I’m agoraphobic: in a nutshell, I don’t leave the house for long stretches of time for fear of the outside world. Sound crazy? Probably, but that’s just one of the many mental disorders I suffer from on a daily basis. Last night, something snapped in my brain and all I wanted was to go to a festival. With a quick Google search, I found a Greek festival an hour away from my home. My husband and I packed up our son, and my mother, and headed out. Though my natural instinct is to shy away from large crowds, it was a pleasant experience that our whole family enjoyed.
When I returned home, I learned online that YouTube and The Voice star Christina Grimmie had been shot three times while signing autographs after a performance. Not to make this about me, but the main reason I fear being in large crowds, or outside in general, is because of the ever growing use of guns by dangerous people.
I’m not here to preach about taking away your second amendment right. In fact, most people decry the topic of gun violence after such an incident, but this is the BEST time to have an open discussion: when the wound is still fresh in our memory, and our heart.
The Second Amendment of the Constitution states: “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.” You can read more about it here. During the time in which this was added, it was absolutely necessary, but times have drastically changed. The very definition of amendment is to alter or change a motion, or bill. CHANGE being the keyword. Our society is quite different than it was when the bill was ratified back in the 1700’s.
Let’s not forget that the original Constitution had provisions that protected slavery. Because it was in the Constitution, should we continue with slavery? No; amendments are made for a reason. Societal changes dictate our evolution toward a better country, one without fear for loss of life, and one that protects the rights of its citizens.
Let’s go back to that second amendment right everyone always invokes when the topic of gun violence pops up. No one wants to take guns away completely (okay, maybe some people do, but that’s virtually impossible at this point.), we just want better background checks and longer waiting periods for those who are interested in purchasing a gun. If you have nothing to fear, and are mentally competent, with no prior criminal history, then why should you worry or care about an extra extensive background check? Would there ever be a reason you need a gun a few days earlier than allowed? If you do, why? What do you intend to use the gun for?
What about other weapons? Knives? Rocks? Cars? No leader of a free country will ever be able to eradicate people who want to kill; they will find a way to do it no matter what, but isn’t it our responsibility to make it harder for those people? There’s no background check for a knife, or to pick up a rock off the street, and it’s quite easy to steal cars, but I think we can all agree having easy access to guns, a device that can kill someone without having the need to be near them, is problematic.
When you attempt to adopt a child, a living life, you are put through an astoundingly intricate background check: a life is important, and we want to make sure that fragile life is put into a home full of love, and safety. So why is it easier to buy something that could take away that life without hardship?
I’m not going to make any new friends with this; I get it. A hot topic is a hot topic, and this one seems to be made of lava. But as a parent, and as someone whose heart breaks everytime I turn on the news to see a new gun related death, I have to speak up.
I speak up for the black lives that are continually cut short because of gun violence. I speak up for for the children who are shot every day, either in crossfire, or intentionally. I speak up for the children who are growing up in this country only knowing a life filled with violence. With a little compassion, and a bit more patience, we can make this country what it was meant to be: a safe place to live your life with the freedoms we so diligently fought for. A place without fear, and a place of love, and peace.