Thursday, June 18, 2015

Asking Saves Kids

Today, Kristin posted a link to a blog post, Mama in the Now: Asking Saves Kids, in her status.

If you could check that out for a minute, that would be great. If not, I will summarize for you:

There is a campaign, called ASK (Asking Saves Kids- Check that link out, too), which "encourages parents to ASK if there is an unlocked gun in the homes where their children play." There are a lot of statistics about gun violence involving children on the website, which, DISCLAIMER, I have not taken the time to check for accuracy. But anyway, it talks about how there are guns in lots of homes, and many of those guns are in places where children can get to them, which results in accidental deaths. Even if you practice gun safety in your home, you don't know what goes on in other homes. June 21st is National ASK Day, where parents are urged to ask if there are unlocked guns in the home in which their child is playing.

I was kind of shocked that only myself and maybe two other people liked her status. I'm sure other people looked at the link. I wonder if they just didn't agree with the message of the ASK campaign.

I'm not one to post about controversial issues, mostly because I don't use social media to debate (I use it to stalk people's lives. Sorry if that makes you feel violated...), but this campaign got me thinking. 

My dad was a police officer, so there were obviously guns in my house, but I learned about gun safety starting at a very young age. I don't even remember what he said to me about it, because it was just drilled in to my head from the time I was born: guns are not toys. Guns can kill people. There was never a gun laying around my house, and it was never anywhere I could get to it. When I was a little older, I was also taught about the parts of a gun and how it works, so I knew way better than to touch a gun or pull a trigger. Instead of pretending it didn't exist in the house, he talked to me about it.

So, in my opinion, it is irresponsible to keep a gun somewhere a child can get to it. I don't care if it's in your nightstand. Kids can open drawers. Eventually, kids can figure out childproof locks. If you think kids don't realize where you are "hiding" your guns, you are wrong, because kids are curious and much smarter than we give them credit for. You have a gun cabinet and hid the key? I bet your kid could find it and figure out how to use it.

In our society, people get offended way too easily, but it doesn't need to be that way. This is a topic that needs to be discussed for everyone's safety. And gun safety is only the tip of the iceberg. How about we start asking parents if their children are vaccinated? These questions don't need to be offensive. This kind of confrontation does not need to be perceived as aggressive. These are simple, life-saving questions. If you disagree, that's fine, but please respect parents' decisions if they don't let their children be near your children or in your home. They don't hate you, and they aren't being mean or petty. They are concerned parents.

I'm thinking of all the kids I know growing up in Florida, where guns are so easily accessible. I recently heard that one of the kids at the school I used to work at was shot and in critical condition. How horrible. I see people walking around with guns here, and it really makes me wonder how many guns I DON'T see that people are carrying around concealed. I could go buy a gun right now if I wanted. That's a scary thought...

Start the conversation, people. Talk about gun safety, vaccinations, and whatever else you think is important for the safety of your loved ones.

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