Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Becoming a parent changed a lot of things for me--common experience and hardly unique to me. Holding those new infants brought a rush of emotions: wonder, awe, love, joy, worry, exhaustion. Those of you that have experienced it know the drill.
One of the things I struggled with (and still do as they are 18 and 14) was the realization that, for all the love that I felt for these wondrous little creatures, for all I was instantly aware that I was willing to do to protect them, I could not keep them absolutely safe. Could not do it. Could not protect them completely from illness, accident, so many ways they could be harmed.
The peace that I made with this awful vulnerability was that I could partially protect them if not completely. I could take common sense steps to improve their chances of avoiding harm significantly. Not revolutionary stuff--taking them to doctors, getting them appropriately vaccinated, car seats, seat belts, bike helmets, seeing to it that they were appropriately supervised, etc. A parent's life is filled with ensuring this kind of incremental safety measure for the kids, hopefully without turning into one of those awful helicopter Dads that ruins the kid's life in a different way (obsessively anxious hovering that kills their quality of life more slowly but just as surely).
I view the gun issue similarly. What can we agree on that simultaneously protects the Second Amendment rights of responsible gun owners and also keeps our children incrementally safer by making it harder for mentally ill Omar Mateens, Adam Lanzas and Dylann Roofs to have such easy access to weapons? It is inarguable that these men were able to kill as many as they did before they were stopped by the guns they wielded.
I have no interest in taking anyone's guns away. I am under no illusions that common sense, incremental gun safety measures will prevent every or any particular gun crime. I am simply interested in cutting down the odds by making deadly weapons harder for sick individuals to get. Given the far lower rates of gun violence in countries with stricter gun laws, it is ludicrous to argue that those laws have not saved at least some lives.
Waiting periods, background checks, gun locks, gun registries, restricted access to high efficiency killing machines (e.g. AR-15's)--all of that is negotiable. I am willing to leave those negotiations to people of good faith committed to protecting both our freedoms and our children's lives.
I am confident that with that dual commitment, we can do better. After all, we put men on the moon and ushered in a technological revolution that people 50 years ago would have said was sci-fi/fantasy.
As a father and as an American, continuing to do nothing about the scourge of gun violence that threatens my precious children and yours is simply unacceptable. I know we can do better. Who is willing to put aside the usual partisan food-fight (something else I have zero interest in) and engage in a good faith discussion of this pressing issue?
Posted by Ballard Burgher at Tuesday, June 14, 2016