Tag:

Gun Control

run, hide, fight, how to survive an active shooter event, Shelter in place, gun control

How do you feel about raising kids in a time when it is necessary that they are taught run hide fight protocol as a means to how to survive an active shooter event. It’s not weird to them. It’s the norm and that scares me. There’s even a handy Run. Hide. Fight. pocket card to help you remember what to do in those stressful times.

They don’t even come home freaked out when they are told to run, hide and fight when there is a potential that there might be a “wild polar bear” loose in the hallways.  Yeah, that’s what the principal has code-named “active shooters” as to not “frighten” the children. They’re not frightened. I’m terrified and I have been since Sandy Hook.  Every single morning at drop off, every time I hear a siren during the school day and I cross my fingers, pray and hope that at pick up two in tack healthy children are returned to me. This is my life.

But our government is having an issue pulling the trigger on common sense gun control, which is ironic because I believe they are all very concerned with the citizens of the United States maintaining their “right to bear arms.” You think at the very least, they’d know how to pull the trigger and shoot.

The bottom line is that people like me want all the guns to magically disappear because we’d feel safer sending our kids to school for 7 hours a day, out from our watchful eye learning to live in the world, like normal people. People who place a higher value on keeping their guns can’t seem to reconcile how to protect our children and keep their right to bear arms. So, they deflect; mental illness, a rogue gunman, anomaly, and my favorite, “the bad guys will still find a way to get guns! I need to be able to protect myself!”

The response is that maybe we should arm our teachers. What? We don’t pay teachers enough money for all the work they do, as is. We entrust our children’s education and safety to them for pennies. It’s insulting really. Teachers should be paid like doctors because as far as I am concerned they are doing something just as important, every single day. Why would we add to their responsibility and give them guns? They are trained to expand our children’s minds not take down an active shooter. They are not trained officers of the law. This is ridiculous.

I would never expect a teacher to be the marksman who has to stand between my child and an active shooter. Have you met a teacher? They are, generally, wonderful, good people who genuinely care about children and want to help them learn and grow in the world. In the moment of truth, I think most teachers would throw themselves in harm’s way to protect their students but they shouldn’t have to.  This isn’t the world we should accept. We need to protect both the teachers and the students.

A school shouldn’t be a dangerous place to go. Going to see a movie shouldn’t be risky. Shopping at the mall with your tweens shouldn’t be potentially life-threatening. I, you, we shouldn’t have to hold our breath and pray every single time our children walk out the door that someone doesn’t murder them simply because they can and they have access to guns.

Today, I was scanning my Facebook feed and a video was shared of a thing called “Shelter in Place” which is basically, a bulletproof room built into the classroom equipped with cameras on the outside so that the classroom after loaded into the makeshift panic room can see when it’s clear. They say takes a few days to install and about 30 seconds to load the entire classroom of children and teacher into the “shelter”. I’m wondering what your thoughts are about this?

Here are mine, do I love that it can potentially save my children from a gone wielding maniac? YES! Do I want to live in a world where my children have to live every minute of every single day on the defensive just in case a lunatic with a gun decides he’s having a bad day and wants to shoot them because our government won’t impose common-sense gun control because their egos are more important to them than my child’s life? No!

People have told me that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. This is true but if there were no guns, people couldn’t use guns to kill people. They’ve told me that no matter what.. the “bad people” will always find a way to get guns. And I ask them, is there a secret “bad guy” arms dealer that passes out cards and everyone knows how to find because I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of lazy people out there and if it were harder to get guns, they’d give up trying. Maybe they’d use knives or fists like a real man, give a victim a chance to retaliate.

I’m pretty positive that not every thug on the street or mentally unstable person with an ax to grind would find a gun but when you can walk into any gun store and get one, that makes a difference.

I won’t lie, if it were up to me, no one would have guns but the police and the military because they are trained to use their weapons and that is their job. I get that people don’t like to be stripped of their rights but people also need to realize that the constitution was written at a time when the right to bear arms was necessary. We didn’t have a competent military yet and the people needed to be ready to form a militia and fight if need be. They needed to have their own arms. It was like a BYOB party but the second B was actually a gun and the party was a war. Make sense now?

What I’m saying is that your right to bear arms argument doesn’t hold water these days. Just be honest, you “want” to own firearms because it makes you feel powerful in a world where most of us are powerless. It makes you feel strong in a world where we are vulnerable. But it’s false bravery. A gun is only as effective as the gun owner who is holding it. If you are not properly trained, just because you have a gun doesn’t mean you can actually protect yourself. In fact, you’ll probably just piss off an attacker and he’ll shoot you in the face.

That’s the thing, the bad guys aren’t announcing their attack. They are getting you when you are vulnerable; when you’re sleeping, watching a movie with your kid or your kid is at school trying to figure out that damn common core math or taking the iStep tests. My point is that if the guns were not available, a lot less innocent people would be getting murdered. Statistics don’t lie and as much as you want to argue with me and call me names, you know that is true.

I don’t want to take your guns away from you. I want to keep all of our kids safe. This isn’t about you or making you feel weak; it’s about protecting our children. It’s about not living in a world where our children don’t even scoff or think anything is scary about being taught to run, hide and fight. They just do it. It’s about not having to teach my girls to bob and weave if they escape. It’s about not having to have secret words and panic rooms in classrooms. It’s about not having to worry if your child’s teacher is the sort who would through himself between a bullet and your child. It’s about all of us feeling a little safer, a little braver and a little kinder. It’s about polar bears not being a threat in the hallway, a movie theater, a concert or a mall ever again.

