mental illness or history of domestic violence should be allowed to keep a gun. Register every gun. Prohibit all assault type guns.

Why am I anti-gun? I never knew my grandfather. A Chicago banker, he was shot three times in the chest and abdomen in front of his teenage children (my Dad and my aunt) in their kitchen. His blood spattered into the dinner my teenage aunt was cooking. Police theorized that it was a kidnapping attempt and when his assailants broke in and he thrust his hand into his vest, they thought he was going for a gun and shot first. His murderers were never caught.
Years after his father’s slaughter, there was an armed robbery my Dad’s office. Dad hit the tear gas button, the robbers started shooting; Dad fired back. After the air cleared, Dad saw all his employees and customers lying on the ground. No one moved. He thought they were dead. They were not hit, just scared to death and afraid to move. Police told Dad he had done the stupidest thing he could have done, that he should have given them what they wanted and called the police. They said more people were killed when someone started firing back than taking that other action.
When I was thirteen, I was galloping my horse across a 40 acre field. It was posted “No Hunting.” The first bullet came from behind and I felt it (or air displaced by a close bullet) along my right cheek bone. The second bullet came over my left shoulder and the third off to the left somewhere. Had that idiot had an assault rifle, I surely would have been hit. Of course, they never found him either.
Years later, as I was walking through the school library to the cafeteria, other teachers were gathered around the TV. There was a shooting at a school 40 minutes north of where we taught: Columbine.
Yes, we starting having lockdown drills at that point. Not sure how much good they’d do. It’s a sham. The inside door faces a solid wall; the outside window the other solid wall – no place to hide – you are vulnerable from either the door or the window.
A few years later, I looked out my classroom window one Monday morning at a nearby church where three people had been shot and killed the day before just after Sunday morning services. Some of my students were still visibly shaken; they had been there at the time.
Last summer, a movie theater an hour from where I sit was shot up – you all heard about that.
There is hardly a day that goes by when there is not a shooting reported on the news in the town where I live.
Colorado is considering arming teachers. A friend who was a policeman said they had extensive gun training every month and if they failed they were on the desk until they passed. So, now teachers are going to take on the burden and responsibilty protecting the kids with a gun and the training that entails in addition to lesson plans, teaching, meeting with parents, grading papers. I can just picture it. Where would I keep my gun where it would be handy…ah, the chalk ledge…oh, wait, I teach 12 and 13 year olds…better take the bullets out. Gunman blasts his way into the room. Teacher: “Wait, sir. Don’t shoot yet. I have to load my gun. Better get down, kids. I’ll just kill this guy and we’ll get back to studying direct objects.” Better plan: Keep gun in locked drawer. Gunman blasts into the room. Two kids are bleeding on the floor. Teacher to remaining kids: “Don’t worry, kids. I’ll shoot him back. He won’t kill more than a few of us. Teacher to gunman: “Wait. Don’t kill anybody yet. I have to unlock the drawer and get my gun.” OK, that won’t work. I’ll carry my loaded gun in a holster strapped to my waist. Really, really smart with volatile 7th graders in the room.
The school where I taught has an armed guard now. Kids think that is normal. How desperately sad is that. What a commentary on our violent society. How do we expect our children to grow up to be kind, loving, peaceloving, respectful people when they expect adults to carry guns just in case… Of course, maybe that’s not what we want our society to be. Never mind. Never mind. That’s it. I have held the wrong view of society all my long life. We aren’t supposed to expect peace. We expect, even participate in shootings in city streets. We kill each other. We love violence on TV and in the movies. Anything less is pretty boring. There is air of excitement as we go into a restaurant, into a parking lot, a theater, a mall, a church or temple, even our own houses. Keep your hand on your loaded assault weapon. You may have to fire back. Keep an assault weapon in your nightstand in case you have to defend your screaming children – that was yesterday’s congressional hearing. Of course, you’d better not keep the drawer locked or you’d never have a chance against the gunman. Just hope your toddler doesn’t get hold of the gun and accidently blow the baby’s head off.

Surely a population armed with assault weapons can’t be the answer. I read a lot of comments by responsible gunowners on this post. Obviously more gunowners are responsible and careful than not. However, there are many people out there who are only too willing to kill others. Some are mentally ill. (One out of five of us is mentally ill. HOWEVER, not every mentally ill person is violent; in fact, most aren’t.) When assailants use guns rather than knives, they kill more people. (The day of the Newtown massacre, a man in China claimed 22 children in a school as victims. They all lived. His weapon was a knife, not a gun.) When people start shooting with assault type weapons, they kill more people than they did with the muskets that people used when the 2nd Amendment was written. Surely, the Founding Fathers did not have this in mind when they penned that 2nd Amendment.

