(Written the day after the Parkland high school, Florida shooting.)
Last night, my husband and I went outside to our driveway to sit in the car and have a beer. Those of you with lots of children will understand that sometimes you just do not have the time, energy or funds for babysitting, but at least we have some uninterrupted time to talk to each other. Our youngest is six years old, so the older ones can easily watch her for twenty minutes. We are not leaving toddlers to fend for themselves. And it is cold out. That is why we are in the car.
Only last night, there was no ‘unwinding’ going on. Somehow, we started speaking about the Parkland, Florida high school gun shooting, and his voice became raised.
He calls it ‘Meditarranean’ and ‘passionate’; I call it an ineffective way of communicating. I would like to say that I replied calmly. But I did not. He had me, and my voice became raised in response.
I finally did walk away back in to the house, where he continued to go on about all of this. My 17 year old son came out from his bedroom. And my 14 year old son came down.
Even though I had not heard them say a word about all of this, they knew an awfully lot: the shooter’s background, his Instagram pictures, a horrible video they saw and the 39 times in the past seven years that the police had been to [Nikolas] Cruz’s home.
They should know a lot about this. We’re sending these kids into battlefields every day nowadays.
“This was a mental health issue”, they told me. “All the signs were there. They should have known and gotten the kid help.”
“What do you mean by ‘help’?”, I asked. “Do you mean ‘locked him up’?”
“No, counseling,” they replied.
ME: ‘Do you think a few hours of counseling could have prevented this?’
MY SON: “We can’t take away our Second Amendment right. Our country was built on it. It’s a vital part of our country that when the government comes to your door, you can protect yourself.”
ME: ‘But the government has fighter jets and bombs and automatic rifles, it would be very difficult to protect yourself against that.’
I continued, ‘hey, why not give all of us automatic weapons and bombs? After all, it’s not bombs and guns that kill people, people kill people.’
They had of course, already used this argument that taking away automatic weapons, then they would just use a car or something else to kill people.
THEM: Mom, if someone wanted to take out kids, then all they would have to do is wait until after school when we’re all walking out to our cars, then they could drive their car and easily take out 17 kids.
I find it equally disturbing that my son has thought this through.
ME: I would prefer to be running away from a car then an automatic weapon. Is there really any reason that a good citizen needs an automatic weapon?
THEM: To protect themselves.
ME: From whom?
THEM: From the government.
ME: Couldn’t they protect themselves from the ‘government’ with a handgun?
Newt Gingritch’s answer to all of this is that we need more guns at school: armed guards to protect our kids. Because then we can have a full fledged battle at the school when something like this happens again … more guns to ‘protect our freedom’.
Wouldn’t that make you feel ‘free’ to have an armed guard in the hallway of your school?
So we’re moving towards a ‘military state’ in order to ‘protect our freedom’?
I thought the government was who we needed the guns to protect ourselves from?
Why is it that the majority of these shooters are white males?
ME: Look at Australia. How they took away guns, and there has not been another mass shooting.
THEM: But they are a ‘homogenous’ population. There aren’t that many Aborigines.
ME: Okay, so now you’re saying, it’s not the government we’re protecting ourselves from, it’s ‘those people’. Those black and brown people.
The argument went around and around. It never got anywhere. It was emotional, both sides with glazed eyes not listening. And I thought to myself, if WE can’t even have a calm rational discussion on this, how do we expect Congress to?
What this really has to do with is ‘fear’ and an illusion of control.
My mother lived the ‘American dream’. She was the first person in our family to ever go to college. She and my dad bought an $80,000 house in an affluent suburb of Texas and sent their kids off each day, thinking they were safe and preparing for their own Dream.
Only it has not been a Dream at all for me and my brother. My husband and I have been in our house in Illinois for nine years and lost money on it. We will most likely never make money on our house. Lay-offs. Industries changing. Companies cutting back. Monday morning where you walk in and are told you’ve been let go.
My mother ends up using her retirement to help keep her adult kids afloat. Anger. Fear. Uncertainty. And I have no idea how to pay for our children’s college.