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parenting, gun control, hiding in a bathroom, attack

Ever think about what it really means that we are parenting in a world where it’s completely necessary to teach our children what to do in case someone enters the the building with a gun? Something happened last week that left me more than a little freaked out. I haven’t talked about it on here because I didn’t know where to start. I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to talk about it because then I had to admit that it was real.

But then in the news I read that a couple people had been shot and murdered at our local Texas Roadhouse. It was a Sunday night. It’s a family restaurant. Can you imagine going out for dinner with your family and being caught in crossfire? Can imagine what you would do if you were sitting there with your child?

We’d all like to think that it would never happen to us. That mass shootings, or a madman on the loose with a firearm, happens someplace else; anywhere else. It just doesn’t happen here because then we would have to face our greatest fear every single time we walked out of the door. We’d have to accept that every moment outside the bubble of our home puts those we love most at risk. So we push it down, way down. We throw caution to the win and we don’t let the “terrorists” win (the terrorists being crazies with guns). But sometimes, it does happen here. There. To you. It can happen to any of us.

Last week, I was at the mall with my daughters and my mother-in-law school shopping. The sun was shining. The guys were at a thing and us girls, we were just having a relaxing day of buying things we needed to back-to-school and “mannequin shopping” (as my youngest refers to window shopping) for those things on our wish list. It was a day like so many others but not quite. We had no idea what was about to transpire.

We had hit all the stores we needed to hit and were hitting Sears as a last ditch effort to find the correct size in uniform shirts and shorts for my tall and thin children before we were going to let the girls go someplace they actually wanted to go…Claire’s and Justice. After much searching, we finally found some uniform polos that would work.  As we neared the register, the littlest one tells me that she needs to go to the restroom. Of course she does, she always has to go to the restroom. I think she is secretly surveying all the bathrooms in the world. She’ll probably start some amazing yelp like service for toilets when she’s a tween but I digress. This is serious shit and I’m getting off track.

My mother-in-law stays in line with my oldest to pay and the little one and I go to the restroom. In case you were wondering, my girls are 9 and 11-years-old and, no, I still don’t let them go to the restroom unaccompanied because I simply don’t trust people. She went to one stall, while I went to another (hey, that’s progress) and then it happened.

I was washing my hands while she was still in the stall. I was chatting to her, letting her know that I was waiting outside the stall door. She was cracking jokes and laughing, as she is known to do. She is a really silly kid. I love that about her.  Then we heard it, something off in the distance outside the women’s restroom door. Something like I’ve never heard before. It sounded like a child tantruming and very agitated but it was clearly an adult man. I could hear the tension escalation and nearing us.

I was really confused because when we had walked into the restroom, through the furniture section, there were three seemingly normal grown men sitting there. Yet, this howling, agitated screaming and shouting was getting louder and louder and I could hear arguing. My heart was racing. Oh my God, what’s about to happen?

These are the moments in parenting where you find out who you really are.

So, I started rapping on my daughter’s stall but I wasn’t saying anything because I didn’t want anyone outside the bathroom to know we were in there. I didn’t want to call attention to our location. Then in a panic, I whisper shouted, “Gabi, let me in. It’s mommy.” She did. I could see on her face that she was terrified. I tried to calm her with my eyes but I knew the voices were getting closer and louder and even more agitated with each step.

I pushed her to the back of the stall. I told her to be quiet and make herself small. Hide as best you can in a stall. I had no idea what was coming through that door. I feared it could be a man with a gun. I was terrified but not for me or my safety, but for my daughter; my littlest girl. All I could think of was those poor men trapped in the bathroom at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

I readied myself for the worst. I positioned myself in between the door and my child and I braced it with all of my weight. I was looking through the crack in the stall when a huge, mentally challenged man came bursting through the door. He was pacing back and forth and hitting himself in the head; clearly agitated. He was hitting the stall door next to me. No one else was in there except for him and us. I wanted to cry and scream for help but I had to stay silent and keep my composure. He was out of control and not in his right mind.

Then, an elderly woman, I’m assuming his mother, burst into the bathroom. She grabbed him and tried to subdue him. Her eye caught mine looking through the slit in the stall. I’m sur she could see the terror in my eyes. She was tiny and he was massive. I wanted to help her but he was twice my size and while her concern was her child, mine was my own child. We stayed in there, silently hiding from this man for what seemed like forever. I’m sure it was only a few minutes.

I heard her talking to him with a mother’s love and trying to calm him down. She pulled him into the handicapped stall next to us. He was still screaming and howling and I could hear him hitting himself. I couldn’t even breathe but I had to stay strong for my daughter. Then, I heard the mom shut the stall door and tell him, “just stay here with me and breathe for a minute,” and I knew it was our chance.

I quietly opened the stall door, checked to make sure it was safe and slipped out with my daughter safely tucked behind me. I was a human shield, just in case, he flew back out of the stall agitated. My daughter was trembling, as I held her close to me. We got outside of the door and finally exhaled.

And there sitting, laughing, were the three grown men. The same men who watched me walk into the restroom with my little girl. The same men who saw this mentally deficient, unstable man flipping out and proceeded to watch him enter the restroom where my daughter and I were at, all the while doing nothing. The same men who watched as a frail, tiny elderly woman went in to face a huge, agitated and angry man. They laughed. My daughter was trembling and they laughed. The only reason I didn’t stop and say something to them was because I didn’t know if that man was going to come running out of the bathroom, still unstable. My priority was getting my daughter to safety. Instead, I went to the cashier and they sent security.

This is the world we live in. The world where grown man do nothing while a child is in danger.  A world where no one, other than this man’s mother, thought it was enough to check on him, even though he was screaming, yelling and hitting himself. A world where my little girl cried when we got home because she was too scared to answer the door at first and she felt guilty. A world where my first thought was that someone was coming in to shoot us.

The sad reality is we’re parenting in a world where any of us can become a victim of gun violence at any time.