    Ariana 3 years ago


Stephanie 3 years ago

1st, Why is the government trusted with assault rifles? They’re just people too and every term the corruption becomes more and more obvious.
2nd, You say the criminals who already have hoards of illegal assault rifles without license to them should just be penalized? Have you paid ANY attention to the war on drugs in this country? The police forces slowly loses ground.
3rd, ANYONE trying to fight these restrictions realizes the real concern here. It only starts with assault weapons. In as little as 10 years that can turn into them trying to ban all guns. Who else thought that was a great idea for their country? Hitler. Educate yourself before you start preaching to online communities with your opinions that hold no grounds.

    rebekah 3 years ago

    Banning high powered assault weapons was something Australia did years ago. It has actually worked very well for us, and the majority of us feel safer.
    Hitlers reign on some countries in Europe had nothing to do with guns, but fear.
    Face up to the fact your country has a problem. Perhaps a trip to war torn countries in Africa will show you what real corruption is.

Alexa 3 years ago

The reason you want a “assault rifle” ala an AR-15, is because you dont want to kill your neighbor’s kid when you shoot your armed attacker with your deer hunting rifle (most commonly a 30-06) which will not only go through your attacker, but probably through your house wall, through your neighbor’s wall, and still be lethal enough to kill their child sleeping. The reason you want a more than 10 rounds, is because the AR-15 is using a lighter round, that doesnt have the penetration/destructive power of your deer hunting rifle (or your shotgun loaded in 00 buckshot), so it wont accidentally kill your neighbors kids, you will most likely need most of your 30 round clip to drop a grown man. If you want a reality check on what guns kill and how they kill, check out this vid from a doctor giving a lecture on treating gun trauma:

Again, the current proposed legislation does nothing to address the lethality and problems this doctor sees every day in the hospital, but everything to do with what CNN, ABC, CBS shows on the evening news. Gun crime in general is down, to historic lows. Most people who die from guns, die from self inflicted wounds (e.g. suicide).

Sure educate people, make gun safety/training mandatory (alot of states have this already). Make safe storage and handling of firearms mandatory (alot of states have this already). Have proper enforcement and reporting for background checks (often the government fails to register those medically pronounced unfit in the database of those unallowed to own guns). Make it easier for people to be committed if they do indeed pose a threat to themselves or others. Etc… Dont glorify killers by spending months of TV news coverage making them famous, and an ideal example for other disturbed individuals looking to be noticed (how many shooters can you name vs victims of the last 4 mass shootings reported on the news).

Again, these are common sense measures that would have an immediate effect on gun deaths, but are missing from current proposals, that only focus on 1% of the actual reality of gun violence, but instead focus on 99% of the political/media agenda.

Another good link for gun stats, that are real and not simply re-hashed by a news org with an agenda:

Jessica Smock 3 years ago

Yes, as Kiran says, nowhere in the post does she attack the 2nd amendment. And I can’t imagine what people are thinking that they read one post on a site that they otherwise like, and then they will never look at it again. Talk about living in a media “bubble”… And, so, okay, you have a “right” to own guns? Does this mean that — unlike in every single civilized society which in every case have a small fraction of our gun deaths — your “right” to be afraid of any sensible government regulation means that our country has to be less safe? My master’s degree was in American history, and I taught history for more than 12 years, and nowhere do I remember reading in colonial documents or any secondary analysis that our country’s founders intended “a well-regulated” militia to involve semi-automatic weapons and clips that fire hundreds of rounds. It shouldn’t be easier to own a gun than to get a driver’s license (in many areas of our country).

Monique 3 years ago

Playing dead makes them an easier target. Teach them to run like on an obstacle course. It’s tough to hit a moving target, especially if they’re moving unpredictably. It empowers them as well instead of playing (dead) victim, they have a hand in their own safety.

Kiran 3 years ago

Hey guys. Wow, what did I miss? Quite a lot, it seems. For those of you who took the time to read through this piece in its entirety, I’d like to thank you.