Kids falling through the cracks.
Like that kid did. Like black or hispanic kids in poverty do. Every day.
How do we prevent this?
My husband is a noble man with the best of intent for his daughters and his stepsons. He is willing to sacrifice and work hard so that they go far. Even though sometimes I do not agree with his methods.
I can see that both him and my sons are at a point where they are triggered by topics such as this and words such as ‘feminist’ and ‘bringing down the patriarchy’.
We have to make them more than words. We have to assure them that we do not wish to take the ‘male’ out of the equation. After all, the coach at the Parkland high school shooting who died while shielding his students, he is the ‘Protective Father’ willing to do whatever he must to protect his children.
The policeman Michael Leonard who quietly took it upon himself to comb the neighborhoods and apprehended the shooter.
“He’s a modest person,” Coconut Creek Mayor Becky Tooley said of the officer she’s known for 17 years. “He’s not a bragger. He’s a family man, a religious man, an excellent cop.” Article can be found here.
I would make a guess that a month ago I probably would not be able to have a conversation with that policeman about feminism and patriarcy. But in the above article, he says, “… attending community events and watching Stoneman Douglas students work for change is helping him to heal. He hopes it’s helping the victims’ families, too.”
Work for change.
The most dangerous thing I see right now is the polarization that is occuring. We must continue having these conversations even though they are difficult. We must stop ‘taking sides’ and shutting down. We must continue to see the humanity in each and every person.
Isn’t it ironic that the same day the shooting occurred at Parkland, Florida high school, a Grandma called and reported her grandson as planning a school shooting.
This woman looked beyond her immediate needs and her immediate family and thought of all the possible innocent victims.
This woman was the ‘Good Mother’ only the children she was thinking of were all children not just her biological ones.
We don’t need Armed Guards, We Need Grandma’s.
Compared to many, Karen Moon is new to Women’s Circles and Spirituality. After unexpectedly, at the age of 42 finding herself pregnant with her fourth child and feeling alone in the Midwest, she realized she must search for some open minded ‘conmadres’. This led to a Mother’s Group and her first Women’s Circle which she wrote about over four years ago in elephant journal here. At the same time as realizing her need for all of this, she also realized the desire to help other women find this as well. This led to the creation of the divine feminine app – a free computer app listing Sacred Circles and events all over the world. She is hard at work on Version Two whose purpose will be to give an alternative to current social media platforms, more efficiently spreading, connecting, healing and inspiring us all in a divinely feminine way. You can find out more at the website Find a Womens Circle .Com.
11 thoughts on “We Don’t Need Armed Guards, We Need Grandmas by Karen Moon”
oh Karen what you (and many others like you) are up against! The arguments for guns are so myopic. I live in Australia, and was gobsmacked by your son’s response “There aren’t that many Aborigines” – what do Aborigines – Indigenous peoples – have to do with it? No-one is defending themselves from these peoples; on the contrary!
And it is so weird that the argument for guns is about “protecting from the government”, yet there is this expectation that the government should do something about protecting citizens from these shooters. And of course the US government (amongst others) is the main model for perpetrating violence, and there is the continual failure to see that it is white males who are mostly the perpetrators, and most all with a history of domestic violence.
I love the title of your essay … indeed it is so. More lessons from Grandmas and a lot less from mainstream think jackets.
wishing you strength and grace
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Yes, Glenys, they are myopic. And so ’emotional’. That is the most frightening thing to me is that I can see them ‘close down’ to open discussion and just spout off these often-repeated ‘sound bites.’ And it is not just ‘one side’. I have watched and listened to the ‘peaceful’ side also shut down and stop communicating. The ‘Us Vs. Them’ thinking is the most dangerous of all. Just read an article about New Zealand’s newest female prime minister Jacinda Ardern, pregnant, unmarried and about to go on maternity leave. It speaks of how the New Zealander’s are doing a better job of disagreeing without demonizing … “To form a coalition government, Ardern teamed up with the very conservative New Zealand First party. In American terms, that would be like Bernie Sanders joining forces with Ted Cruz.” Imagine!
