Saturday, July 21, 2012

Living In the Reality We Created

Where are you on the gun issue? I want to weigh in with some politically educated opinion and knowledge but I have none. From what I understand it is far too easy to acquire fire arms, way to legal to possess them, way to impossible to determine who might be walking around with the ability to destroy lives tucked under their jacket of stuffed in their waistband. Truthfully I am not informed well enough to share an opinion on the big political picture gun issue, and clearly, irrefutably there IS an issue.

A lack of educated insight should not however be mistaken for a lack of position. I have a very strong position on guns. "Not in my world, not in my house, not in my children's toy box, not on their video game console, not in the games played on the street. Not in our life" It has not made me a very popular mom. Yes, I pull my son off the street when the gang war-esk games start, and 10 year olds are running around with make believe weapons using quiet peaceful neighbourhood homes, cars and gardens like an urban hand to hand combat jungle. I exchange Birthday and Christmas gifts that arrive sporting gun violence. I once threw an entire present in the garbage complete with miniature plastic scope and hand grenades because I could not return it for something less offensive. (Okay the act may have been fueled partially by a complete 'I can't believe you would even consider that gift Grandma." response.)  My nephews hate coming to hang out with me because my video game selection, while completely appropriate for 4-8 year olds, contains Wii sports, and Lego Star wars not Call of Duty Black Ops or Sniper Elite.

Do I sound paranoid that exposing my children to guns, violence and the virtual extermination of society is going to create in them an appreciation for violence and weaken their regard for human life? I'm not afraid of that at all. I'm not even convinced that those exposures have the power to insight violent rampage fantasies in people who are mentally stable and high functioning. I do however believe that our kids get enough or rather far too much exposure to violence and tragedy in their everyday lives to require the supplement.

It has become inescapable, each and everyday there are stories of gun violence and acts of terror precipitated on innocent unsuspecting people. People who go to neighbourhood block parties, drop by the mall for a new pair of shoes or decide to take in a movie premiere. Students who leave for an education in the morning and end up in a box on the lawn of a university campus in the afternoon.

In the days of my childhood we would play Cops and Robbers and Cowboys and Indians (yes I am that old) for hours upon hours, we would capture the bad guys and draw our weapons and even shoot them at one another, but our imaginations could create without much effort worlds that did not exist beyond our backyards and playgrounds. That is just not possible today. A child cannot imagine a world more violent than exists in reality, for their minds to conceive scenarios more devastating or gruesome than have already been imagined for them in movies, video games and television is incomprehensible, I'm not sure as an adult I could pull it off.

The things others have imagined we have accepted into our lives and in this regard we have fostered the very violence and terror that breaks our hearts and causes us to weep for the world we are raising our children in.

"Not in my world, not in my house, not in my children's toy box, not on their video game console, not in the games played on the street. Not in our life" I, foolishly (or not) choose to envision and encourage our kids to imagine a world free from violence and disregard for human life. Hoping that they might fuel a new reality for a world we have let be imagined way off course.

So the gun issue becomes for me, in my mind, a matter of parents having a position and then having the balls to enforce it in their own homes. Have the conviction to back up your outrage with action. There is no 'on the fence' about this topic and yet so many are. They say I am against guns and violence then they give their kids a ride to the video game store to buy the latest first person assault game. Parents cry over school shootings and send their kids out to play with orange capped AK47s and handguns. Those things don't magically appear in your home, they reside there with your permission and their presence is like a big 'BUT' in a sentence, it erases everything that came before.

Have the resolve to say no when everyone else is following along. If you are truly opposed to a thing make sure what you preach is what you teach.

Gratitude today to all of those doing just that.


Written with a heart overfilled with tears for the families of such senseless tragedy. It is to them we owe our very best efforts to envision a better world through the imaginations of our children.