A Mother’s (Day) View of the Gun Debate.
As Mother’s Day approaches and I think of all the moms missing their children due to gun violence, I wonder what it is going to take for people in this country to rise up with their voices and protect like a mom.
That’s what moms do. They protect. From the moment the first extraordinary heartbeat appears on the screen in the doctor’s office and mom says a first ‘hello baby’ to the beating speck, a protective instinct kicks in. It’s not hard, it’s what is innate to moms. We go to our monthly check-ups, we eat better, we sleep more, we talk to the growing speck, that turns into a bit of an alien on-screen by nine months. We cry from hormones and wonder why everything makes us cry. We spend extraordinary amounts of time researching the right car seat, crib, mobile to hang over the crib, baby proofing the house.
While all of this is going on, we endure swollen feet, swollen belly, pants that don’t fit, swollen faces we don’t recognize, backaches and learning to sleep in strangely contorted positions from the ever-expanding (sometimes at a quick shocking pace) belly. While we are ‘enduring’ some of these shocking truths required for producing this future Einstein, Picasso, teacher, president, daughter or son, we know that what we are doing is creating a miracle that cannot be replicated.
When that baby is handed to us in the delivery room, it is one of the most – if not the most — extraordinary moments in our lives. The power and the privilege that we have to create life is extraordinary.
As a mother goes through the moments when her child first recognizes her voice, her laugh, her touch, there is a bond created that is like no other. One that allows her to hear the cry in the night that no one else can hear. One that makes her think to herself: if something were to happen to this miracle, I could never go on. I would never stop crying.
When I started Evolve, after the horrific tragedy of Sandy Hook, it was because I could not contemplate anything more unimaginable than taking away the life of a child. My child or another mother’s child. One of our human miracles. It wasn’t about guns to me. It was about a mother’s conscience and the unfathomable idea that 20 children could be massacred and what if? What if nothing happened and we continue to look away from the truth about gun violence and gun behaviors in this country? As a mother, it was too unimaginable to consider.
What drove me to start Evolve is knowing that we have to do better. That as mothers we must do better to make saving a life our priority. We know that human life is fragile because we know first-hand the miracle of creating one. We also know once that life is created, we must do everything within our power – within our society’s power – to ensure that life does not go to waste.
Guns are powerful, but human choice is more powerful. More powerful than a gun, more powerful than legislation, more powerful than the Second Amendment.
I read news report after news report every day about incidents that could have been prevented. Loaded and unlocked guns left in cars, stashed in closets, under beds, propped up against the wall like a kitchen broom, guns given to children that are emotionally unstable and just shouldn’t be exposed to them. These are just poor choices that cheapen the value of human life. What is the debate? Stupid and casual behavior has nothing to do with the Second Amendment or laws. This has to do with how much we value human life. If we value human life, we make make choices that protect it. We don’t wait for someone to make it a law or legislate. We use our heads, our common sense, our motherly instinct.
We all give ourselves labels: liberal, conservative, gun owner, gun reformer, but none of those are instinctive. They are not in our DNA. I’ll never forget the moment a family member – a mom — transformed before my very eyes from an adversary arguing the cause of gun rights and into a mom who cares about protecting children. Perhaps maternal instincts are the key to solving this horrific problem.
What is it about this conversation that is so hard for people to have? Children and people across this country are killed or injured every day because of a bullet. 100,000-plus. We don’t need special reports to wrap our heads around that number. It’s everywhere. It’s a suicide problem, it’s an urban problem, it’s a gun loophole problem, it is a parenting problem and, most of all, it is this country’s problem.
Give all those mother’s of gun violence victims a break this Mother’s Day. Don’t make them have to explain to you why this important, don’t make them have to sadly walk the halls of our government offices explaining why they don’t want another mother to suffer their fate. Give them the day off. Take a moment to consider how you could help them honor their child’s memory by doing something that is just plain reasonable. Common sense. Guns are in your home, in your community, they’re unlocked, they’re in glove boxes, they are in the hands of someone who shouldn’t have them. Say something or do something because it is the right thing to do for our country and this society. Something that might preserve our future miracles.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers of miracles.
Founder of Evolve
Committed to saving a life