With the devastating and horrifying tragedy that happened last week, let me first say that my thoughts and prayers and tears are with the families of the fallen in Connecticut. No parent should ever have to endure what they have experienced and I just pray that the Lord’s comforting hand will be upon them.
This event, along with the shooting in Portland earlier this month, has brought the issue of guns in America back to the forefront once again. As a mother, I have mixed feelings about the issue. Today I wanted to share my story and get some feedback on this issue from other mothers out there.
A few years ago, at the beginning of December, actually, I was asleep in bed at 4am when our house alarm suddenly started shrieking. I can still remember that sound very clearly. I froze in fear. My husband awakened, and when he realized what was happening he told me to call 911 as he rushed to the closet for his 9mm handgun. He positioned himself at the top of our stairs, right outside our bedroom, with his gun pointed down at our wide open front door. Meanwhile, I took the phone with me and got my crying daughter, then 2 years old, from her room and took her to my son’s room (he was 3) at the end of the hallway. I remember huddling in fear with my whimpering children in that room, listening to the alarm blaring, and thinking, What would I do if, God forbid, something happened to Chad? What if the intruder somehow got past him and came down the hall into this room? I had no escape. The only exit was back through the hallway and down the stairs or out a window. I felt utterly and completely helpless. I was a sitting duck. I began to have visions of an intruder forcing his way into the room, killing me and leaving my babies completely helpless, doing goodness knows what to them. The thought was terrifying.
I made up my mind right then and there that I did not want to be a victim. If there are people out there who have guns and will use them to hurt me or my children, then I want a level playing field. I don’t ever want to think that I could have done something to save my kids and I chose not to because I was scared.
I don’t like guns. They scare me. Which is why going through the process of learning to shoot and obtaining a gun was nerve-wracking, especially because I did it on national TV.
Yes, to make a long story short, the National Geographic Channel was interested in doing a piece on guns in America and wanted the perspective of a female who had had some kind of traumatic experience that influenced her to want to get a gun. They sent a camera crew and filmed me going to a gun show, then got me set up with an instructor at a gun range to try my hand at shooting. Let me tell you, shooting a gun is intimidating enough, but having a verrrry expensive camera 6 inches to the left of your line of fire? Well, that just makes it SO much more fun.
Check out a clip from the show below:
Anyway, my instructor was great, taught me a lot, and not long after that I got my first gun. It’s a revolver, about as idiot-proof as can be: literally, put in bullets, pull trigger. No safety, no chambering a round, just basic load, shoot. (Because there’s no safety I store it unloaded with a long padlock that actually goes inside the barrel and requires a key to unlock. No possible way to shoot it without unlocking it with a key.) I know how panicked I was when the break-in happened, and I need something I can handle without having to think about it too much.
After I got my gun, the nightmares I had after the break-in finally stopped. Now instead of nightmares I have dreams that begin with an intruder in my home and end with me being a really good shot.
I was actually the latecomer to the gun scene in my family. My mom has always had a gun, my dad is an avid gun collector and has a concealed carry permit, as do my husband and brother. My opinion has always been that those whom gun laws are meant to stop are not people who are stopped by laws, and if law-abiding citizens are allowed to defend themselves with the responsible use of firearms, then the safer we’ll all be.
After last week I’m not so sure.
It just hit too close to home, I guess. I can’t help wondering- if it was illegal for the shooter’s mother to have those guns in her home, would they have been there? If he had had to really go through a lot of channels to get a gun, would he have? You can always argue that people that want to kill will find a way to do it, but someone snapping and grabbing a gun and going on a killing spree is very different from someone who has to go online to look up how to make a bomb, then go out and buy bomb-making materials, then assemble it, etc. Those things take time- time that could be the difference between being murderously enraged and just really ticked off.
So now I just can’t help but wonder. I am hugging my children until they tell me to stop and then I don’t. I am praying for peace for our country. And I am wondering whether or not turning in the guns is the answer.
By the way, our home invasion ended with the intruder running off, scared away by the alarm, thank goodness. The police determined that he had used a credit card (or something similar) to get the door open.