- Posted June 13, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Guns and children
'No guns are allowed in my home'
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
As a single mother of two, this is a topic of particular concern for me. I have always been opposed to guns in the modern-day home, as the risks vastly outweigh any perceived benefit. Guns are personally distasteful to me and completely unnecessary for my family. But after the Newtown massacre, I realized that it's not enough to keep my own home safe. I need to do more to educate my kids about the dangers posed by others with guns.
I consider guns to be one of the greatest threats to my children today and the one over which I have the least control. My kids are excellent swimmers and they know to avoid traffic when playing, but a pool or a car can't sneak up on you with the intent to kill. Government is our ally in mitigating many obvious threats to our collective safety, but not so with guns. So I employ every common-sense strategy that can reduce the risk. Beside the most obvious, which is not to have or allow any guns in my house, I limit my kids' potential exposure to gun owners. I will not date any man who owns a gun and I have stated so in my dating profile. I do not allow my kids to go to indoor shooting arenas such as Combat City, where grown men can shoot at children and where protective headgear is necessary lest teeth be damaged. My observation is that such places treat shooting as a game and encourage the dangerous misconception that a person has a fighting chance against someone armed with a semi-automatic weapon. I limit my children's time on video games and will not allow them to play violent varieties such as Call of Duty. I choose movies carefully and while my kids can distinguish fantasy from reality, I discuss complex themes with them when I deem necessary.
I try to help keep American history in perspective with regard to the many differences between the present day and the days of our country's founding, when men hunted the family's food with single-shot muskets and there was no law enforcement in many areas. I do not expose my children to hunting as a pastime and they are well aware of the origin of the food in our stores. I emphasize that the only purpose of today's high-powered weaponry is to end human life quickly and efficiently. I send my kids to public school, where they learn that government exists to serve and protect all of us, not just the owners of the most powerful weapons.
When I think of the brevity of the Second Amendment, the words that stand out most to me are "well regulated". We have failed our children miserably in that regard, with no coherent registry, licensing or any type of reasonable control over the amount of firepower or ammunition. The fact that some drivers operate their machinery illegally doesn't cause us to conclude that everyone should drive without regulation. Proper licensing is the best chance we have of safety on the roads and so should it be with guns. There are simply too many people in our nation to pretend that we can brandish our weapons as we like without impact to others.
I teach my kids to respect law enforcement officials and our military, but that any other person with a gun should be viewed as a threat and avoided. My children know how to call 911 and who the closest neighbors are. But our neighborhood is very safe and the greater dangers are outside our houses.
My greatest worry is that my kids will be exposed to guns in someone else's home. There is no current law requiring public registry of a gun, nor anything preventing the parents of troubled, mentally disturbed or autistic children from owning any amount of weaponry. It's folly to think that any security system is infallible. So I emphasize to my kids that if they see a gun in any friend's home or if a friend mentions a parent's gun to them, they are to report it to me immediately. I then bear the burden of deciding whether they should be allowed to visit again and under what circumstances.
One of the movies I have let my kids watch with me is Witness. It offers a compelling perspective on the havoc wreaked by guns in a peaceful Amish community. In one scene, an Amish grandfather has the task of explaining the gun to his young grandson, who has never seen one before the appearance of the city policeman who brings the weapon into the house. The grandfather tells the boy that the gun is for killing, to which the boy replies that he would only kill bad men. The grandfather asks him, "And how do you know these bad men? Can you see into their hearts?" The boy thinks carefully and responds, "No, but I can see what they do." The grandfather concludes, "And by seeing, you become."
There is nothing positive for my children to see in the use of modern-day semi-automatic weapons. Most of us don't live in an Amish community and frankly wouldn't last a week there without the services many take for granted. Yet their combination of independence and neighborliness is something worthy of emulation. In Witness, the criminals with guns are ultimately defeated not by the arrival of more guns, but by the community banding together to outnumber the gun bearers. If we hope to rein in the proliferation of high-powered weapons, we should do no less.