It’s been a few hours since gunmen came into the Inland Regional Center, in San Bernardino, Calif., a facility that apparently serves people with developmental disabilities.
At this point, we know there are 14 fatalities. We know there are injuries. But we don’t know anything much more than that. No immediately clear motive.
So forgive me, but this next part will be a little scattered, but what I’m about to say won’t change at all as we get more information.
We have to do something. But I don’t ever think we will. If we are willing to let innocents die horrifically, if we are willing to stomach the idea that people who are praying in their church can be gunned down, if we are willing to accept that people will be at work, at their desk, one moment and dead of a gunshot the next, I think we as a society have epically and permanently failed.
And don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-gun. I’ve shot guns (I’m actually a pretty good shot). I have taken gun safety and shooting classes. I’ve gone hunting. I do not have a problem with responsible gun ownership.
But I do have a problem with this: My four-year-old knows how to hide from a gunman.
No, you didn’t misread that. My precious, large-hearted, big-smiling preschooler knows how to hide from a gunman, should one set foot on his school.
Earlier this year, his school held a lockdown drill. Schools all over the country now have them, so chances are you can ask even the tiniest student you know if they have safety drills or lockdown drills, and they can tell you all about it.
And it’s jarring. And heartbreaking. And it’s 50 kinds of wrong that you can hear this tiny voice that shouldn’t know anything about hiding from a gunman tell you about how his teacher taught him how to hide from a shooter. How to be extra quiet. How to pretend to be a statue and not wiggle. How to be still in the dark and listen to your teacher no matter what you hear outside your classroom.
Chances are, your child knows how to hide from a shooter now, too. But when did we decide this was OK? When did teaching our children to hide from a shooter become preferable to, pardon my French, growing a pair and insisting on some sensible gun laws?
Why aren’t we sending pictures of our babies to our congressmen and demanding better? Why aren’t we grilling candidates on what they will do to keep our children safe – and not accepting “well, we can make a law that schools have to teach them how to hide from a shooter” as the only solution.
Now, I know, some of you will say that criminals don’t follow laws so the only people who will follow sensible gun laws are already responsible gun owners. But back the truck up. Really? Really? We’re not going to pass laws because some people won’t follow them? So does that mean we shouldn’t have any laws against murder on the books? Any laws against pedophilia? After all, people still break those laws. Maybe we should just let violent murderers and child molesters roam freely since they’re not going to bother to follow the laws anyway.
Laws aren’t written based on how many people will follow them. If they were, the tax code would be nonexistent. We’d not even bother with red lights. We could just walk out of Nordstroms willy-nilly with a big fat rock and a pair of Jimmy Choos.
So spare me the “the good guys are the only ones who will follow the law.” Because I’m OK with that. The bad guys won’t, and then they’ll go to jail. Because that’s also a law.
But don’t come at me and tell me the only solution is to teach my four-year-old to hide in a closet. Because if you say you’re for liberty, even the most lack-witted should be able to recognize that systematically robbing children of their carefree childhoods in the name of a wrongheaded understanding of the Second Amendment (written, as a matter of fact, in part by men who felt it was OK to own other people, so you know, they weren’t always right) doesn’t sound much like liberty for all.
It sounds like liberty for you. And sorry not sorry, I want liberty for my kid, too.