Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guns and a Subtle Change

After reading my friend Kimberly's post on kids and toy guns today, I wanted to share a recent realization I'd had about guns and my own behavior.

I don't often get political in this space, but I'm decidedly anti-gun. I just don't get it. I'd never go hunting, I have no desire to shoot a gun at a clay pigeon, I can't think of a single aspect of it that appeals to me. I know that's not the stance that everyone else takes, but it's mine. It's not an opinion I've come to just recently, but a long-held belief.

And yet, I've never taken it all that seriously. So yes, my kids have had toys that they've used as guns - most recently a bubble-blowing gun - but mostly because I've seen Max turn many things into weapons from a very early age. They've never had a toy that looked like a real gun, though I expect Nerf-related items will be in Max's future. He's played shooting video games at Chuck E. Cheese. But I think any illusions I'd had of control over the gun/toy issue were lost when Hannah was three, and a preschool friend obsessed with all things army came to school and said he was going to shoot her. Yes, the classmate was disciplined, as much as any three year old is disciplined, on the matter, and it never happened again, but the one incident was enough for me to realize that I'd never completely shield my children from talks of guns and violence.

But this past year has been a lot. I don't need to remind you of all the recent headlines, but the list of heinous acts including guns is long. I'm feeling a bit more fragile and less in control than I'd like to be, especially around gun violence. And so there's one small change that I can make, that does improve how I feel about things: I'm no longer buying music where gun use is overtly mentioned, and in some ways, glamorized.

I noticed it when I was really turned off by the song "Red Hands" by Walk Off The Earth. It's the type of song I love - very catchy, a duet, great vocals and instrumentals. But the chorus repeats the lines "that gun is loaded, but it's not in my hand" over and over, in this fun, singalong way that I normally love...and it made me feel sick. Marc pointed out that a year or so ago, Foster The People's hit "Pumped Up Kicks" had me singing along to (and buying) "You better run, better run, outrun my gun." However, all of the events since then, particularly the one so close to home, have made me realize that no longer purchasing songs with lyrics like these is the right thing for me.

Will the band miss my $1.29? Probably not. But the kids and I love singing along to the radio together on the way home from school. And while I'll probably still squirm as they sing something by Katy Perry, I'll feel a little better knowing that I'm not singing along brightly to something that I can't stand behind.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reading Red Shutters, Cheryl, and thanks for sharing your perspective on this issue. It's a hard one, and perhaps only really addressed through dialogue and understanding.