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It's Not That Simple

A Girl and Her Gun: It's Not That Simple

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It's Not That Simple

The other day I was on FaceBook and I read an article on a gun site I follow.  The article was about how people should let there kids play with toy guns and not be afraid to let them around real guns.

I made a comment that because we have real guns and we let our children around them and because we care deeply about gun safety, we do not let our children have toy guns.  The rule in our house is, if you see a gun, don't touch it and find an adult.  I mentioned that I did not want to leave the detriment of what is real and what is a toy up to our children.

In return a whole bunch of people basically said if my kids are so stupid that they can not tell the difference between real and fake, they are in fact stupid and that we as parents are stupid for raising such stupid children and because we are all so stupid, probably shouldn't be allowed to have guns at all.

I would like to share with you a little bit about one of my children.  Our daughter was adopted from China when she was almost 4.  When we got there, she could not walk, too weak.  Could not hold a cup.  Did not know how to feed herself.  She is deaf and had zero language, nothing.  She had never heard a word and was never taught even the most rudimentary sign.  She did not even know to shake her head yes or no.  She was so traumatized by her life experiences in that place, that she had completely shut down and went inside herself.  Basically, all she did was rock, stack cups, and scream bloody murder.

We spent the first year she was home just trying to get her to not be afraid.  Trying to convince her she was safe and that here she not only wouldn't be hit or abused, but that she would be loved and cared for.  It was a long, painful, and tiring process.

We had some progress that first year and by the time she was 5, we decided to get her the cochlear implant to help her hear.  This child had never heard one bit of sound ever.  My husband, myself, our audiologist, our ENT surgeon and the 2nd in charge of the entire Bethesda Navel Medical Center were all extremely concerned how hearing sound might effect this child.  We wondered if the shock of noise might traumatize her further, and while we all felt it was in her best long term interest to have the surgery, our immediate concern was her spirit.  We did not want to set her back in her emotional process.

I posted a video on my Face book page if your interested.  Video

This is a long video(I would love to have any skill whatsoever in terms of computers, but I don't, so I could not edit it down), about 29 minutes, but I think it is worth the time to see just how amazing this child is.  Just how not stupid she is.  This video is of her activation of her cochlear implant.  It is the first time she ever heard any sound at all.  It is about 6 weeks after her surgery to have the implant put in her head.  At that surgery the doctors found hundreds of bone fragments embedded in her skull and tissue.  Those fragments were caused by repeated blunt force trauma.  She has had a bit to deal with.

This child, this precious amazing child, is now 7 and has completely caught up to her peers in language, and in academics.  In 3 years she fought back from a very tragic life to not only overcome emotional sadness, but has excelled and blossomed into a full fledged carefree, loving, kind, funny, right on target miracle.

Guns are important.  They are fundamental to keeping our safety and our freedoms.  It is paramount that those that understand this fight for it and protect it and pass it on to the next generation, but it is not the only thing that matters.

I was not a gun owner when she came home, but I can tell you even if I was, teaching gun safety would not have mattered to me one flying flippin' bit.  She wouldn't have got it anyway.  My daily goal was figuring out how to keep her from having a breakdown.  It was not showering or eating or sleeping and certainly wasn't guns.

She has come a long way and now she knows about guns and how to shoot and all about safety and she mostly certainly can tell the difference between a real gun and toy one.  She in fact is not stupid.

After she came home we brought home another child, a son, and while he is not emotionally traumatized, he is behind in language and like her, has other things more pressing to worry about than whether or not a gun is real or fake.

We do now have guns in our house and because we do, we feel it is important to teach gun safety.  Regardless of what other issues these kids have going on, they need to be safe and aware, so we are giving him what he can handle until he is ready to handle more.  Safety is our paramount concern.

Unfortunately for my children, they have had to make up for the lack of care they should have received by the people who should have been responsible enough to care for them.  His lack of understanding about real guns verses fake guns is not an intelligence issue, it is a lack of responsibility issue.  People failed him and it's gonna take him some time to catch up, but he will. 

Many adults lack responsibility and I feel it is very irresponsible to call a child you know nothing about stupid.