For those of you who took this as an attack on your right to own guns, the post never says that guns should be banned. Nor do I mention in the post taking away guns. My question was why can we not evaluate what is happening in our society and place the proper checks and balances in place to ensure that we don’t become a war zone.

There comes a point where no weapon is big enough. I’m going to say something that may sound really simplistic. You know that saying, “Too many cooks in the kitchen”? Basically after a certain level of saturation, the benefit of adding resources in a constrained environment is marginally decreased with each new cook you put in there. By the end, with every cook you add to the kitchen, you will eventually get to the point where nothing will happen.

Just a bunch of bitchy and grumpy cooks with knives.

So. At what point do we say that our society has reached a saturation point where additional arms are not necessarily the answer? Do we continue to add more guns, arm our children, our teachers, our grocery store checkout kids?

At what point do we say that the tone of our society has changed from civility, to one of madness? This post makes it extremely clear that nobody is saying “take away your guns.” Just asking for anyone who wants to procure them to go through some kind of process that makes them accountable and marks the ownership of these guns.

The first person who posted, gosh I forgot your name – it’s been a while! mentioned that the boy who held the gun in the Newtown shootings was mentally ill. You are correct. He was and my heart bleeds for any child, any parent who is living with that in their lives. It’s incredibly hard.

But if we had appropriate laws in place, and the proper enforcement vehicles, do you think maybe risk levels could be associated to people who are buying a gun? A few people said there shouldn’t have been a gun in Adam’s house.

How would anyone know that it should be removed if nobody even knows its there?

A bunch of you feel that it was irresponsible to write a piece like this without mentioning mental illness. Mental illness is a huge problem in this country. There are a lot of issues that can be linked to violent crime, however. Mental illness, poverty, lack of education.

This post is not another “gun control” post without respect to those things. All of those things are part of the “context” which I say we as a society need to evaluate.

Thanks to Jill for allowing me this platform to share the post. It’s extremely brave of her to do so, and I don’t take that lightly, especially after reading through the comments here.

I have never felt more strongly about the need for a civilized dialogue. One that doesn’t end with more parents having to face a horrible tragedy.

For those of you who do not agree with me, but have kept this dialogue fruitful, thank you for that. It makes me hopeful that we can continue to figure out the right balance between a person’s right to own guns and society’s right to also not feel like this country has become a war zone.

For those of you who have supported my sentiments and continue to support Jill and this community, thank you.

For those of you who support what I have said here but feel intimidated in speaking, I completely understand.

Thanks all.

jane 3 years ago

I could not agree with you MORE. Well said. I live in Texas, and normally love it here, but I am hitting a brick wall trying to talk to my friends and neighbors about reasonable gun restrictions. I don’t understand why reasonable people are not reasoable about this! It just makes sense.
I don’t understand how people are not outraged at the events that have happened lately. It’s time for a change.
Our country is better than this. It will have to happen on a national level though, or I’m going to be out of luck out here in the wild west.
Keep voicing this! You have a platform.

Julia 3 years ago

Kiran, I read this post on your site and again here. These words need to be heard. I agree with this post so strongly and something does need to change. If someone who was not an American shot 20 first graders we would be going to war, it would be terrorism and I think as moms we should fight for change. Kudos to you and Scary Mommy for this.

Ariesa 3 years ago

You know you had me listening right up to the point you said “you people scare me” don’t lump me as a gun owner into a group of people you find your self to be superior to. Don’t assume that because I do believe in the people’s right to protect themselves against the tierny of evil men and their political agendas and obsession with power and control. That does not make me likely to snap and start shooting people, the people who scare me are people who like you are delusional enough to think this is a gun issue and taking away from the focus that this is mental health issue, why don’t you spend time thinking about how you can help people put value back in marriage and raising their own children and society not requiring both parents to have jobs to support a family in the middle class, then maybe we won’t have lunatic kids who get molested or abused come back after 10 years for vengeance because their parents where too busy working to pay attention to their kid who clearly needed mental help. I can definitely agree that a class training people how to use a gun before they become an owner is a AWESOME idea, but do you think that’s going to stop someone from killing people if they are crazy? No more than having a license stops drunk drivers. It’s about choices not tools

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Way to generalize the children of working and/or divorced parents. If that’s all it takes to make someone mentally unstable, then I dare say a good percentage of today’s children are doomed.

    Furthermore, how does coming from either a broken home and/or a childcare setting increase the likelihood of molestation or abuse? Please show me the statistics to lend credence to that theory.