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civil rights, alton sterling, philandro castile, gun control, change gonna come

I’m writing this tonight because if I don’t write it down, I’ll probably implode. This is not for you. I don’t care if anyone ever reads this piece. It is for me and maybe for my children to read some day. Today, I am at a loss for words. All I can find is tears. Today, my heart is heavy with disappointment and frustration in a world gone crazy; a world killing itself out of fear and hatred.

Cops are murdering young, black men for nothing more than simply being born with black skin. Black women are being forced to sit and watch as their partner sits dying in the seat beside them quietly. They can’t scream and rage like any normal human being would do in their position for fear of being shot dead themselves, another casualty of this war on black America. Their wails of pain are silenced by threats and even when they fight, they are beaten back like animals; stripped of every shred of humanity and respect. I’m shocked but I don’t know why, isn’t this the way it’s always been for African Americans in America?

Small children, even a 4-year-old girl, knows better than to make a ruckus when a white cop has a weapon drawn on a car full of African Americans. She knows that the price of crying, reacting or simply moving, recoiling in fear could cost her her life. This is not the world that I want to live in. This is not the America that I want to raise my children in. I refuse to let my daughters believe that this is okay. I refuse to raise children who stand silent and watch as their fellow brothers and sisters are brutalized and murdered.

In less than 24 hours, not 1 but 2 African American men were shot dead for no other reason than being born black; for no other reason than being stereotyped and profiled by white America. I know it’s not politically correct to say these things but if that’s the case, it shouldn’t be fucking politically correct to do these things. I can’t worry about your hurt feelings while innocent lives are being taken for no reason.

I am furious. I am flabbergasted and I am disgusted with this violence. With this racism. With this idea that we must all sit still, be quiet and mind our fucking p’s and q’s or we will either be threatened to be sent back to where we came from or sent on to meet our maker. I want to rage and I want to fight. I’ve never been one for silence but I think the time to fight harder, yell louder and take an unmovable stand has come. Life should not be this hard for someone just because their skin has color.

Diamond Reynolds kept her composure enough to record the aftermath of the shooting of her fiancé, Philandro Castile. The normal reaction, by any human being, would be to freak the fuck out; to wail and rage but she couldn’t even be afforded that one simple human dignity and she knew that. She knew from years of living with black skin that she had to maintain her composure or she could end up shot too, sitting there bleeding out in front of her child. She knew that every moment could be her last. She didn’t have the luxury of being treated like a human being who just lost someone she loved.

These unspeakable acts of violence have been perpetrated against African Americans for as long as they have been in America. They came here as slaves and for the most part have been treated as less than ever since. They are human beings. We are all human beings. Do we not all bleed the same if injured?

The problem is that in America, a person of color can never escape this cloud of less than-ness put upon them by white America because you can never escape the color of your skin. You can hide a lot of shit but you cannot hide the color of your skin and in the United States that alone is enough to get you killed. That alone is a liability in our America.

If you think any of this is alright, you are wrong. There is no “but” in this situation. Humans all deserve to be treated as humans. There shouldn’t be gradients of human rights and dignity. We are all the same. We are all fucking equal. I’ve tried this coexisting shit for too long. I’ve tried believing the best in people and have been let down again and again. I can’t take the disappointment any more. There are lives as stake.

I know there are good people in this world of all colors, creeds, religions, shapes, sizes, cultures, and lifestyles and that’s who I want in my life and I think that is most of you. But anyone who thinks it’s okay to hate or be complacent in a world in desperate need of fighters of oppression, I just don’t have the room in my heart to hate you back so please just go away.

I honestly don’t know how black America has kept it’s head up for so many years, patiently waiting for a change to come. They have had to fight tooth and nail for every scrap of dignity and respect white America allows them. This is not right. We cannot allow this to go on. The Civil Rights revolution was fought and “won” before I was even born so why are we still living in an American where black Americans have to fight for their right to be treated like humans?

White America this is your chance to right the wrongs of our ancestors. Stand together with your brother. Use your voice to demand human equality. Use your voice to hold those who perpetrate these unprovoked, heinous crimes against black humanity accountable. You need to make the change. Black America has had to fight too long and too hard on their own. We need to make America better for all of us and that means fighting together against the oppressors of freedom for us all.

I pray a change is gonna come.

 

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Nakia Jones, Alton Sterling, gun control, cops gone rogue

I just watched the videos of the murder of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and I am sick and disgusted. I am fucking angry. Why does this keep happening? Why do we live in a world where it is acceptable, with only a slap on the wrist, for cops to kill people for nothing more than being black? Where we are actually considering actively electing a blatant racist to the highest office of our government and where the right to own a gun is more important than the right to live? What the fuck, America?

As a human being, I cannot process the news lately and I can’t understand how intelligent people can keep allowing this to happen. The saddest part of all, none of this is new and that is what disappoints me the most. We’re a nation stuck on stupid and those of us who know better need to work harder, scream louder, fight stronger and stand together to stop this from happening again….and again….and again. I don’t want to live in this loop of senseless death and disregard for human life any longer. I am angry. I am past sad and have gone directly to furious.

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was standing in the parking lot selling CDs, as he had for years, when two cops, officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, arrived on Tuesday night in response to a 911 call about a man threatening someone with a gun.

Only Sterling was not brandishing a weapon, according to witness Abdullah Muflahi. Sterling did have a gun on him (but isn’t that what all the Second Amendment supporters have been fighting for?) but it was concealed in his pocket and not in his hand. By Wednesday morning Sterling was dead after a jumpy cop unloaded his weapon into his chest and protesters were in the streets of Baton Rouge.

