I'll Stop Being 'Political' When I Can Stop Fearing For My Kids' Lives

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
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On December 14, 2012, 20 children were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Since then, we’ve lost thousands more lives to gun violence with 338 mass shootings occurring so far in 2017 alone. In the wake of Sandy Hook, many of us believed the loss of 20 first graders might be enough to affect real gun control.

Tragically, we were wrong.

As moms, we’re so tired. So tired of reading about innocent people being mowed down in a matter of minutes and then we go through the predictable cycle of thoughts and prayers and a call for action that never comes. Every few months, we begin anew and resolve to change and insist on change and nothing happens.

I’m tired of being a young mom with two beautiful babies who should be living a happy life in “the greatest country on earth” but instead, lives with a bubbling undercurrent of hot panic every time I put them on the school bus because today could be The Day that an unbalanced man enters their school and pulls out a semi-automatic.

I’m tired of hearing my children’s sweet voices describe the active shooter drills that have now become commonplace in elementary schools across the country. My babies know that in order to hopefully survive a massacre, they have to stay in their darkened classroom and remain very quiet until The Man leaves. If The Man leaves. They know not to touch a gun if The Man sets one anywhere near them. They know to do exactly as their teacher says and to be so very still so they can hopefully come home to Mommy and Daddy.

Our babies are being prepared for war, America. Is this the great and patriotic place we call home? A place where even our smallest and most innocent citizens can’t learn about addition and phonics without a lesson on dodging an evil man with semi-automatic weapons strapped to his chest squeezed in every three months? This is acceptable to those who protectively pat their guns while prattling on about second amendment rights?

You know what other right we have as Americans? A right to fucking live. And our laws allowing people to hoard guns, despite our children and fellow citizens being mass-murdered daily by the sick individuals who easily obtain weapons because of those laws, runs totally counter to that right. What is great about a country full of frightened people? A country full of parents who can’t promise their little ones that they’ll come home from school safely each day. Who can’t take them to see a movie or a concert without wondering if they’ll be among the next list of names we’ll reverently discuss and write about on Facebook and pray for until the next tragedy trains our focus away from them. Until we’re given a new list of names to mourn.

Please come at me. Please tell me how politics have no place in the motherhood conversation. Please explain to me why we should move along and not give a shit about the actions of the heartless politicians beholden to gun lobbies who make very fucking sure that along with their rabid base, that evil lunatics are also able to obtain guns. So many guns. All the guns possible, and silencers too. Please tell me why we should ignore all of this and discuss strollers and feeding schedules instead when our children’s lives are at stake.


Because believe me, I’d rather have those conversations than listen to my precious kids calmly explain to me how they’ve practiced filing silently into their classroom’s tiny bathroom. How it’s so funny that the littlest kid has to stand on the toilet and the teacher has to crouch by the door and remind them to be shhhhh so quiet so they can stay safe. So they can stay alive. Please tell me why anyone is ready to accept this as our Normal. Why our kids don’t deserve better. Because for the life of me, I’m not grasping it. With fresh tears in my eyes, the horrid details of our newest national tragedy already imprinted on my heart and soul, please tell me why.

Call me crazy, but a mom in the grocery store shopping for Goldfish crackers and bananas with her kids shouldn’t have to plan her exit the moment she walks in, just in case. She shouldn’t have to panic quietly all day while her children are at school. This isn’t how we pictured modern motherhood; this isn’t what we had in mind for our kids. For their childhoods.

We didn’t imagine we’d be raising our babies in a war zone.

We need to start caring about our kids, more than our guns. We’re tired — and how can we not be? If 20 dead children gunned down in an elementary school didn’t convince our country to care more about kids than guns — what will?

If you’d like to do something to help, check out Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America.

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