STFU Parents: Parents Who Fetishize Guns And ‘Safety’ On Facebook
The first time I wrote about kids and guns in this space wasÂ in 2012 after the mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater. I still remember when I heard about it — first thing in the morning, like most people on the East Coast who had gone to bed before the late night attack — and thinking of all the movies I’ve watched in the theater in my life without incident, imagining what that level of horror must have been like for the victims. I also remember exactly where I was where I heard about several other shootings: Columbine, when I was a junior in high school and my mother was a high school teacher, and I was more fearful for her than for myself. Sandy Hook, when I almost tweeted out a stupid joke before realizing that something unfathomable had just happened, and later cried my way throughÂ dozens of pertinent submissionsÂ for my silly blog.
I remember where I was when the planes hit the Twin Towers, of course. I can conjure up the confusion and fear I felt then, but it was actually nothing like the fear and sadness I feel today when I turn on my television or open my laptop and expect to read about another mass shooting in a mall, on a playground, or at another school. The near-promise of “global terrorism” in America after 9/11 managed to scare people into quietly taking off their shoes in airports, and yet the ACTUAL promise that we will continue to experience domestic terror on a truly frightening scale only leads to more Second Amendment rhetoric and pro-gun galvanizing. It’s gotten so bad that the common local response to the worst shooting rampage in Roseburg, Oregon’s history (America’s latest mass shooting du jour) is to get more guns andÂ notÂ to tighten restrictions on gun sales, to the point that some residentsÂ didn’t even want President Obama to come to their state. They don’t need his “progressive legislation”; they just need more goddamn ammo!
This “guns are our friends” attitude has left many Americans feeling very tired. How many people need to die at the hands of domestic terrorists before we manage to fix the problem? You’d think Congress would’ve told us all to sit on our hands or they’d turn the car around by now, but instead the issue continues to fracture Americans into two distinct camps of thinking. You’re either pro-gun control or you’re not. There doesn’t seem to be much in-between, much like there’s no reversing the irreparable harm that a single bullet can cause.
This week,Â an 11-year-old “bully” murdered his 8-year-old neighborÂ when she wouldn’t let him play with her puppy (maybe because he’s a sadist?) and I also came across a disturbing story from 2013 about a 5-year-old boy accidentally who killed his 2-year-old sister after firing his own weapon, a .22-caliber rifle that he had received as a gift for his birthday. Prior to killing his sister — a child who wasn’t old enough to tie her shoes — the boy had been, according to CNN,Â “playing” with his gun. I’m still astonished when I read details like that and they aren’t immediately followed up with a description of how the parents have been charged with negligence and the child is being relocated to live with people who don’t install gun racks over baby cribs. No, instead we get quotes like the one from the children’s grandmother who said, “It was God’s will. It was her time to go, I guess.” Yes, crazy lady. It was a toddler’s time to go be with the Lord, who was complicit in her peaceful death-by-firearm.
These stories touch us all in a very deep way. We wonder if it’ll be our loved one who gets randomly murdered in a parking lot byÂ a woman trying to stop a couple of idiots from stealing merchandise from Home DepotÂ (which also occurred this week). We feel shitty when we learn that kids today can’t grow up withoutÂ participating in lockdown drillsÂ — drills that, when I was a kid, were purely preventative and not based on real incidents and real lives that have since been lost in deadly school shootings. It’s easy to say there’s nothing we can do to stop this culture of violence, but that’s actually not true. We can speak out against gun violence, call our local representatives, attend rallies, and get involved. Or, here’s a simple way to protest the current climate surrounding gun laws: Don’t be pro-gun on Facebook.
Facebook is a petri dish of politics and a mirror of our societal beliefs. It makes sense thatÂ pro-gun citizensÂ use it as a tool to promote their views, but it’s also heinously disgusting. Parents post pictures ofÂ their small children holding gunsÂ as though they’re holding teddy bears. (Or, in the case of the image above, sleeping with a fake gun designed to look like a real gun literally while the child is cuddling with a teddy bear.) Parents are “badasses” when they express their distrust of government and humanity and their interest in arming to “protect” themselves (by owning a multitude of weapons and purchasing bullets on the internet as swiftly as ordering a box of diapers). They advance the idea that guns should be carried by teachers, administrators, and security guards, regardless of those people’s backgrounds or beliefs, because they think you can stop a shooter with a quick draw and some target shooting practice. In short, they’re paranoid, delusional, dangerous, and lacking intelligence in a serious way. And I willÂ continue to write about themÂ so long as mass shootings continue to ruin the quality of life in this country.
*Note about this video: Celine is applying her feelings about teachers carrying firearms in schools to aÂ TED TalkÂ given by a kid who’s “stoked” on activities like skiing. His hero is a base jumper named Shane McConkey, not a gun-toting psycho like Wayne LaPierre.
If you want to help push forward the gun legislation we so desperately need in the U.S., start on Facebook. Tell your pro-gun friends that the rhetoric they’re promoting online is dangerous. Don’t be afraid to effect change in small ways. Otherwise, we’ll keep seeing pictures like this in our newsfeeds sandwiched between stories about kids getting murdered while they learn in school. If you don’t see a connection between those things, there’s a decent chance that you’re part of the problem.
Let’s check out some more examples of the ways gun culture has infiltrated our lives, and the paranoid depths to which some parents will sink in order to supposedly “protect” their families, using Facebook as their primary channel to advertise backwards and often scary agendas.