Update: Not even 24 hours later, Philando Castile was shot dead in the driver’s side of his car after being pulled over for a broken taillight in Falcon Heights Minnesota. When he was told to present his license and registration, he disclosed that he was licensed and carrying a concealed weapon. Before he knew what had happened, the cop fired on Philando Castile. His fiance Diamond Reynolds Facebook lived the aftermath. Castile was left sitting in the car dying, the cop still had his gun drawn on the car with the woman and her 4-year-old child still sitting in the car. Mr. Castile was guilty of nothing. His only offense was being born black. What is this world coming to?

The thing is that is not enough. It can’t be one group of people or one city, we all need to stand up and say no more; as a nation…as a people…as the human race. We have to put the world on notice that we will allow no more reckless, senseless killings of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. No more.

It’s not just about the cops, though there certainly seems to be a God complex that goes along with the protect and serve oath and why are some Caucasian cops afraid of black and brown men? Is it your racism showing? Is it your guilty heart of decades of treating other human beings like animals?

Alton Sterling, gun control, cops gone rogue, Nakia Jones

This problem, it’s about people. It’s about those of us who are allowing this kind of behavior to be tolerated and swallowed whole all the while it’s choking us to death. It’s about the people who are racist and allowed to take an oath to protect and serve a community and given a gun but who only want to protect and serve those who look like them. I thought they gave psychological evaluations before allowing someone to join the force? Are God complexes and racism not grounds for not allowing someone to be an officer?

We can’t wish away this problem. We can’t just talk about it. We need to stand up against it. We need to put ourselves in the line of fire and take a risk to save a nation that is slowly killing itself. Complacency is a fucking disease and it should be a sin because if you are doing nothing to find a solution, you are part of the problem. Your silence is noted. I see you. Just as clearly as I see those who speak up, stand up and fight for better. Everyone sees you and your sin of silence just as clearly as we see those who perpetrate these heinous crimes.

I cried when I saw the video of Alton Sterling being shot twice in the chest and 4 more times. I cried when I saw the video of Philando Castile bleeding out in the front seat of his car in front of his girlfriend and her little girl. I cried because this is the world we live in and this is what we’ve all come to not only accept but expect! I cried because I was angry and sick. I cried because these men were shot in the streets like animals. I cried for their families who lost him; children who lost their daddy. I cried for their parents, brothers and sisters. But mostly, I cried for the sheer terror and betrayal that must have been going through these men’s heads in their final moments when looking up at the very people who are supposed to protect us from the bad people, shooting them dead.

Then, I saw this video of Officer Nakia Jones of Cleveland, Ohio and she gave me hope. Don’t feel hopeless. Do something about it. Watch this video and know that we are all just people. These cops that we hear about shooting and killing our children are not the only ones on the force, there are good guys too. There are officers like Nakia Jones who live their lives to protect and serve their community and they feel as strongly as we do that this is bullshit and has to stop.

Be the change you want to see in the world! If you want to stop the next Alton Sterling from being murdered, challenge yourself to do more than just talk about it and forget about it.

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gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster, semi automatic weapon

I’ve been mulling over my thoughts on gun control, the Nay voters in the Senate that essentially voted for the rights of terrorists to have guns, the NRA and today’s Senate sit-in. There is so many terrible things happening in the world lately and with the mass shootings especially, to me, it feels like voting against people on terrorist watch lists having the right to purchase assault weapons would be a no-brainer. We don’t allow them to fly because they used planes against us on 9/11 but domestic terrorists use guns against us so often that it’s becoming common place and yet, we still allow them access to assault weapons. Let me tell you, it’s a hell of a lot harder to hijack a plane than it is to shoot someone with an assault weapon that it took 7 minutes to buy at the gun show. I honestly think the real problem is that most people don’t truly understand the 2nd Amendment so here is a better explanation of the right to bear arms. I have degrees that focused on Political Science, History, Government, law, criminology and sociology and sometimes, I forget that not everyone has the comprehensive understanding that I do.

semi automatic weapon, gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster

Just one week after a Senate filibuster forced a vote on gun control measures and a few days after the Republicans stymied that vote (and we all became aware of what each senator was paid in exchange for his/her part in supporting the NRA) the Democrats in the House of Representatives are done with this political bullshit! Enough is enough. Hell no! We won’t go! They are holding a good old-fashioned sit-in on the floor to try to get the Republicans to relent and I’ve never been prouder to be a democrat than I am today. This day in Congress brought to you by the Democrats!

I have been pissed off since June 20th when I found out that most of the Republican party voted Nay to the gun control measures and instead voted for the right of suspected terrorists and their right to bear arms. Yes, our Republican party is so hell bent on not crossing party lines that they would rather sell assault weapons to people on the Terrorist Watch List than protect our children from being shot while sitting in a classroom, dancing in a club in Orlando or just living in general. There are a lot of shitty, hateful people in the world with access to guns.

gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster

What’s worse still, we found out that almost everyone on the Nay list has taken funds from the NRA. Some of the Senators on the list sold their soul for free while others voted for your children to have the right to be shot for as little as $2000. Think about that? That means these people think your child’s life is disposable.

gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster

Thankfully, there are people in the Senate who care about our children’s lives than some macho misconception that in order to be free you must be able to own an assault weapon. Unfortunately, most of our Republican senators think the right to bear arms is more important than your right to hold your children in your arms. I’ve never made a secret about the fact that I’m anti-gun and my feeling that the right to bear arms is an antiquated one. Yes, I’ve been called all the names by all the right wing NRA, gun waving “true” Americans; liberal left wing C*NT seems to be the most popular. Anyways, f*ck your right to bear arms. What about my right to see my children grow to adulthood? What about my right to not worry every single time that I leave them that it’s the last because some psycho with an assault weapon might decide he’s having a bad day and needs to kill some people to feel better about himself?