Life is not black and white.  It is not absolute.  For me the entire 2nd Amendment fight is about much more than just guns and the right to bear them.  It is about personal freedom.  The freedom to make choices that are right for you and your family and for your choices not to infringe on mine.  It is about respecting the choices of others and understand that what you do may not be right for someone who is very different from you.

I will end with the statement I left to these rather rude and inconsiderate folks...

Blanket statements about children and/or their parents, or well anything, are like gun laws...ridiculous.

6 Comments:

At July 24, 2011 at 6:47 PM , Blogger Enjay said...

Thank you so much for sharing the video. Watching her face just light up was beautiful and I wanted to cry when they had to turn it off and she deflated. People shouldn't make blanket judgments, what is right for you isn't right for me. We didn't have toy guns in our house but our youngest makes his own out of building toys. No mistaking that for a glock, and he sure gets some unique shapes going on.

 
At July 25, 2011 at 6:03 AM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Enjay, our kids make guns out of sticks and legos and all manner of things and that is fine with us. That is something they created and they know it is not the same thing as a real gun and your right, no way to confuse that with anything we would have around the house.

 
At July 25, 2011 at 7:10 AM , Blogger Andrea said...

I will probably watch it tonight, but knowing what she's experiencing from the audiology side, I will cry like a baby when I do. So I'll wait until I get home :)

Even before I was a gun owner, I didn't allow my son to play with toy/plastic guns. Not because I opposed guns, but because I didn't want him to lose the sense of how dangerous REAL guns can be. When I was in elementary school, a little girl in my Girl Scout troop was killed by her brother because they were playing with their dad's revolver, and he never taught them gun safety. I didn't think I'd ever own a gun, but I knew that I would teach my son not to play with guns, even if a friend shows him. I've kept the look on that little girls parents faces my entire life.

Having said that, I have an imaginative little boy who loves Iron Man. And like Enjay said, he'll come up with the shapes all on his own. It's genetic, I swear. But we've been talking to him about how you never point a gun at someone or something, even if it's a pretend gun. I want him to know gun safety well before he ever picks up his first gun.

Thank you for sharing your story!

 
At July 25, 2011 at 8:22 AM , Blogger poniegirl004 said...

We had toy guns in our house when I was a kid. However, there was no way to confuse a rubber band gun with a real gun. In our house we have opted not to have "toy guns" OR the new generation of ultra violent video games.
If the boys "make" a gun ( as the 3yr old did with his toy golf club) that is one thing. To actively encourage play with very real looking toys or allow them to watch movies that are very graphic and violent just for the sake of violence (think Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction ) and to play video games that are graphic not only with violence but also in regards to how women are treated ( grand theft auto, ect. ..) is not something we are going to allow.
Now when the time comes and they are old enough emotionally, mentally as well as physically the will be able to watch (with us present) things like Saving Private Ryan, Schindlers List, and other historical selections if movies so they can fully understand and appreciate what is required to have a free society.
Back to the topic of play guns now- the 3yr old has already shown a interest on Mama and Dada's " shoots". When he ask or reaches for the pistol we stop what we are doing, if we are wearing the pistol of interest we take it off, let him watch us unload it telling him the whole time what we are doing and why. We let him see that there is no magazine, no round in the chamber and that the slide is locked open. He can then hold the gun - always pointing in a safe direction - with one of us with him NEVER alone! He normally looses interest quickly ( as most kids do!) so after he is gone we reassemble the pistol and put it away. We have also gone the further step of choosing pistols that either have a very long trigger pull - or have dual safeties.
Safety is the number one goal. As they get older they will be allowed to shoot and they will learn proper mainance - all in good time.

 
At January 3, 2012 at 4:12 PM , Blogger savage99 said...

I totally agree with your last paragraph, and I applaud you and your husband for you work with your children.

 
At January 19, 2012 at 6:12 AM , Blogger Bob Johnson said...

good deal ponie and i can understand where you are coming from, for my little guy he has grown up around daddy being armed and if anything thinks it is strange when folks aren't - i have found nerf's revolver and double barrel shotgun (they use foam darts) useful for teaching him the basic functions (although he does already know how to strip my shotgun and reassemble it) of guns since functionally they are very similar to the real thing - plus i can teach him loading and unloading effectively without worrying about ad's during the lessons

 

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