    And finally, the mentally ill are just that – ill. They are not “crazy,” nor are they “lunatics.” And the fact that you (and many others) think of them as such only exemplifies and perpetuates our nation’s broken mental healthcare system. No, stricter gun control (read: legislation, NOT a ban) is not the only answer; we as a nation also desperately need to focus on mental health awareness and reform. But your angry, ignorant rhetoric is only lending to the problem, not helping it. Unless, of course, you’d rather not put your money where your mouth is and instead place all the blame on parents and a lack of family values.

    I just can’t with this entire comment.

    Ariesa 3 years ago

    Yea OK you’re right Kristen someone who walks into a school and blows away kids is certainly not a “crazy” an definitely didn’t come from a broken home or mentally unstable environment and I am certain you’re right that the majority of them didn’t come from an abused situation. What was I thinking the breakdown of the home, marriage values and people being forced to spend less time with their children has absolutely NOTHING to do with all of the violence in children now days! You are soooo right.

      Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

      Adam Lanza was a deeply, DEEPLY disturbed individual. By all accounts, he had lost the ability to feel or show remorse. I can’t feel sympathy for him and, in fact, think he was a monster. But as someone who loves someone who suffers from mental illness, I object to the use of the term “crazy” and “lunatic” to describe the mentally ill in general.

      But why am I wasting my energy trying to clarify this with someone who is clearly so deep into attack mode that they can’t even be bothered to put together a coherent response that isn’t riddled with spelling and grammatical errors – something that always helps in engaging in intelligent discussion.

      Let’s just agree to disagree, shall we?

        Ariesa 3 years ago

        First off its a FB post not a thesis, and secondly it’s from an iPhone written on a train ride while multi tasking. Don’t use the transposition of a few letters fool you, I absolutely am not in attack mode. I could care less about your personal feelings of mentally ill individuals, and would certainly not take the time to respond to your ridiculous post with some sort of well thought out essay – you and your delusions are not worth that much of my time. But I will thank you for helping me realize that I do actually hope this country splits in two with all of you and your over zealous love for control and pathetic denial for the obvious can be on one side and us with our guns and mental institutions can be on the other. What ever you want to call the mentally ill is fine with me, but if you love this person so much you should really reconsider the basis of my argument and be a better advocate for the talk about mental health issues instead of trying to focus on an argument that will never fix the problem.

          Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

          Yeah, you’re right… you’re not in attack mode at all. You seem like a perfectly calm, rational person.

          Have a lovely day. :)

      Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

      And FWIW, I agree that lack of family values and parents turning a blind eye to their children are contributing to the violence in our society. I even said as much in a comment above. However, I do not believe that these two things automatically go hand in hand with divorce situations and/or parents who work outside the home. I know plenty of happy, well-adjusted kids who attend or have attended daycare (including mine), as well as plenty of happy well-adjusted kids whose parents are divorced. It is absolutely possible to have excellent family values in both of these scenarios and to think otherwise is just plain ignorant.

        Ariesa 3 years ago

        You are absolutely right Kristen, and I certainly never meant that – my kids also go to day care and I myself come from a divorced family many times over. I apologize if you took my post offensively but I do believe that if families were not in situations were working to survive is the primary focus meaning that they are not doing it on their own (divorced) or working two jobs (daycare), children with these issues would not slip through the cracks as they so often do.

          Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

          Okay, here we find some common ground. I agree with you. Had you stated your feelings this way in your original comment, I doubt I would have misunderstood what you were trying to say. Thank you for clarifying and I apologize for my snarky response above.

Charlotte 3 years ago

“So I’m an American. I love this country but I won’t ignore the flaws of our past and look at anything in our history or any document in our history as beyond questioning. As unquestionable or perfect in any way.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. You are so very right. I have always taken issue with people who claim that speaking out against ANYTHING means we are not patriotic in any way. If anything, I think that’s what makes this such a great country: the whole freedom-of-speech thing. That being said, I can hardly imagine that our founding fathers would have put guns into the hands of civilians if they knew so many would abuse the right.

Such a great post. Thanks for sharing!

Doni 3 years ago

Great post. I’m so tired of people trying to justify owning a gun that shoots off 50+ rounds per minute. If you really think that there’s some scenario that you need that kind of weaponry to defend yourself — you probably should visit a mental health professional.