The second amendment was added to our constitution at a time when we needed a militia. PERIOD. We don’t need general population Americans to be able to assemble and fight for their freedom. We have troops for that now; men and women who have been trained in combat. I don’t need John P. Anybody who lives next door having ready access to assault weapons to shoot kids walking through his yard for trespassing. No one hunts with a semi-automatic or automatic assault weapon, unless the point of the hunt is to obliterate the animal for sport.

I know that many people hold on to their right to bear arms like their right to breathe but I assure you that the second amendment has outlived its usefulness.

Gun control reform is needed in order to protect our citizens from real people with guns more than gun owners need to protect themselves from imagined threats.

 

gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It is a dinosaur and it needs to be changed. It is not your right to own a gun so you can wave it around whenever you feel like someone has wronged you. It’s not your right to shoot people you don’t like because they looked at you wrong. It’s not your right to shoot someone you hate because you don’t agree with the color of their skin, their religion, their culture, their race or their life choices. You are not God just because you own a gun.

But today, I feel hopeful because people are standing up (well, sitting in) for what’s right. What I can’t understand is how the same people who are adamantly Pro-Life for unborn children, don’t give a f*ck about my living child’s safety. My living children’s lives are worth less to them than their personal right to bear arms. Are children like cars do they start losing their value the moment they leave the womb?

Finally, some politicians are getting it right.

gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster

The time for silence and patience is long gone,” Representative John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and hero of the civil rights movement who is leading the sit-in, said in a stirring speech Wednesday morning.

“The American people are demanding action. Do we have the courage; do we have the raw courage to make at least a down payment on ending gun violence in America?”

“Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary.”

“Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way!”

Then Representative Lewis and his fellow Democrats sat down on the floor and began chanting,

“No bill, No break!”

It’s time we all do our part. We’ve been backing down in the face of the right to bear arms for far too long. The NRA would have you believe that to revoke the second amendment would be to infringe on the human rights of our fellow Americans. The NRA is full of bullies. It’s like a gang of big, dumb kids who don’t know how to use their words and resort to violence in the face of controversy. We Democrats, we are like the smart kids at school. But we can’t be scared of these small minded bullies anymore, our children’s lives might depend on it. We can’t back down this time.

Gun control can’t be more important to us than children’s lives.

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mass shooting, gun control, LGBTQ, Orlando, Florida, Pulse, Shooting, Gay Community, Pride, Omar Mateen, Eddie Justice, Mina Justice

My heart has been breaking since learning about the mass shooting that took place at “Orlando’s Premier Gay club”, Pulse, early Sunday morning leaving 49 victims dead and 53 wounded. I’m saddened and sickened for so many reasons. I could write about ISIS, terrorism, bigotry, racism and hate but what saddens me the most is that 49 mothers and fathers lost their child last night because a lunatic with a gun decided he wanted it to be so.

49 unsuspecting people thought it was just another Saturday night. Actually, it was a pretty special night, it was the eve of Pride Day. If ever there was a night to celebrate as a LGBTQ person (or a human being for that matter) it is the night when we all feel like there is a little less hate and lot more love and acceptance in the world. A day when we feel closer to a world of human equality and further from separation.Today the entire world feels vulnerable and helpless; victimized and terrified. We are angry that this was allowed to happen again but don’t let the anger turn to hate. Hate is what got us here to this moment of childless mothers and fathers, in the first place.

That’s what I was feeling yesterday, as I rode the 15-hour drive home from Boston and saw all the smiling, celebratory faces of my friends, celebrating at Pride Parades and block parties. I felt the pride all last week while I was in Boston and glorious rainbows adorned all of the buildings and landmarks around the city. I could feel the acceptance in the air, it was palpable.

But last night, the ugliness of hatred and stupidity reared up its head and stole the lives of 49 children from their parents. No, they were not small children like the victims of Sandy Hook but anyone who has a child knows that our children are always “our children” no matter how old or how big they get. It is our most primal instinct to protect them and love them as fiercely as our hearts will allow; to give our lives in place of theirs without hesitation or thought.

When I read the story of Mina Justice and the texts that she received from her terrified son, Eddie Justice, while he hid in the bathroom from a gun wielding bigot, afraid for his life, my heart shattered into a million pieces. It’s horrid that any one person had to die so senselessly in such a brutal way for no reason at all other than for being who they were meant to be and loving who they were born to love. But to see his own words in the texts to his mother; to know his fear was almost too much to bare. I can only imagine what his mother must have been feeling.

As a mother, I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and die. I wanted to run to this mother and hold her and tell her that it was all going to be alright. That her son was fine. Like this was some primetime drama and at the end, everybody would walk away just fine and the bad man would be apprehended but that’s not how it happens in real life.

In real life, bad things happen to good people. Terrible unthinkable things happen to unsuspecting people who’ve done nothing more than live their lives, openly and freely. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, lose their loved ones because bad people with no scruples are allowed to obtain guns because, apparently, the right to bear arms trumps the right to live in our United States.

We are becoming desensitized to the point where when we see shootings on the news, it’s no longer shocking unless it’s a mass shooting.

People are outraged, screaming that terrorists are targeting and murdering the LGBTQ community and I agree with their outrage but for me, it’s much simpler. Someone murdered 49 children, his name was Omar Mateen.  He was an American-born man, a domestic terrorist, who called 911 before carrying out this ghastly task and pledged his allegiance to ISIS, while referencing the Boston Marathon bombers. He then chose to gun down 50 innocent people. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11.

Mateen somehow managed to carry an assault rifle and a pistol into a packed club around 2 a.m. Sunday morning and started shooting, he murdered 49 people and wounded at least 53. After a three-hour standoff, while 350 people were trapped inside the club desperately calling and messaging friends and relatives, police crashed into the building with an armored vehicle and stun grenades and killed Mateen.