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The conversation you had with your family, Karen, is one that is familiar to me as well. So many people (mostly men) are serious about the need to “bear arms” in order to protect themselves from the government. It seems ludicrous to me. I think this one sentence you write speaks to the heart of the issue: “What this really has to do with is ‘fear’ and an illusion of control.” Yes, I so agree. Men, living in a patriarchal social system, are taught (conditioned?) to believe they have absolute control over their bodies and lives. Perhaps it’s because women’s bodies teach us (women) early on that so much happens within our own bodies outside our control. The changes from month to month as well as the growth and development of life within our bodies are so much out of our control once the process begins. We (most often) learn to embrace the changes we cannot control. Am sure there are complexities to the issue…..
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That is a great point, Esther! Thank you <3 … my own personal female journey has been one of better embracing the changes we cannot control! Yes.
Heartrending article. The most frightening part for me was the arguments the young people made. They have been socialized into a culture that tells them that more guns are the solution – this kill or be killed ethic is poisoning the minds and hearts of our children, grandchildren and no parent, no matter how vigilant can stop this ugly tide. Feminism is a dirty word for most – watch out for them. More discrimination against the women who could begin change. My heart goes out to you as a woman and a parent. You ask such an important question: If children act like this how can we expect congress to behave like human beings – but I think your children learned from the political arena about the necessity of the “right to bear arms” Someone should mention that this amendment was passed so whites could shoots blacks.
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Sara, I have learned to with my children, like with many others in my life, speak my “piece/peace’ 😀 and then MoveOn. I then repeat to myself Kahlil Gibran’s on children, “You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.” But yes, it is often heartrending.
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Hmmm, I replied but do not know where the comment went. Thank you Sara, and yes it is heartrending. But I remind myself of Kahlil Gibran‘s poem on children:
“You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”
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The U.S. seems to be caught in a tsunami of fear; fear of losing control, fear of losing power, fear of losing ….. Fear that leads to violence and conflict at home and abroad.
I don’t envy parents working to hold back these waters that threaten to engulf their children. I don’t know what to write here to strengthen and support you. I’m glad you have circles of women. I honour you, women warriors for sanity and peace. I hold you in my heart and try to practice what you teach about living beyond fear and conflict.
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As I said to Sara above (although not sure where the comment went Lol), I remind myself that they have their own path, just as I had/have mine. It is funny I remember growing up not liking a lot that my parents did that I now find I agree with. So who knows. And yes so much fear lately. Birthing pains of a new world. Often accompanied by fear. And just like birth, so important to feel, release and keep moving through, right. Thanks for reading and comments, and yes, I do not know what I would do without the support of my sisters and circles. ❤️
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This post made me very sad, but my computer was not working when I wanted to respond to it. I am so sorry your sons have bought in to toxic masculinity, hopefully it is a phase. I just realized as I was responding that I feel especially sad because I raised my baby brother as a second mother from age 10 to age 17 when I left for college and he became a Mormon patriarch! It must feel even worse with your own real sons. Much love to you in your struggles.
Carol, thank you so much for coming back and replying. <3 I am at the age where I realize how funny life can be (aka painful, ironic ..) and even though in my divorce, 'I got the boys' (did 98% of the physical work raising them), I realize in hindsight that my ex 'got the boys' in quite a few ways. But I have accepted that. Last night in the Circle that I have been hosting at my house the past 4 years, we did a wonderful Hoʻoponopono exercise reminding ourselves that every single situation in our lives has been called in as a lesson in learning. And you never really know how you affect others, do you. i.e. growing up, my father used to drive me completely crazy driving around in his pick-up truck with freaking dog hair everywhere listening to classical music. I hated it. Now, as an adult, I have a large, hairy dog who I don't so much mind where his hair goes, and I appreciate classical music. Your baby brother may have become a Mormon patriarch, but I am sure that your influence still comes out in his life in many ways. We cannot heal the world by only having conversations with people who agree with us, right. Sending love, Karen