I HATE guns. However, I’m not asking anyone to give up their “personal liberties” of owning a gun for home defense or hunting. But licensing and limitations (yes, more people are killed by cars, that’s why there are laws and speed limits, and training/skills required before you can get a license) — are a must.

    Alexa 3 years ago

    A BB gun can easily shoot 50 rounds per minute, and kill a squirell, and not much else. So would the .22 that grandpa used to hunt bunny rabbits. All semi-automatic fire arms, that have been common in the US since the mid 1800s, can fire at a rate of one bullet per trigger pull, and that is quite a bit. Even a bolt action rifle, can be fired by a shooter, darn close to that rate. About the only guns that can’t fire at that rate, are the old black powder rifles, from the Civil war or revolutionary war.

    Machine guns, that fire hundreds of rounds per minute per single trigger pull, have been regulated since the 1930s. Not illegal, but regulated.

    Here is a link explaining the difference between what a machine gun (e.g. what modern militaries use) and common civilian guns.

    There is a dilemma as well, what makes a gun lethal, is what makes it good for self defense. If we want to say that citizens dont have the right to self defense, then sure it is easy to say that civilians dont need the guns that fire more than a few bullets per minute. But if we still wanna claim that citizens have that right, then why limit their ability?

    It would be like saying people have the right to travel in moving vehicles, but the vehicles could only move 5 mph. Kinda kills the utility/validity of that right when you cripple it to the extent that it is practically un-usable.

Stefanie 3 years ago

I support the right to bear arms , love my country and I also agree with this post 100%. I recently used the same example about driver licenses. I do not believe it infringes upon my rights whatsoever to pass a background check and also if training (and passing that training) were required. If you understand why a license is needed to drive a car (and the test that is required to pass and get that license) then I do not think it is difficult to see that gun ownership should also be handled responsibly and carefully. Do I think that will stop criminals, no. But I do think it will help people be safe and responsible about firearms that are law abiding citizens. I also think the training would make sure that those firearms were used, maintained and stored properly and give the user a sense of confidence in owning and using it.

Karen 3 years ago

You expressed my feelings to the tee. THANK YOU.

Brad 3 years ago

“They never imagined gang wars. They never saw the technology that could create guns that could kill so many people so quickly. They never saw an AK-47 blow someone’s head off. They never imagined the number of civilian deaths, that would take place and grow each year on American soil. I will tell you one thing. They never imagined Columbine. They never imagined Newtown.”

They lived through the French and Indian war, and then the Revolution. The Hurons and Iroquois made the Crips and Bloods look like Cubscouts, and the battles of Oriskany and the Monongahela make Columbine and Newtown look like Sunday School picnics. The Founders were very familiar with slaughter.

And not to trivialize the recent crimes that have us all horrified, but the homicide rate isn’t “growing each year on American soil”, it’s been decreasing dramatically for twenty years. And most of our homicides are gang-bangers whacking each other over drugs in the inner cities. I’m all for addressing problems, but let’s do it rationally, not emotionally, and let’s not criminalize good citizens collaterally.

    m.cooper 3 years ago

    hear! hear!

    Ashley Austrew 3 years ago

    No one is criminalizing good citizens. We’re saying rights come with responsibilities, and when your right to own a firearm infringes on my right to life, changes need to take place. No, the founding fathers did NOT imagine Newtown or Columbine. They did not imagine a world where people would be massacred outside of war time for no reason at all. There just is not a justification that is good enough for me to agree that things should stay as they are; that, like the writer, I should be at the gym wondering what I’d do if a psychopath with a gun walked in and started shooting. There is no justification. No one has the right to make their fellow citizens live in fear. No one deserves that.

      Alexa 3 years ago

      Huh? These were the guys who were familiar with the violence associated with the slave trade and running slavery (e.g. I have not read any accounts where slaves were coerced into slavery and made to do work by simple good argument of their white owners). These were guys used to the idea of raids by Native Americans into settler camps, that killed man/woman/child, regardless of whether European wars were encouraging these raids or not. They came from an era where men duelled over petty matters of honor, using their guns. They came from an era where people still butchered each other with swords, and if you think shooting someone from a distance is nasty, imagine the kind of people who had no problem butchering other human beings in mass, up close and personal, where there is no instant death, but the slow and gruesome cruelty of being hacked to death.