Omar Mateen was 29-years-old, lived in Fort Pierce, Florida and had been interviewed not once but twice, in 2013 and again in 2014, by the FBI but was found both times to not be a threat. They were wrong. In the past two weeks Mateen legally purchased a Glock pistol and a long gun, ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Trevor Velinor told reporters.

Authorities spoke with Mateen’s father and ex-wife and both said that Omar Mateen was not particularly religious but his father said that recently, Omar saw two men kissing in Miami and it offended him. His ex-wife says that she thinks he was bipolar but was never formally diagnosed. Sounds to me like he was a bigot with a gun; a bully.

49 moms and dads are beside themselves trying to figure out how to live without their children alive to love. 49 childless mothers are sobbing primally because their world has been destroyed. 49 childless fathers are looking at the door expecting their child to return, knowing they never will; feeling a void that is so massive that it feels as if their heart will crush beneath the weight of it.

Today the entire world feels vulnerable and helpless; victimized and terrified. We are angry that this was allowed to happen again but don’t let the anger turn to hate. Hate is what got us here to this moment of childless mothers and fathers, in the first place.

Channel your hatred, anger, helplessness and vulnerability into change. Donate blood. Be kind to strangers. Treat people as humans. Don’t judge people for who they love, the color of their skin or the God they worship. Be a voice for the mothers and fathers who cannot speak or barely breathe, those who lost everything because one evil man was able to possess a gun and with that gun he chose to murder people just because he could.

We have to say no more, stand up for those who need protection and be the change we want to see in the world. The time for  expecting others to make things happen has passed. We have to vote, risk and force the change. Next time, it could be one of our children.

What would you be willing to risk in order to prevent another mass shooting?

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gun control, san bernadino, mental illness, parenting, parenting in the time of chaos, throat punch thursday

My mind has been swirling with all the mass shootings and talk of gun control or should I say, lack thereof? Between Trump, shootings and racists using a burned out van to vilify all the Mexicans, I felt I was due for a Throat Punch Thursday post.

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately feeling nostalgic for my “good old days of blogging.” You remember, the days when I used to stay up to all hours of the night documenting my trials and tribulations of early motherhood after the babies went to sleep? I miss the whole exhausted, cut your wrists, open up a vein and bleed all over your keyboard days.

I miss the days before monetization, SEO and giving a damn who was reading and who I might be offending. I really miss my regular Throat Punch Thursdays so here I am, opening up my veins.

I know sometimes I’m controversial. I know that I’m political and opinionated but I think you come here to read the real truth through my mom goggles not rose-colored bullshit that’s strictly politically correct. Nothing I say should come as a surprise. I’ve never changed my opinion on gun control, ever.

Anyone who has ever met me knows that I am a lot of things but politically correct is not one of them. I have a giant heart with all the feels and not a lick of filter on my words. I’m passionate and I need to write things out to navigate the mucky waters of my mind.

Which brings me to todays rant, first Throat Punch Thursday in awhile, gun control. If you have ever read me before, you know that I believe that there should be stricter gun control. My belief is that people with guns kill people. Guns are not necessary. They were once, when we needed people to readily mobilize into a militia but we are way passed those days.

We live in a world where we’ve had more mass shootings this year than we have days in the year. We are no longer shocked when we hear that there has been another mass shooting, we expect it. We simply hold our breaths until we find out that our loved ones are not within range and then we exhale and pray to make it through another day. It sickens me that this is what it has come to.

Every single morning that I drop my daughters off at school, I kiss them and tell them that I love them. I watch them as they walk into the building. I watch them until they are through all three sets of glass doors and then, as I pull away, I pray that no one shoots them while they are trying to get an education, trying to grow up. I hold my breath every day until they walk back through the door. Every siren makes my heart jump into my mouth. This is what the world has come to.

My daughters have “drills” they do on the regular to learn appropriate protocol for what to do in case a gun wielding “madman” gains access into the building. I pray a lot. The Democrats say we need stricter gone control and the Republicans say we need better mental health. I agree with both.

Honestly, I wish we lived in a world where there were no guns. I hate violence and I think most people who have guns don’t need them. We live in a country where a person dies every 16 minutes from a gun. The scariest part is that people are being shot in places where they should be safe, where people are most vulnerable. No one is expecting to go to church, the movies or school and get shot or die.

Current gun control is not acceptable.

The staggering reality is this, anyone can buy a shotgun and almost anyone can get a handgun by applying for a license and waiting a few days. There are no required classes, training or enforced restrictions on keeping and owning a gun. Simply apply, wait, take your gun home and hope you don’t shoot yourself of your kids don’t find it.

This is what REALLY scares me. I had an actual conversation with someone I know, who appears by all accounts intelligent and worldly. We were having a deep conversation about mental health and a suspected diagnosis. My suggestion was get help; make an appointment, see a psychiatrist to get an accurate diagnosis and a psychologist to talk it all out.

On mental health, I am a firm believer in get help. Screw “what people think”. I’ve been on both sides of it and it’s always better to seek treatment than to try to deal with it on your own. The response I got shocked me, “I’m afraid to see a psychiatrist because if I have an official diagnosis in my record, it may restrict me from being able to purchase a gun in the future. “ It was everything I could do to not let my jaw hit the ground. This is a person who already owns guns and is not a hunter. These guns are for protection but with an undiagnosed, untreated diagnosis his biggest danger to him is himself.

So basically, our gun laws are just making those who might be mentally ill avoid getting treatment because it might interfere with their right to bear arms. Is this really what we want? Mentally ill people ignoring their mental illness so they can have guns in a full on state of crazy? Wouldn’t it just be safer for all of us if there were no guns?

