Parenting in a world seemingly gone mad has become each of our daily lives. We are faced with the question of what safety actually means when activities and trips that we always believed the essence of innocent childhood become the epitome of parental nightmares. When did Disney become dangerous?
The parenting wars have been divisive and intolerable for many of us, but in the end, I believe we can all agree on one thing: Each and every one of our children deserves to live. There are tragic accidents that are unavoidable, and then there are decisions made both by parents and our society as a whole that endanger every child in this nation. We cannot bubble-wrap our children. We cannot have them avoid every possible risk in the name of “safety,” but at the same time, we cannot avoid reality when it slaps us in the face — repeatedly.
With the death count from gun violence growing ever higher, it is in this moment that we as parents must make a decision: Are we OK with more lives being lost in the name of guns? Most of us fall toward one side of the gun control debate or the other, often disagreeing with vitriol with those who simply do not see the other side. The fact of the matter is that guns in America are not going to disappear — at the very least not anytime soon. Our Second Amendment rights guarantee that, and more importantly, our social structure is keeping it in place. Until we can guarantee safety for all children — not just our own — parents like me feel it necessary to utilize the right to have added protection for our family.
That does not mean, however, that anyone should be able to own whatever type of gun that they want and without restrictions. As a part-time solo mom whose partner is frequently away for his job, I absolutely feel it’s necessary to own a gun which I keep in my home. My family’s safety is simply not up for political debate. The Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard (.38 Special) that I carry makes me feel as though I can protect and defend my children in a moment’s notice, which in turn makes me feel empowered as a mother.
I fully empathize with the concerns around self-protection and understand that the concept of a “good guy” being able to save the day in a dangerous scenario is unlikely. We as mothers, as women, must take the burden on ourselves to listen to the research and evidence at hand and see that limiting access to guns might well make all our children safer. And isn’t that what we should want as parents?
Almost every single shooter in mass shootings in the United States used legally obtained weapons and many had no prior record. Let’s think about that hard since this is not an issue of criminals having access to black market weapons, but an issue of legally obtained weapons being used by those criminals — be they mentally ill or simply hateful individuals — to massacre others. Taking a basic Constitutional right to bear arms and somehow twisting that into a modern interpretation that allows for widespread ownership and use of assault weapons means that we are endangering our children. We must as mothers, as women, as the protectors of youth in this country, put a stop to this. There is a significant difference between protecting our children and endangering all children. Protection through gun ownership is vital, but like so many things, moderation is key.
Carrying a gun empowers me, but weapons with the capacity to kill our children in vast numbers makes us all powerless. I wish a good guy with a gun was the answer, but I don’t think arming everyone and having even more guns available to those who wish to do harm is the answer. In the end, I might choose to carry again, but I sure don’t support such easy access to weapons of mass murder. And yes, there is a difference.