      We can argue that our modern day arms are nothing to the militaries, but guess what. The musket was standard issue military rifles, the common american back then had a rifle (theres a huge difference). The rifle was a far superior weapon, and would be like todays civilians having fully automatic machine guns, and the army only having single shot rifles. SO if anything they had no fear of the civilians being more heavily armed than the military.

      Whether they were right or wrong, I cant say, but its easy to find out what they were familiar with and what they feared. Their thoughts werent a mystery, but were well written in various journals, and more importantly the federalist papers, the campaign they under went to convince the people of the colonies that things, such as freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, etc… were good things.

MILF Runner 3 years ago

I can’t even read the comments because I am so in agreement with you.

My 13-year old came to me the other day and said, “Pretend we’re in the Revolutionary War times.” He wielded an imaginary rifle/musket and said, “Dance!” And proceeded to imaginarily open fire on me, taking at least 60 seconds between “shots” to reload his “weapon.” Who can’t see the HUGE difference between that and being fired upon by an automatic or repeating weapon?

The Second Amendment is antiquated. Let’s not forget that we needed a whole new amendment to allow women the right to vote because our all-seeing, all-knowing forefathers didn’t see fit to provide for that. Lack of gun ownership regulation is bullshit. I completely agree with this post.

m.cooper 3 years ago

For what it’s worth…assault weapons did not kill ANYONE at either Colombine or Newtown. The weapons used were handguns (and only handguns at Newtown), rifles and shotguns. I’m tired of people talking about banning assault rifles. That won’t solve the problem.

(Also for what it’s worth, I subscribe to the “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” school of thought, but I’m not against more stringent requirements for firearms permits.)

      m.cooper 3 years ago

      uh…your link only describes weapons *seized* not what guns were *used.* In any case, my point is that “assault weapons” are not the problem.

      Ashley Austrew 3 years ago

      M. Cooper, “for what it’s worth..” Noah Pozner’s jaw and left hand were blown off. Handguns don’t do that.

      Scary Mommy, thank you for posting this article and for inviting the obnoxious debate that you knew would surely follow. I wish we could all agree that our kids shouldn’t be dying and that guns ARE the problem. Alas, some think it is more important to worship the founding fathers as though they were infallible deities than it is to make necessary changes that would protect our fellow man.

Nicole 3 years ago

Thanks to your article Scary Mommy, you will have one more book purchase in April as well as a new subscriber to your blog! It is comforting when we (us Canadians) hear and read insightful, intelligent, and sensible views on guns from our Southern neighbours. Thank you again for giving us hope that your country is not “lost” :0)

Melissa 3 years ago

As a Canadian reading this, I felt I should weigh-in. We have LOTS of guns in Canada. The same or perhaps even more guns per person based on population.

Do you know how many people were killed by guns in Canada in 2012?? 165. Do you know how many Americans were killed by guns in 2012? Over 11,000. ELEVEN THOUSAND PLUS!

The difference? Better gun control laws here in Canada. Bash gun control all you want but those numbers are all the proof you’ll ever need.

It’s called gun CONTROL – not gun REMOVAL.

    Laura 3 years ago

    I’m a Canadian too and I pretty much agree, but I just wanted to correct you on something. As far as I can tell there are not more guns in Canada than in the states, based on population. According to Wikipedia, we have 30 guns per 100 residents whereas the US has 88. If you have a source, by all means cite it.

    But I think you’re right – control and regulation is in everyone’s best interest.

Overly Opinionated Mommy 3 years ago

This post was so well written and said everything that I have been feeling lately when it comes to gun control. I also think that we need better mental health services in this country, as well. My husband & I are both gun owners and he is a member of the NRA and, surprisingly, we both think that current gun laws need to be enforced better, that thorough background checks need to be made for those purchasing firearms, and everyone who plans to purchase a firearm needs to have license to do so and go through certain safety courses. Thank you for this post, it was excellent.

byebye 3 years ago

Bye, Scary Mommy. You can count on one less book purchase in April, thanks to this. Chucking the book I own in the fireplace tonight. You asked for it.

    Colette 3 years ago

    Pfffft. I’m thinking the thousands of new subscribers she’s getting (because this has gone VIRAL on fb and twitter now) will comfort her.

Dr. Mom 3 years ago

Great post. I am not an American but I agree 100% with your comments.