What kind of world do we live in where the mentally ill are so afraid of the stigma of illness that they’d rather be suicidal and a danger to themselves and others than go to a doctor and have to disclose that they got help for a diagnosis? Wouldn’t we rather people be treated and healthy than undiagnosed and on the loose buying guns at will? How did our values get so screwed up? When did we start vilifying sick people? Why do we need so many fucking guns anyway?

I feel like I’m ranting but it’s because I’m mad that this keeps happening. Isn’t this the exact definition of insanity? What is it going to take for people to realize that its time to change our policies? I don’t want to be afraid to send my girls to school. I’m tired of being afraid that every trip to a public place could be our last.

gun control, san bernadino, mental illness, parenting, parenting in the time of chaos, throat punch thursday

We need more than just thoughts and prayers, we need deeds and actions if we want to make this world a safer, better place for our children to live in. I’m sick and tired of living in a world where every time I see my girls walk away, it could be the last time.

What are your thoughts on gun control, San Bernadino and all of this?

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caroline Sparks, Kristian Sparks,gun control, gun safety, NRA, parenting, Kentucky

Throat Punch Thursday,Guns, gun control, gun safety,guns, Caroline Sparks, Kristian Sparks, Crickett Rifle, parenting, child safety, NRAHow many children have to be “accidentally” shot and killed before people start to lock up their fucking guns? How many children have to die before we accept that our babies and their safety is more important than being able to own a gun? This week’s Throat Punch goes to gun owners who do not lock up their guns and give their children guns before they are even in Kindergarten.

In Southern Kentucky, the cutest little 2-year-old girl, Caroline Sparks, with big blue eyes and blonde hair was accidentally shot dead this week by her 5-year-old brother, Kristian Sparks. The little boy received the .22 caliber Crickett rifle, with which he fatally shot his sister, as a birthday gift.

The little Crickett is a single-shot rifle that has a child safety. How ironic is that? The Crickett website features .22 –caliber rifle models for little kids with stock colors ranging from pink to red and white and blue swirls, for the ultimate girly girl. “My first rifle” is the company’s slogan. Sweet, does that come with a camo jacket that says “Kills People Dead!”

caroline sparks, kristian sparks, gun control, gun safety, NRA, Kentucky, Guns, gun control, gun safety, Caroline Sparks, Kristian Sparks, Crickett Rifle, parenting, child safety, NRA

In that part of the country, it is not unheard of for young children to learn how to handle a gun for hunting and many of them have guns handed down to them or given to them for special occasions. I know this to be true because I lived in Tennessee where they share that mentality. I used to teach 5-year-olds who would regularly look forward to going hunting with their daddies.

The children’s mother said she was cleaning and stepped out for a second when she heard the shot. The little boy was playing with his rifle when it accidentally discharged and killed his baby sister. The family insists that they kept the rifle in a place considered to be a safe spot.

Okay, I don’t even know where to start. First off, I don’t even believe in giving kids play guns, let alone real fucking guns with actual bullets. Secondly, obviously this “considered to be safe” spot was not very hard to access or safe. This rifle should have been locked up and not loaded. Unless this little boy was being trained to be a sniper, or they expected a 5-year-old to protect the family from intruders trying to enter their trailer, why the fuck would it be loaded?

The gun should have never been in the house with children that small in the first place, especially if it was not locked up. A 5-year-old sees this as a toy. He has no way of having the reverence and concern for safety that an adult should.

I know this was an accident and this family tragically lost their little girl but why would anyone leave children unattended, even for a second, in a home where the gun is not unloaded and locked up. It’s like playing a game of Russian roulette with your children’s lives. Guess what? The bullet was in the chamber and now a little girl is dead and a little boy has to grow up and live with that.

Even more shocking to me is the accompanying video in which the Grandmother, Linda Riddle, looked like a deranged lunatic who kept smiling, which I am assuming is a nervous tick. Riddle said she is devastated, but comforted knowing that her granddaughter is in a better place.

“It was God’s will. It was her time to go, I guess,” she told WLEX. “I just know she’s in heaven right now and I know she’s in good hands with the Lord.”

WHAT??? It was not God’s will that the little girl ended up with a bullet in her. It was bad parenting and poor choices in birthday gifts. Hey, people stop giving your kids guns as gifts and for the love of God, Lock up YOUR FUCKING GUNS!!!!

I am sick to death of children dying senselessly because they had access to a gun. Please don’t give me the ”guns don’t kill people, people do” response because if this country weren’t flooded with guns ( licensed and not) we wouldn’t be mourning all of these senseless deaths. Bottom line is that people are just not responsible enough to own guns and procreate so we need to eliminate one or the other. We have to keep having children so the species survives, so that leaves one answer; GET.RID.OF.THE.GUNS!!!!

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Chicago, Facebook Live, Throat Punch Thursday,Brittany Herring, Hate Crime, Donald Trump

Throat Punch Thursday,guns, sandy hook, valeria levitin

There is so much going on this week. I was not going to post a Throat Punch this week because I wanted some levity and none of us need to feel more down. So, if you don’t want to read about what is about to make my head explode, by all means, please don’t continue on today. I have to write it out because keeping it in is triggering me so I will start with my litany of stupidity int he world now.

