How My Daughter’s Fall On Her Head Made Me Think About the Gun Debate

On Sunday Junia was playing in the yard.  Emily was right there with her, keeping an eye on her, playing with her.  Nevertheless, Junia tripped when she was running and fell onto a rock.  She had to go to the emergency room to get the large cut on her head (any cut on your two year old’s head is large, from your perspective as a parent).

It happens to every parent.  Kids fall.  They get cut and bruised.

You could be talking to your neighbor over the fence.  

Or you could be answering the text from your mom about coming to visit this weekend.  

Maybe you are yelling at the dog to stop barking.  

Or maybe you are marching behind your daughter, singing “ants go marching”.  

No matter what you are doing, there is a chance your child may trip and fall.

When this happened to Junia on Sunday, it forced us to think.  What can we do to prevent it from happening again?  I realize there is nothing Emily or I can do to ensure it will never happen again.  Also, in this case it did not happen because either of us were being neglectful.  Nevertheless, the fact that it happens forces you, as a parent, to think of other scenarios that may happen.  Those other scenarios are hypothetical, but possible enough to take into consideration.

Maybe tomorrow Junia and I will be playing outside, if it is a nice day.  I’ll feel my phone vibrate in my pocket as one of my students texts me to ask about the trip to Shady Maple on Saturday.  I could reply now, taking my attention of Junia.  But it is not urgent, so instead I could wait until we are inside.  

Thinking about Junia falling on Sunday reminded me of the news yesterday about the Senate and gun legislation.  I’ve seen many posts on Facebook, along with lots of news articles about it.  One thing I’ve heard many who oppose the legislation say is that this legislation, specifically requiring background checks, would not have prevented the Newton shooting.

My question is, so what?

In the same way that Junia falling makes me think of other potential scenarios where she may fall, so a school shooting forces us, as a country, to think of other possible scenarios where a shooting may occur.  We realize that just as there is no way to ensure Junia will never fall again, so there is probably no way to ensure a school shooting will never, ever happen again.  But just because there was nothing we could do to stop Junia’s fall this time does not mean we do not think about the possibility that she could hurt herself if we are neglecting her.  Ever since she fell we’ve been a little more cautious, stayed a little closer to her, kept a closer eye on her.  Junia falling, for whatever reasons, makes us work hard to ensure her safety as best we can.  In the same way, just because the proposed legislation would not have prevented a particular shooting does not mean we ought not do all we can to prevent future shootings, including ones in hypothetical scenarios.

Before anyone jumps on me for wading into such an issue, I will add that I think doing all we can to prevent future shootings includes increased security at schools.  I thought it was odd that once the president of the NRA suggested armed security guards in every school, all those who oppose the NRA (those on the left, that is) mocked this idea.  But what’s wrong with having trained professionals protecting schools?  Trained professionals protect our President’s kids.  Like in most cases of politics, I suspect both sides of the divide have some good ideas.  Unfortunately, compromise for the common good appears unlikely in our country.

I will also add that I am not saying the proposed legislation was a good idea.  Honestly, I have no clue.  I am simply pointing out that the “this legislation would not have prevented that crime” argument is, to me, flawed.  It also seems like a short-sighted argument to make, because what if the next shooting could have been prevented by this legislation?  You are providing support for the legislation if ever a case comes up that it would have prevented.

At any rate, I’ll pray for peace and safety in our country.  I’ll do all I can to keep my family safe because it really seems to me that this is all any person can do.

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