(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.