Last year, after the Newtown massacre, I was faced with a dilemma. I wrote this piece to try and figure out what to do.
There they are, hidden, behind my long dresses in my closet: The airsoft guns I bought for my kids for Christmas.
After the last few gut-wrenching days of grief, anger and sorrow over the shooting in Newtown, I have watched with hope the outpouring of support for gun control in our country. A national conversation has finally begun. And it really seems like this time, just maybe, things might actually change.
And here I sit, with a small arsenal of play guns ready to be wrapped and put under the tree for my 11- and 14-year-old children.
I never intended to be this permissive about guns. When the kids were little it was strictly a no guns/no video games rule at our Seattle home. But, of course, we couldn't control what our kids saw at other kids' houses, and the genie was soon out of the bottle. Our seemingly most-liberal-leaning friend bought my son his first toy gun. I was apoplectic. But, after my son's pleading for a Star Wars “Chewbacca Bowcaster” one Christmas (“It's not a gun, Mom! It's a crossbow!”) I caved. My son, much to my chagrin, found a way to convert the Bowcaster into a gun within days.
That was the end of our weapons-free zone.
Soon Nerf guns entered the house from various sources. Other parents I knew were equally relaxing the no-guns rule, our constant new refrain being, “It's OK to shoot it, just don't point it at A PERSON!”
The slippery slope was getting more and more precipitous. I mean, who wants a Nerf gun if you can't shoot it at your sister? Point taken.