I’m not so sure about that

Via Robb Allen I learn about Rebecca and her feelings on guns.

I won’t be harsh here, just wish to provide some perspective.

First, I applaud her for being up front and honest about her feelings. It’s evident she’s got some fear regarding guns, and given how she describes the city in which she lives (including her husband being the victim of a carjacking), I can certainly understand how and why she’s formed the opinion she has. What I wish to provide her with is some perspective on her feelings.

Many of [my son] 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?

Since you asked, yes you are (and this is coming from a homeschooling father — supposedly us homeschoolers are all about sheltering and overprotectiveness). Now, this isn’t to say you have to participate in what you consider violent activities. But the reality is the violence is around us; the world is violent, always has been and at least in our lifetimes will continue to be so. To shelter your child now is going to cause him to have an unrealistic perspective on the state of the real world. That isn’t to say you cannot shape your child’s understanding and response to violence, and this isn’t to say you cannot make his exposure to the world age-appropriate, just don’t deny to your child that violence is out there. As parents we need to give our children the tools they need to survive and thrive in the world, which includes giving them the knowledge of how the world really is and how to better deal with it.

Consider the analogy of the sheep, the wolf, and the sheepdog. Teach your child to be a sheepdog.

…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.

Your honesty is refreshing and actually takes some courage to admit. In this context of guns, consider looking at something like Eddie Eagle. Eddie Eagle is a friendly and fun way to get a serious message across, a message I believe is bare minimum knowledge required to keep children safe regarding firearms (the alternative is ignorance, and that’s certainly a recipe for disaster). The Eddie Eagle video can be viewed for free online, so take a few minutes and check it out yourself.

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

It’s interesting to note that the two blog postings I made this morning prior to this one, here and here, were both stories where a gun was used to defend. There are many many others every day.

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.

No gun in the house? Well, Midnight Rider was happy he was carrying his inside his home. And if you don’t understand why, why not make the effort to learn why some of us carry. Rebecca, I used to be in the exact same boat as you — that’s why your story really hits home with me, because I know exactly where you are coming from. I realized it was a fanstay world, full of my idealistic view of the world and how I wanted it to be and thought it should be, instead of how it is. That isn’t to say I’ve given up on the dreams of such an ideal world, but I do better if I first accept the reality of the world that I want to improve.

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

No, sorry. The data doesn’t back that up.

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.

Does your child know how to push something? Then he knows how to kill. Push someone out into traffic. Push someone out of a tree. Push someone off a ledge or out a window. He knows how to kill. The difference is putting things into context. You teach your child to use pushing for good things: pushing his sibling on the swing, pushing and holding the door open for others, pushing a broom to help mommy clean up. When your child uses things for good, you reward that good; when the child uses things for bad, you punish that behavior. Guns can be used for bad things, no question, but we don’t punish the gun (it’s just plastic and steel, springs and levers) we punish the person. Guns can also be used for good things, and it doesn’t have to involve killing… it could involve preserving his and your life.

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

If you ever have a desire to conquer your fears instead of letting them control your life, I am a teacher and would be happy to teach you what I know.

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

Ask Mr. Firby. I’m sure he’s happy. His gun helped him preserve his 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.

That’s commendable and I teach my children the same. I will say I used to think violence was never an answer. Now I know that sometimes violence is the only answer. I prefer to make it the last resort, but when some punk is willing to take your life for $5, all the pretty empowering words one wishes to use just won’t matter.

Put it this way. Your child picks up a stick and whacks someone with it. Chances are you’ll punish your child for doing so, and that’s most reasonable. Now let’s say you’re on the playground. Some big kid comes up and starts to push your child around. Your child asks the big kid to stop and leave him alone. The big kid keeps pushing. Your child escalates, continuing to be diplomatic, the big kid doesn’t stop either but escalates. So your child escalates, begging, pleading, and so on, but it just eggs the bully on. Your child tries to run away, but the kid is bigger and has no problem catching him. Now your child is getting messed up pretty bad, the big kid’s pushing, taunting, punching, and kicking is really taking a toll, so your child picks up a stick and whacks the bully something fierce and the bully stops his assault. Are you going to punish your child for defending himself, and using an inanimate object to do so? Furthermore consider that once a bully knows your child can easily be victimized, the bully will continue to do so (bullies, like most criminals, like easy targets). Once the bully knows he can’t mess with your child, your child will be bullied no more.

Again, Rebecca, I do understand where you are coming from, more than you know. I just had to give up that way of being because I realized it wasn’t realistic and I wasn’t doing a service to my children to raise them that way.

Updated: Linoge has a wonderful response of his own.

11 thoughts on “I’m not so sure about that

  1. I felt my testosterone lowering as I read that.

    I actually made it halfway through the comments, which was really difficult.

    I LOL’d at the woman who said “If my son ever hits anyone I will consider my parenting job a failure” my guess is her kid is under 2 years old.

    • Well, she closed the comments and I frankly don’t blame her. Some people were willing to discuss, a lot were just being little children… and frankly it was folks from “both sides” that were being that way.

      And actually there are folks that think hitting is totally wrong in any and all circumstances. Violence is never the answer. But hey man, I admit that I used to think that way. I’m just glad I woke up and realized that no, sometimes it is the right answer. But then, some people enjoy being victimized.

      • The laughing was due to the almost certainty that she’ll have to consider herself a failure.

        I think only a new parent would say such a silly thing.

        • Oh I agree. All kids will hit. It’s a natural response.

          And not just a new parent, but a new parent and likely a first-time parent. I too was once so delusional. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Guns and fear « Stuff From Hsoi

  3. I think this bit from comments just about summed it up:
    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.
    “How dare you bring up nasty facts!” Wonderful, isn’t it?

    • I will agree that the conversation there was getting ugly and Rebecca was fine in cutting it off before it descended any further (her blog, her rules), and certainly the pro-gun folks were having their share of bad attitude as well. To me it’s the old “more flies with honey than vinegar” situation. Coming in there and getting into name calling, calling people stupid, that’s not going to endear you to them, no matter what side you’re on.

      But the data/statistics thing. Yeah… that’s the tough part of the debate. It’s always tricky to debate emotions vs. facts. 🙂

  4. I failed to mention this previously, and I apologize, but you did a pretty good job over here as well… Especially considering that you can approach the topic from the standpoint of a homeschooling parent.

    I do not really comprehend how someone can allow their life to be so completely run by their fear, but, hey, that is their choice, and more power to them. She has no right, whatsoever, to impose that fear or control on me, though.

  5. Pingback: Don’t fear the sun « Stuff From Hsoi

  6. Pingback: Illusion of safety. Are you a fool or a wise man? « Stuff From Hsoi

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