I came across this article in my news feed on Facebook today–and while I generally try to keep my timeline politics-free—in this instance, I decided to break my rules and make an exception. The article, which you can read for yourself in its entirety HERE , shares a photograph a mother uploaded to social media of her 3-year-old daughter standing on the toilet seat in the family’s bathroom, and along with it, just an incredibly powerful, thought-provoking, eye-opening caption that literally had me in tears. This is that photograph and the caption (for those of you that aren’t click-happy):
“ I took this picture because initially I thought it was funny. I was going to send it to my husband to show what our mischievous little three-year-old was up to. However, The moment she told me what she was doing I broke down. She was practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom. At that moment all innocence of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone.
Politicians – take a look. This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grand children and future generations to come. They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door?
No one thinks gun control will be 100% crime control. But maybe, just maybe, it helps 1% or 2% or 50%? Who knows unless we try? Why on earth are there not universal background checks? Where is a universal registration database? Why are high capacity magazines ever permitted to be sold to anyone other than direct to the military? Is that really necessary to protect yourself or hunt for that matter? What about smart guns, where are they? C’mon techies! The 2nd Amendment is a beast to battle and wiping out the right to bear arms is not on the table. Does anyone really think that will be accomplished? Because it won’t. Amended to some extent? Maybe. But how many decades will that take? Where’s the evolution of our so called “living document” for this subject matter? A document that originally allowed slavery and prevented women from voting? NRA, are you even trying? Let’s talk mental health. Where is the $500 million that the Obama administration put into the budget for approval…did it go through? Is it being implemented or just sitting there? Where is the access to care for those struggling with mental illness? Politicians, I ask you…how can I help?
Banning together, signing petitions, rallying to get your voice heard is good, but is it actually doing anything or just making us feel better about the current situation? We need action. I applaud politicians like Senator Chris Murphy but so many of our elected politicians can’t manage to work together (maybe they shouldn’t be paid for a job they can’t do…just saying) or since they are in bed with all the wrong people, it is up to us if we want change. I want to know what new smart technology is being built for safer guns, advanced security in public places, databases, traveling care for the mentally ill…anything! Entrepreneurs, innovators, are you there? Can I help? Can I help you make a difference? I want to offer support. I cannot give you techie advice, expertise in healthcare, or financial backing, BUT maybe I can point you in the right direction? Maybe I know someone who knows someone who can help? Incubators, investors…if this issue concerns you, do what you do best and help make change. Can I help? Hold funding competitions, provide think tanks for these very things. Hollywood, the PSA’s are good, but not good enough. Eventually they disappear and are forgotten.
I am not pretending to have all the answers or even a shred of them, but unless you want your children standing on top of a toilet, we need to do something! Please share.”
— Stacey Wehrman Feeley (FACEBOOK) —
I don’t know about you all, but reading those words, seeing that picture…I was floored. I am sickened by the knowledge that this is the reality of today’s youth. That this is the world in which we live in—where 3-year-olds (they’re preschoolers for Christ sakes!) are participating in actual lockdown drills; being taught what to do if some bad guy comes into their school with a gun and they’re in the bathroom.
Come on, people! Am I not the only one to see that there is something seriously fucking wrong with that picture? How many people have to die before something gets done about this? Columbine. Virginia Tech. Aurora. Charleston. Sandy Hook. Orlando. How many more innocent lives are to be sacrificed needlessly and senselessly and in vain before these politicians stop catering to these super pacs like the NRA, get their heads out of their asses and start earning the positions they were elected into by—oh, I don’t know—maybe following through with the promises they made/make…or just doing SOMETHING, at least, about the problem.
Rarely a day goes by that I don’t see a post on my Facebook feed, especially in light of recent events, from someone bitching about the big debate over gun control. Mostly, I feel like asking people if they even hear or read what they say…and if they realize how ridiculous they sound. Because they are. Being ridiculous, that is. They’re ranting and bitching about the 2nd Amendment and how it’s their god-given right to bear arms…and it’s just so fucking ridiculous. For starters, these rights we’re given aren’t really rights. They’re more like privileges…and we should respect that, rather than take it for granted…but most people don’t. Also, when your “rights” infringe upon the well-being and safety of another—it’s no longer your right…at least, it shouldn’t be. Either way, people have it all wrong. They don’t even know what they’re bitching about. Most activists lobbying for gun control aren’t looking to shred the 2nd Amendment altogether. No one is saying you don’t have the right to “bear arms”. You want to get a rifle or a shotgun and go hunting—go for it. You want a handgun to protect yourself and your family—again, by all means. But what the hell does the average citizen need with an automatic military and/or police-grade weapon when they are neither soldier or officer? There is no need for it. No need whatsoever. Those weapons are designed for one purpose and one purpose only—to kill. Granted, people kill people and the guns are merely tools, but why make those tools so easily accessible—why make it easy for the monsters and bad guys in the world to wreck their devastation and commit evil? Changing the policies on background checks for buying guns isn’t a punishment or a roadblock for constitutional rights as these gun-toting nuts try to claim. It’s a safety measure. A precaution. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll sleep a hell of a lot better knowing that the guy down the street with the documented history of mental health issues or who was once suspected of being a terrorist didn’t walk out of the gun store with that brand new AR-15 he was eyeing in the display case like a kid looking in the window of a candy store. Sure, his 2nd Amendment rights were trampled on a bit…but maybe lives were potentially saved. I think it’s worth it.
This is not the world I want for my nieces and nephews, or future children to have to live in—nor the millions of other children in this country. Pre-school should be about finger-painting and sing-alongs and laughter—not practicing lockdown and active shooter drills. What happened to children being children? What happened to protecting them and their innocence? Isn’t that what we should be doing? What we should be focusing on? Isn’t that what matters? It should.
I know I’m only one voice. But it’s on us, all of us. We have to come together, work together. Not for us. But for them. As their protectors and fighters, and as the ones that made the mistakes that led to this fear-filled reality they have unwittingly been thrust into…we owe them. We owe them this much.