I hate guns. I'm not an activist or anything, but guns have always scared me, and I hate them. Even toy guns. It's a thing with me. I've heard too many stories about bad things that happened because a gun was around.
Bad people do bad things, I know. People kill people. I know. And I agree. But those bad things might be a little less bad if the ignorant fool (or innocent kid) didn't have a gun in their hands. Can't argue with that logic.
I also agree that a person has a right to protect themselves. And I have plenty of friends and family who own guns and keep them in their homes (hopefully in locked, safe places, especially when our kids are there). We have Dad's old shotgun in our home, seemingly safely tucked away, but it's here. And I hate it. And Rich and I fight about it, but only since the kids came along. Before then I didn't mind too much, never really thought about it. Funny how kids change your perspective on so many things...
And I also agree that, when Sam and Lena are old enough, we will have someone who knows about guns teach them about gun safety, how to handle a gun, how not to, etc. Even though it makes my gut turn into a heavy leaden rock to think about a real gun in their innocent little hands, I believe that being aware is safer than being ignorant.
The reason I bring this up is because, today, I bought water guns for Sam, which are the first toy guns of any kind that we have bought for him. I've never even allowed anyone else to purchase water guns or Nerf guns or anything like that for him before. Like I said, it's a thing with me. But he's 2 1/2 now and somehow, even though I've sheltered him in this regard, he makes guns out of whatever he has - masts from his ship, sticks...anything that is bent is a gun.
What can I do? Fight nature? So, I accepted this. I just told him not to shoot people with those sticks or ship masts. That is still the rule, although with today's purchase of water guns, that rule really can't apply or what's the point.
ANYWAY, I was outside watching him play with the new water guns, squirting Daddy and laughing and having the best time. I still didn't like it, but it's harmless, right? Then Sam gave Lena a little one and, when I saw it in her hands, turning it over curiously and looking at it, that's when my stomach twisted into a giant knot.
If you think I'm a crazy, over-emotional wreck of a woman because of this, you're probably right. But I challenge you to look at some pictures of the genocides in Darfur and Rwanda. You will find photographs of kids ranging from what looks like 4 years old and up, carrying guns. And shooting people. A 5 year old boy executing a person. Because he's forced to do it. Forced in I don't even want to begin to imagine what horrible ways, but that was life down there. And that was only several years ago. I'm sure the same thing is still happening in lots of places right now.
So how can I as a person who knows these things, let my kids play with toy guns when there's a kid only two years older than Sam being forced to use a real gun to kill another human being in a country not so far away from here? How is that okay? Is what's happened/happening in Africa really that far removed from us that it's okay to treat even a toy gun so frivolously? What does that teach Sam? And it's not like he doesn't have 1,500 other awesome, fun toys to play with. It's not as if I'm robbing him of his childhood fun.
So I'm throwing the water guns out tomorrow. I haven't told Rich yet...I'm sure he'll be pissed because he's one of the people who think I'm an over-emotional wreck over such a trivial thing as a toy gun. But all I'm trying to do is be a responsible citizen of the world and raise my kids that way. And since I've seen pictures and watched documentaries and written articles and done charity work for Darfur and Rwanda, that means I know better. And when you know better, you do better. Right?
I'm trying to talk myself down with this blog, I guess. Thinking maybe once I read my rantings I'll recognize how ridiculous I'm being. But it's not working. I just keep thinking what would Jesus have me do here? Would he be all right with our home being a no gun (even toy gun) home? Would that hurt anyone? Would that teach my kids a bad lesson? Would our family be any less protected if we didn't have an unloaded shotgun in a fairly inaccessible place in the house? Isn't that why we have a security alarm? Guess I need to talk to Rich more about it. And pray more about it. I just can't seem to reconcile it, though.