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I Hate Guns

My baby boy starts preschool in the fall and I'm terrified. With school shootings becoming the norm, one even being close to home, I'm having a hard time controlling my anxiety about what could potentially happen. Is it likely? No. Should I deprive my child of getting an education because I'm scared shitless? No. But still, I find myself trying to constantly push out intrusive thoughts and he doesn't even start for another 3 months!

Dylan is my heart, and every fiber of my being wants to protect him 24/7. Handing him over to a local school daily in August is not something I'm looking forward to. I recently drove by my son's future preschool and like how it's gated so one cannot gain entry without being buzzed in. Unfortunately, a necessary safeguard put in place at most schools these days. But still, the playground is out in the open - yes, behind a fence, but the kids are vulnerable during recess and lunchtime. As I write this, I want to cry. Such a sad reality these days that we have to worry about this.

On November 14, 2019, there was a shooting at Saugus High School, the high school I attended in the 90s. Now you hear about God-awful shootings at schools all over the country, but when it happens at the school you went to every day for four years and felt safe at, it hits home even more. I mourned the loss of local students alongside my community, and I too am sick of "thoughts and prayers". When are we going to mandate some real changes? When are we going to focus more on the mental health of our youth?

I regularly see a post about the Sandy Hook shooting on my social media channels by the nonprofit organization Sandy Hook Promise. When a picture of an adorable little boy named Dylan with his mama shows up in my feed, I get sick to my stomach. That young life was cut extremely too short in a senseless act of violence. The empathy I feel for his mom is overwhelming. I cannot even fathom not being able to wake up from every parent's worst nightmare. My heart goes out to her and every other parent who has lost a child because someone chose to steal lives with deadly weapons that are too readily available.

My newsfeed these past few weeks has also been filled with stories of teenagers getting shot for accidentally approaching the wrong car or pulling into the wrong driveway. Why do so many people not only own guns, but are so quick to fire without even assessing the perceived threat? America is reverting to the Wild West. I truly wish ALL guns could be confiscated, then no one would feel the need to own one for "protection". I know, I know, "don't tread on my liberties". Well then for God's sake, bear arms responsibly and keep them out of the hands of the mentally ill, known criminals and children!

When Dylan was born, I was determined to keep him from playing with Nerf guns or other toy guns. Well, that didn't work. When his older brother and friends play with them, he too became interested. Kids (from my experience, mainly boys) are raised loving guns and perpetuate this American obsession with firearms. I'm not sure how to put an end to this generational cycle, but something must be done.

As a survivor of a take-over bank robbery, I admit that perhaps my anxiety is amplified more than most. When you've stared down the barrel of a gun, the lasting trauma changes your perspective and makes you hypervigilant when it comes to safety. The bottom line is that I fucking hate guns. They steal innocent lives, incite fear, and give people a false sense of power. We NEED change and we need it NOW. I'm not sure how to help, but I vow to get involved somehow because we all truly need to do a better job of protecting our kids.


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