AJ Collins 3 years ago

Kiran, I loved this post. I was recently talking to a conservative friend about this exact thing! “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people… yeah… with GUNS.” I am pretty appreciative of the fact that it would be really difficult for another country to come in and invade the US. I’ve read that it is estimated that there are about 270 million firearms in the US (it’s estimated because we are one of the only countries in the world that does not require every gun to be registered)… that’s nearly 90 guns per 100 people in our population… so, in theory, we are pretty safe? But with that many guns we should all be required to take a class on gun use and safety… maybe at age 16?? Compare that to 254 million registered cars… and there seems to be an irony unfolding…

I really couldn’t have said it better myself. I am so glad to be one of your “bloggy friends” 😉

Julie S 3 years ago

I totally agree Kiran!

Colette 3 years ago

Thank you ScaryMommy, thank YOU for this. And pay no mind to the idiot brigade who will play this as a 2nd Amendment issue. It is not, as has been decided many many times over the last 200+ years. It is a national crisis, a worldwide embarrassment and an insult to right-thinking people everywhere to cloak oneself in the flag or the Constitution and claim regulation is infringement. I am the child of a gun owner, and the wife of one (non military, non-LEO). He is feeling PERFECTLY uninfringed by the proposed Assault Weapons Ban. Millions of gun owners agree – whining for assault weapons to be “protected” is codifying the Walter Mitty Militia, and it will not happen. For those who are coming at the current events and debate with decades old rhetoric, hear me: Newtown changed EVERYTHING. I and millions of other Americans are galvanized now to stop your insanity, your INFRINGEMENT on OUR rights. The NRA will stand down or die off as the fringe/cult/hate group they really are. We are taking our Constitution back. We are saying ENOUGH.

Ryanrules 3 years ago

Last statement on this subject.

I’m proud of you for speaking your mind. I do believe change is needed as long as it is done reasonably and within our rights as American Citizens.

I will continue to be in the middle on this subject as I am not strongly for one side or the other. I just want something to be done, but not to the extent of mass punishment on the people for the work of a few crazy men.

I apologize if I seem crude at times, it is not my intent.

Rebecca 3 years ago

I am a mother of 3, grandmother of 8 bran the ages of 8-1. I support gun education and teaching our children the value of human life…actually the value of all living things. I also believe in teaching children to protect themselves WITHOUT scarring them into seeing all strangers as bad guys, but as someone to be respectful of, and avoid contact with.
Really people. How many of our freedoms have been restricted, and eventually legislated till the original intent was lost. Example: food production, can you grow and sell food you have grown to the public without restriction. Did you know, some local gvts have regulated this, then eventually banned it.
We can go on and on with examples of society gone wrong, legislators trying to fix it with laws, and we end up loosing another freedom.


Lou 3 years ago

Beautifully written article. The cretins who are exercising their right to hateful speech are not to be reasoned with; not even deserving of a derisive retort as they are severely unevolved spiritually. As human beings when we stop looking out for our fellow man we have lost the very essence of what it means to be a great American.

They will continue to criticize your opinions, belief systems, intellect and even your grammar in an attempt to bring you down to their level (and face it its hard to breathe down there) but we will keep on and we WILL win the right to the safety and peace of mind that our families and especially our children deserve…

In the meantime a simple LOL is all the response they need..

Jess Clifton 3 years ago

Haters will no doubt (continue) to hate on you for putting this out there, but I’m SO with you, sister!

I don’t know if you caught Piers Morgan on Jay Leno last night (two men I’m warming up to more and more), but he presented many of the same points you do here, along with some extras that surprised me (i.e. 40% of guns are purchased/sold with NO background check whatsoever & gun/ammunition sales skyrocketed after the Newtown shootings – so much so that even Wal-Mart issued a limitation on purchases).

Yes, we should keep rights to guns, but we obviously need better regulation (not to mention stricter penalties, better mental health consideration and less copycat-inciting media sensationalism).

I commend you for being brave enough to put this out there!

CMND 3 years ago

I enjoyed ready just about everything on this website until yet another person had to go and discuss his or her issue on gun control. Not interested.

Megan 3 years ago

I couldn’t agree more with every sentence, every word, of this post. I always say it is not “un-patriotic” to question our country, to question our government, to want it to be better. It is EXTREMELY patriotic to want to fix what is broken, and make our country better. Those with blind faith and blind love are the unpatriotic ones. They are the same ones who turned their backs on slavery, and segregation, and women’s rights, and gay rights. I am one frustrated, patriotic American right now.


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