First, there is a woman who has written a blog post, which I will most certainly not link to because I refuse to drive traffic to her conspiracy theories, and she is convinced that there is a government conspiracy because the media has not cross examined the only survivors of Sandy Hook. You know the two children and the nurse who hid in the closet for 4 hours who saw unthinkable things and have been traumatized by these events? Maybe the media is being human because if they tried to be any other way, the general public would lynch them. Did you know that there are people who actually exist and believe that the Aurora shootings and the Sandy Hook shootings are nothing more than government orchestrated murders done to further a gun control agenda? Wait. Stop. Re-read that. These are the same people who are stock piling guns and ammunition. They really exist and they are dangerous. I thought conspiracy theorists only existed in the movies with Mel Gibson and in the minds of acute schizophrenics but no, they are alive and well. These are the same people who think that the Holocaust, the walk on the moon, the Kennedy assassination and the death of Elvis, Tupac and 9/11 are all hoaxes orchestrated by the government. I am appalled and shocked and I am afraid.

Valeria Levitin, world's thinnest woman, anorexia

Second, there is a woman in Monaco, Valeria Levitin, who weighs only 56 pounds. She is quite literally a walking skeleton. She is fighting for her life. She is losing. But in a world obsessed with being thin, she is getting fan mail. Do people not realize that idolizing her and cheering her to continue on and share her method of destruction makes them as culpable as cheering “jump” to a person on a ledge. My God, what is wrong with people?

Third, people who are saying that the culprit is not that Adam Lanza was armed but that he was mentally ill. I take a personal offense to these comments. I have a diagnosis. A whole shitload of the world is diagnosed with a mental illness. That does not make us all murderers and we are all more than the sum total of our diagnosis. Adam Lanza was a murdering asshole who had access to guns because there are too many fucking guns in the world. Unless you are a cop or  in the military you don’t need a handgun and if you are hunting, you need a shotgun. If you are none of these, you don’t need a gun. Stop hiding behind your right to bear arms argument. You know what kills people? GUNS in the hands of over zealous, power hungry, vigilantes who think it’s their right to kill in the name of whatever they feel is a threat.

Fourth, People who want to give teachers guns. Teachers are not cops. Teachers go to university to learn to teach our children; to be caregivers. They are people that our children should feel secure to go to not afraid to approach. Believe it or not, guns make some children uncomfortable. That should be their focus. They should not be badged and expected to shoot to kill. That is not their job.If we need security, we need it at the door. We need armed security not teachers carrying guns into the classroom. That is asking for accidental shootings. I’m not afraid of guns, as one reader accused me. I grew up in a house with a gun but I don’t believe in them in households. They have their place and anywhere that a child can get access to and accidentally kill themselves or someone else is not that place.

These are my Throat Punches for this week. Please stop doing stupid shit people of the world. Can’t we all just get along. Pray for the Sandy Hook Elementary victims. Respect the families and survivors, they need love and understanding not conspiracy theories and cross examinations. Love people for who they are on the inside not for superficial first impressions. Show compassion for the mentally ill. They are afflicted and need help, not stigma and judgement. Turn your guns in and keep them out of the hands of bad people who will misuse them. Love your children. Hug them tight and know that your life is blessed because they are in your arms and not in a grave. Tell your child’s teacher thank you for keeping your child safe when they are in their care. Give thanks for your blessings, for they are many. Happy holidays. I truly wish you all love, happiness and safety.

If you want to do something, commit a random act of kindness or #26acts of kindness to honor the victims of Sandy Hook elementary.

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sandy hook elementary, adam lanza

sandy hook elementary, adam lanza

Sandy Hook Elementary We pray for you

Will we ever feel safe again sending our kids off to school in the wake of  the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre? Adam Lanza’s assault on our nation’s children has left many of us feeling the way we did post 9/11, defeated, vulnerable and afraid. But this is much worse because this brutal attack was carried out against the most innocent of us all, small children. Victims who were small children just like my daughters who are 5 and 7.

Sandy Hook Elementary is what my nightmares are made of. What every mother’s nightmares are made of really. This morning, it was all I could do to get my girls dressed and take them to school. I wanted to keep them home, safe, with me. I got them dressed. I lingered a little longer than normal while brushing their hair. I sat with them at breakfast instead of scurrying around trying to tidy up the house. I walked them into school and to their class rooms where I hugged them and kissed them until I had to let go. I told them I loved them and then I walked back to my car with a heavy heart. I drove home, I walked through the door and I sobbed. I am afraid.

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary can happen anywhere.

We spoke to our girls about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary because we knew they would hear about it at school.My girls are only 5 and 7 and I shouldn’t be having to have this conversation but when crazy people armed with guns can walk into a school and start shooting, I would be failing my children if I did not prepare them; have a contingency plan in place for such an event. What kind of world do we live in that we need to have a contingency plan for what to do if a crazed gunman comes into our children’s school? Has the world gone mad?

How will any of us ever feel safe again? Something has got to change.Adam Lanza was a man with mental illness who had much too easy access to guns. I’m hearing people say that the right to bear guns is a fundamental right. They are saying the issue is mental illness not gun control. Mental illness played a part in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, that is for certain but placing blame on just the mental illness serves no purpose but to further stigmatize those afflicted. The issue is that it is too easy for people to access guns. The world is flooded with weapons. Guns are used for one purpose; to kill.People may make the choice to kill someone, but the gun is the method of destruction. Take away the gun and it gets a hell of a lot harder to kill someone.

A gun allows cowards the luxury of standing back and detaching themselves from the heinous crimes they commit. Discharging a gun is less personal than using a weapon that forces a perpetrator to be within a closer proximity to their victim, making it more personal. A semi-automatic is certainly going to make it easier and less stressful to murder small children. I hardly could believe that Adam Lanza, a coward who killed himself instead of facing the effects of what he did, would have been able to kill 27 people had, especially children, had he needed to look into their eyes and see their fear and hear them beg for mercy in their tiny voices.

I will never feel safe again, every time I watch my children walk away in the rear-view mirror, I will be wondering if that will be last time.

Will You ever feel safe again after what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary?

 

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